In October 2012 after having a job for a couple months I finally had enough money to buy things. It was the first time in my life where I could go, “I want that” and then buy it. My naive, little 14-year-old brain almost overloaded. The first thing I did was go out and buy an Xbox 360 with Halo 4. Up until then, I had only had a PS3 and a Wii. I had my Wii for Zelda, Mario Kart and Smash. I had my PS3 for everything else. But I bought an Xbox 360 anyways. That was the moment in my gaming life when I took myself out of the PlayStation ecosystem I had devoted myself to for so many years before. I stepped away from my PSN friends and more importantly, my trophies. I started anew on Xbox with zero friends and zero gamerscore. At the time I thought to myself “I’ll just become a big part of both!” But there are certain things about diversifying your platforms that I hadn’t considered that I wish I had.
There is an old proverb I wish I could say a wise old monk told me but it was actually just something I read in Civilization IV: “If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both.” I thought I could have a decent gamerscore and a decent trophy count at the same time and still play half my games on my 360 and the other half on my PS3. I was very wrong. Not only did I not know that as I got older my game time would be cut down and that would mean less time to add to my meaningless, digital collections but I also didn’t know that I would never be as good as I want to be to on either platform. There’s no way to fix that now. I’ve spent the last four years spreading my game time across three different ecosystems. I have invested too much time in them all to abandon and return to the other. I will always be on both Xbox and PlayStation in some capacity. Whether that be a 50/50 split or a small leaning one way or the other it will still exist.
Now some of you might be saying, “So you play both? What’s the big deal?” To me, being invested in an ecosystem and knowing everything I possibly can is important. But having a vested interest in several platforms means I won’t be able to do that. I will always be looking at what’s happening in the world of PlayStation and will never be able to dedicate my full attention to understanding the Xbox community. Anyone who would try and tell me they are the same would be wrong. They are two different ecosystems, each with their ups and downs. But they both have so many wonderful things I want to know and experience that I never will be able to fully appreciate.
My advice to someone who is in the position that I was that fateful day in grade ten when I bought my 360 and unknowingly sparked a butterfly effect I would only realize years later is to pick one platform. Pick the company that speaks to you with the games that you enjoy the most in the community that understands you best. Be it Steam, Nintendo, PlayStation or Xbox just be sure that you stick with it and love it. Get into the community, get into the nitty gritty details. Understand everything you possibly can about it and then you’ll feel rewarded when you build your digital footprint there.
Now I’m by no means saying that you shouldn’t dip your toes into these other pools of fun. There are experiences only Nintendo can give that every gamer who wishes to be knowledgeable about the industry or a designer who wishes to have the largest possible pool of ideas to implement into their games should experience. Every gamer should experience the wonder and beauty of a Legend of Zelda game or the grandeur and sophistication of the Halo universe. Just be sure that when it comes to where you dedicate the majority of your time and energy it is on one platform. That is something I wish I did and I believe is the best way to experience what games have to offer.