Linux Gaming Console

I’m sure there’s some good reason why this hasn’t happened yet, but wouldn’t it be cool if someone sold a gaming console that was basically a stripped down PC? No, I don’t mean Xbox. I mean something that isn’t crippled with DRM hardware and software. All you’d really need is: a CPU, motherboard, half a gigabyte of ram or so, video card, sound card, network card, DVD player, small hard drive, and USB connectors. You wouldn’t even need to put an operating system on hardware. Each DVD could come with an OS of its own (something like the knoppix CDs, and the hard drive could store the drivers for whatever hardware was on the system. Because all of the hardware would be standard PC hardware, anybody (Dell, Gateway, BestBuy, whoever…) could make and sell systems, and because the OS comes on the DVD, game companies are in full control of what’s available.

Of course, the system could be used for much more than gaming. Knoppix comes with web browsing and office type software. With a big enough hard drive, the system could be used as a DVR, and media library. I think the enormous flexibility provided with this kind of system could make it a serious competitor with the current gaming systems. On the other hand, the openness of the system means that no one vendor can own it — that’s good for the consumer, but it makes it a bit more risky for the hardware vendor (but no more risky than the PC market).