An Open Game Machine

Recently, a friend of mine bought a Playstation III. This got me
thinking about the game console industry and the consumer’s locked down
situation to big corporations and their strange versioning issues. They
are simply not free.

If you buy a Playstation III, Nintendo or an XBox 360, the operating
system which you can run on it is locked down. Without any significant
hacking operation which involves soldering gun, Philips screw driver
and results in void warranty,  you can not upgrade or install
let say Linux.

Computer users are enjoying this flexibility. That is why I like PCs
because it is open to research and development and hacking in a lot of
ways. I am the sort of user who looks for this kind of flexibility in
any device I buy. I buy my computer needs mostly white box and separate
bits and pieces. Even my guitar FX can be upgradable via a USB cable.

Linux may not be solid enough to develope games let alone lacking a
common framework for developing games but it is getting there.

Game consoles in the market today doesn’t require you to install
drivers, fiddle with output options etc. They are easy, designed by the
end users with usability in mind. Chuck the CD in and start playing.
Our dream game console will be the same. Additional devices will work
as soon as plugged in, games will start as soon as you put in the CD,
you do not have to think latest ATI driver and change ini files for
game playing, no directX upgrade and most importantly; when the next
version of this console is out, it will be %100 compatible with old

This game console would have a base operating system and a
game development framework. API is open to everyone to develope.
Machine is compact and allows you to upgrade its hardware with
easily accessible market devices like DVDRom, RAM, CPU, HD or other
things within the limit of machine’s capabilities except graphic CPU.
The catch is the wisdom of the crowd. By letting people to develope for
this machine and even upgrade the Game Development API by way of
extension points. If we think about Linux as the base operating system
all we need is a common game development framework.

I can see the comments right now like “you can develope with XNA for
” or “you
sort of equipment

to develope for PS
“. No, no, no, the point is to develope
on your computer in a common free framework environment and run it on
this dedicated machine. No strings attached to big corporations, no proprietary
software or hardware or framework. Everything is open. Games however
may be sold for any price tag you want as they are developed by
companies with paid staff and whole lot of expenses.

What do you say, do gaming console consumers need a machine like this?
What would be the hurdles to develope a common framework on a machine
like this? Do consumers need this sort of flexibility? Would you buy
one of these?

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