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June 28, 2017


Modular Games Console – why on earth not?

by GFR2

My console gaming life started in uni whilst watching Teletubbies (well what else do you expect IT students to do?) with a Playstation and Ridge Racer, well actually just the first level of Ridge Racer and an ongoing time trial competition that ended up sub 25 seconds for the lap once we beat the AI car.

Then nothing for a few years until I bought a Microsoft Xbox with Midtown Madness and some odd game called Halo……and then it started.

First was Xbox live, then in 2004 joining a Halo clan on the Bungie forums, then taking over said clan when the leader left – The Northenders then expanded onto the web complete with our own site and forum, its playing style was based around fun not stats, not skill levels but just around a group of people enjoying themselves.  We supported multi-consoles so it didn’t matter if you were a Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo fan – we welcomed everyone, even PC gamers!

We went from strength to strength and at the height of our popularity we had several hundred members but all good things do end and running costs became very high and people went off and started families, changed jobs or just left the gaming scene behind meaning I couldn’t sustain the site and the last remaining diehard members retired to the easier to run and maintain Facebook group, which I’m happy to say is still going more than 13 years after the original clan formed.

Anyway, during this 13 year period several consoles were released and updated – some of the clan bought the upgrades, some just waited until the new releases but for everyone it became an expensive past time and still is (although real prices of consoles have come down in price).

So why haven’t the main players (I’m looking at you Sony and Microsoft) created modular consoles?  If you speak to a PC gamer they always claim that PC gaming is better and they have to have the latest and greatest hardware to run the latest games.  I understand both sides of the argument but for me I want everything that a games console offers except for one thing – having to replace the console each time a new generation is released.

So why not modular consoles?  The case remains the same (although you could offer a level of customisation parts such as themed shells etc – just like the good old Xbox 360 and its removable faceplate) but most parts are modular, such as

  • Graphics module
  • Storage module
  • Memory module
  • Power module
  • Optical drive module
  • Processor module
  • Audio module

The system retains a base motherboard which contains very simplistic features such as USB, network, base OS etc and each module slots into its own section, that way you can upgrade some modules, replace if they fail or have full upgrade kits (costing less than a new system) – you get the benefits of having the latest and greatest for your budget but the simplicity of upgrades not normally found in a PC, just remove the module, insert the new module, and off you go – an upgraded games console.

Of course this is unlikely to ever happen or if it does it’ll be something far off in the future, like true cloud gaming and fully immersive gaming – hopefully The Northenders will still be going strong and I’ll still have a gaming interest but only time will tell on this.

Unless of course Atari are planning something special with their upcoming console release (but please make sure the controller has less buttons than the Jaguar!)

Microsoft Xbox –

Sony PlayStation –

Nintendo Switch –

Atari’s new console –

The Northenders UK –

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Allen Schoepflin
    Jan 18 2018

    I am currently coming up with designs for a Modular game console and later down the road I plan to make a prototype.


    • Jan 18 2018

      Sounds interesting, I’m surprised it’s not been done before as the potential business idea could be a huge money maker.



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