PC gamers have always played games on a universal platform, the PC. Although many different companies make computers, the system is still universal. Why can’t there be a universal home console? Everything would be so much simpler. There would then only be two basic platforms, the PC, and the home console, which for convenience’s sake we’ll call it the 앮iConî®?

I know people have had this same idea many times in the past, but no one has really offered a detailed solution on how the UniCon would actually be able to exist and hardware companies still make money. In the beginning, it would definitely be difficult because it would require something rare between large corporations called ì´¥amwork.î  The hardware companies would have to work together on a console, or at least agree on a universal platform.

Since cooperation between these competitors can only go so far, each company would manufacture its own consoles, similar to PC’s. Each system would be the same at the core, except the hardware itself may look different in shape, color, etc. Since home consoles are not computers, there are not really any additional features companies could add to their own console except maybe DVD capability, but that is becoming standard anyhow.

Just like a computer, all games and controllers would be universal, no matter who made the console, but in addition, memory cards would also be able to work on any hardware. Companies would be free to create their own memory cards and controllers, but they would be able to work on any system.

Since each company is manufacturing their own consoles, they will all make money without having to worry about profit sharing, which would never ever work in the corporate world. This UniCon system would also create opportunity for other hardware companies, possibly for existing computer manufacturers like Compaq and Hewlett Packard.

There would be a problem there, however. Profits would be split even further with the introduction of more manufacturers, and then companies would be competing by introducing more and more features to their machine. The UniCon would be adulterated in that sense, but even that can only go so far until the machines turn into computers. Hopefully, this would never happen, and with the UniCon system, the focus would have to be the games. No one would argue about hardware since it has become similar to beating a dead horse, and then the only thing that people can argue about is the only thing that truly matters-ñ´¨¥ games themselves. Since the UniCon would have online capabilities for a majority of games, people wouldn’t argue anyway because they would be playing their favorites in harmony.

I am saying that a universal console would be the greatest thing to ever happen to video games because the focus would be shifted to games, not fancy hardware. At the same time, I also think it will never happen because of corporate greed. We can all still dream on…

By Nate Weaver – 07/26/02

Screenshots for The Universal Console