There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re still harping on about vinyl, there are few other things you need to let go of. These things may include: your hair, the notion that teenagers are going to start playing on your recently cut lawn, your recently divorced wife of thirty years and all hope that Prog Rock is, and ever was, listenable.
You may even only have a physical age of twenty five, but your love of analog has aged you irrevocably. Completely unable to discern the ‘warmth’ of analog recordings, it’s only logical for me to conclude that, given your age and your regular consumption of music, you simply have Tinnitus.
Wristwatches are still valid as an accessory, but as technology? Ok, so reaching into your pockets to grab whatever clock-possessing tech you have on your person is a little like returning to the days of the pocket watch. But it’s not like we’re in the trenches of the Somme: it’s time we can spare.
And no, I’m not saying that people should be throwing their timepieces into the fires of the Swiss Mount Doom from whence they were forged. It’s just that there are people out there, who genuinely believe that wristwatches are necessary, as opposed to being yet another way for them to preen and flash their wealth in your plebeian face.
Doomsayers tend to forecast the death of any technology that is incorporated into our mobile phones with great enthusiasm. This seems kind of ironic considering that after decades of mobile-phone usage, the landline still isn’t dead. Nevertheless, everyone under the age of sixty could live without their landlines, were it not for the inflated prices you have to pay to phone anyone you don’t particularly want to phone. Depending on where you live, you can get round this and live without your landline already: toll-free numbers are free to call via Skype. You know, as they say they should be.
Subject to precisely the same sentimental nonsense as vinyl, traditional photography is meaninglessly touted as somehow ‘more authentic’. Typical digital cameras on the market nowadays match the resolution of film with less noise and grain. And you don’t get more ‘what you see is what you get’ than the digital experience either.
Sure, film has complex benefits over digital. But if you’re not a high-tier professional, preaching about them is a kind of Clear Blue for pretentiousness. And the snobbery that goes with that impression is justifiably detected: the beauty of digital is that it opens photography to those who don’t have to make every single shot count. Today’s photographers can learn on the job without having to spend prohibitive amounts of money on film and on developing their pictures. Typical digital camera prices allow absolutely everyone to get in on the fun. The easy portability of image data even means that everybody can choose to ignore your holiday snaps via email, Facebook, Flickr and all kinds of avenues.
Whipping up a little drama in the gaming industry is a little difficult these days. Claiming anything is dead or dying and trying to sound especially original is impossible. Right now, smartphones are pushing a pillow into the face of handheld gaming whilst their own pricing and lack of innovation are considered symptoms of a coming implosion. Then there’s the PC, which has been slowly throttled by the home games console for over a decade.
And even games consoles are endangered technology. Seven generations of consoles have established a fairly predictable five-year cycle of innovation that has suddenly been broken. The technology behind the consoles is simply getting too expensive: Sony’s Playstation 3 has taken nearly five years to dip below £200 in the UK, whereas its predecessor took less than two years to reach that price point.
And what would the console manufacturers even do with a new generation? Nintendo’s Wii-U, which is apparently controlled by a fisher-price tablet computer looks an especially desperate attempt to answer that question. Games developers too also seem reluctant to step forward, production costs being as inflated as they are. Even consumer enthusiasm for the next big thing cannot be depended on: graphics are now subject to a law of diminishing returns that will mean that whatever these companies come up with next, we’ll shrug it off and barely recognise the difference in fidelity.
Something’s got to give. Cloud gaming services like Onlive mean that the platform you use is, in theory, irrelevant. Perhaps we’re headed to a future where games consoles are like any other entertainment player: a badged unit built around shared, standardised technology. Meanwhile the march of the consoles towards being fully featured PCs will be complete, and both platforms will die in the collision.