Microsoft has finally jumped on board and is bring a web browser to the Xbox 360. Internet Explorer will soon be ported to the console. Is it going to work very well, surfing the internet on the TV with a controller? I’m skeptical. It doesn’t matter if it works well or not though, this news acts as another great example of how console and PC gaming are becoming one.
It’s surprising that Microsoft has taken so long to get internet explorer onto their console. All of their computers have it, and the Xbox is basically just a very simple computer. But they’ve probably decided to update the Xbox’s list of functions in response to their competitor’s announcement.
The competitor isn’t PlayStation, it’s Valve. Valve just released their “Big Picture” setting for beta testing. Now you can hook up your computer to the television and use your Xbox 360 controller to use the Steam interface. This is huge news, considering that now it’ll be just as easy to play Xbox games on your computer as it will be on your Xbox. You use the same controller, a similar interface, and have the ability to use your entire Steam library on your TV in a user friendly setting.
It’s no surprise that the Xbox is going to get an internet browser in response. The more compatible Steam gets with your TV the worse off Microsoft is looking in their next generation of console.
In order for Valve’s Steam to compete with the console they have to appeal to console gamers, putting a controller in their hands and a TV in front of them. And in order for consoles to compete with PC gaming they need to give the PC gamers the abilities that their laptop or desktop at home has. To stay on top of the gaming world companies are actually moving in the same direction: a computer console hybrid.
Soon there won’t be a difference between hooking up your laptop and hooking up a console to the TV. When they inevitably have the exact same functions what’s going to differentiate the two in the eyes of the consuming gamer? The only thing I’m left wondering is which one is going to secure the next generation of gaming. Will the console survive if the PC is everything a console is and more? It has so far, but the next generation of consoles could be the last.