Of course consoles could be computers, and there are plenty of examples going back to the Bally Astrocade and right up to the PS3's ability to officially run Linux (since disabled). The point is, complexity is generally abstracted on a console, whereas it tends to be embraced with a computer, plus there's the whole optimized-for-a-TV and couch experience thing. That's why each always has and likely will continue to have its own place in the home for the foreseeable future for many people. That's also why it was a false, though superficially appealing, premise, when the idea of computers replacing consoles was first proffered by some magazines of the day at the height of the Crash.
As I said before, the microcomputers of the 80s were very console-like. You could literally just plug in a cartridge and play just like on a console. Even with a disk drive, many would autoboot game disks for you. It was only later that home computers became more complex and expensive.
If they had continued to make cheap console-like computers, then I doubt there would have been a place for ordinarly consoles, and the magazines would be correct. But they didn't, and it was only at that point that the NES took off.
Edited by zzip, Wed May 3, 2017 1:04 PM.