Another day, another announcement in our relentlessly thin-console-dominated culture. Sony have said that once again they will be cutting down the size of their console – the already ludicrously slim PS3 Slim getting yet another makeover.
It’s just another in a long line of the industry creating an unhealthy digital image for consoles to follow, going back to the 1990s when Nintendo redesigned the SNES to fit into our perverse notions of small consoles, as, spurred on by characters such as Lara Croft, “heroine chic” became the norm. No console can ever simply be left to its own, large-footprint devices. Even Microsoft, who made bold strides in the “large console’s rights” circles in 2001 with the original Xbox, jumped on the slimming bandwagon in 2010, releasing the Xbox 360 S.
Worse still is when this is marketed even towards non-gamers. Nintendo teach us year after year that slimmer is better, that smaller consoles are what we want and need. The DS Lite, the DSi, the GameBoy Micro. One must give them some credit for upsizing with their XL models, but downsizing at the other end is equally as reprehensible as anything Sony or Microsoft do.
I am confident that over time gaming can overcome its anti-large rhetoric and embrace big-cased consoles. The mobile phone industry managed it, with the trend for ever-smaller devices being bucked thanks to a modern pre-dispositon towards larger and larger screens – even the notoriously “slimming” Apple have gotten in on the action, with the iPhone 5 being the largest iPhone yet. It can be done, and I hope that with the rise of the tablet and the desire for ever larger integrated screens, we will start to see bigger consoles. Sony seemed to be getting it with the Vita, but today’s announcement just flies in the face of everything we hoped they were standing for.