Overly Attached Xbox 360 Gamers
When someone utters the phrase “emotional attachment” what comes to mind?
A loved one, perhaps? The idea of a home, rather than a house? A sense of belonging? Something you would value enough to consider worth going out of your way for?
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What about gaming? What is “emotional attachment” relevant to gaming?
David Cage would have you believe that it’s related to uncanny valley visuals, and polygon counts which display emotions like never before. He’s an idiot. An idiot with some good ideas, but still an idiot. Then there’s Telltale Games, who did with barely any polygons what Cage and Quantic Dream struggled to do with a lot more, with The Walking Dead and Heavy Rain respectively. But what if “emotional attachment” went beyond the games and factored into the experience as a whole?
I know a lot of people who are ridiculously biased towards gaming as a whole, who will, to quote a friend, think twice about criticising but think once about loving, anything to do with gaming. As such they tend to hold up gaming on a pedestal of perfection, for saving them from their mundane and at times abhorrent lives, for being their crutch when they needed one, for giving them something to hold on to when the going got tough. Yes, seriously.
Is that not also “emotional attachment” then?
Now I could write a fully-fledged novel on the idea of “emotional attachment” both in terms of the human mind (disclaimer: I have no psychology degree) and in terms of gaming, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. At least not entirely. No, rather, I want to talk about a strange contrast between the two subsets of gamers who are currently bickering and battling it out as the ever-friendly console war has been sparked up once again, as the next generation of consoles have been revealed.
A strange phenomenon that I have witnessed is that pretty much every gamer who swears by their PS3 is willing to let go of their PS3, together with their games, which will not be backwards compatible, in order to acquire a PS4 at some point. However, at the same time there are many gamers who favour the Xbox 360 who are either unwilling to let go of their consoles in favour of an Xbox One, or quite insistent on keeping both.
Why is this?
Now you might argue that the Xbox One hasn’t exactly met with much favour in the gaming world of late, and this is where I find myself on the opposite side of the fence to most of the gaming industry, including some of my favourite gaming journalists, the likes of Jim Sterling, Yahtzee and Angry Joe. I do at least have Total Biscuit on my side, for what that’s worth. I don’t particularly hate the Xbox One, nor do I think that this current state of affairs is a “PR Nightmare” as some would call it. After all, which console is being talked about more, of late? But I digress, I’m not here to breathe more life to the fiery battle between the two consoles, I’m only here because I thought it was an interesting observation, that no Sony fan wants to keep their PS3, yet most of the MS fans want to keep their Xbox 360.
Is that not “emotional attachment” of some sort?
Let’s think about what the main questions were, prior to the Xbox Reveal. Okay we had always online and secondhand sales, sure enough, but those are current industry hot topics so no surprises there. But then MS were also asked about GamerTag continuity, achievements and subscriptions. Who, praytell, asked about PSN Plus and whether trophies would carry over to the PS4?
Now this might seem a little superfluous to some, maybe even a little unnecessary, but that’s like saying buying flowers (or equivalent token of affection) for a loved one prior to meeting them is a little superflous and maybe even a little unnecessary. It’s the little things, as they say, and the vast contingent of Xbox 360 gamers are attached to their beloved consoles. You might even say overly attached.
And why not? Some of us have poured our hearts and souls into our GamerTags. Friday night at a club? Nope, got achievements to unlock. Saturday night family function? Sorry, just got a new game to play. Sunday night homework? Maybe after this last game. I know I’d have been despondent as fuck if MS said that our GamerScores would reset. I worked hard for my 77,445 GamerScore (at the time of publish) over the past few years.
What MS has achieved by allowing simple personalisation and continuity with profiles is something special, and it means that we as gamers are always looking to get as much out of an experience as we possibly can. And if you’re not a gamer, you’re still entertained by all of the other media options, but I won’t get into that one right now. My point is that as an Xbox 360 gamer, it is a far more difficult prospect, letting go. As compared to Sony gamers, anyway. They seem to be quite content with letting their beloved PS3, for which they fought so fiercely, disappear to the wastes.
Perhaps this is just a sign of how each Reveal has been received but I like to think it’s because of the kind of “emotional attachment” that even David Cage would envy.