Welcome one and all for this weeks block…no chunk…nay, slab of opinion. As ever, everyone is welcome and encouraged to scribe their opinions into the comments on this post. Yep, even you oddbals with your wild staring eyes and can of Special Brew in tow are welcome to join in. Lets go…

In recent years the gaming world has become bigger, more impressive and more diverse, but all within a pretty restrictive set of metrics – if you want to develop for PS3, Wii or XBox you need licenses, special hardware and there is little opportunity to write homebrew games on these systems. Despite utterances from some of the vendors about encouraging some degree of homebrew, the situation is pretty drab. Then mix in the complexity of writing games for PCs and specifically Linux with its array of potential dependencies. Could we instead make our own open games console standard? As in, could we define a machine spec (a chosen set of components), a set of software tools, a development stack and consider this the OpenConsole standard? This could provide a specific target platform, a target set of tools, and potentially allow OEM vendors to release hardware based around said spec. There were similar attempts with the multimedia specification in the late nineties and it died on its arse. Could it work here? Could this be our opportunity to define an open games console standard and get our grubby feet into the gaming ring?

My take: I think it could work. Sure, there are challenges, and there would be some tough decisions (which graphics cards, which processors, which software etc), but the aim of this exercise would be to make tough decisions, define a platform and then build a strong community around that platform of players and importantly, developers. The platform could potentially offer a predictable gaming experience (which is always a benefit of consoles) and a specific set of development processes to encourage games production. There is no reason why the development platform could not encourage choice (support both C/C++/Java and Python as an example) but have the benefit of consistency and a predicable and known set of resources and abilities.

So what do you think? Share your views in the comments.

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