You’ve probably heard various so-called industry experts banging on about how consoles are a dying breed and the rise of tablets and smartphones is taking their place. This is not true and here’s why:
1) In terms of the history of the console, sales remain very good, and the Industry remains bigger than ever. People are mistaking declines in the industry, caused by over saturation and bad decisions, during a recession, to be something else.
2) People believed the increased presence of PCs in the home would kill off consoles, they didn’t. The demise of the console has always been talked about when new technologies emerge, those technologies that don’t die a death, end up complementing the industry.
3) The tablet market is not a core gaming market, and like mobile phone gaming, offer a very inferior gaming experiences, and I’m not talking graphics.
4) People are still going to want to sit on the sofa and play games on a big screen, alone and with friends.
5) Along with a big screen, people will always prefer a gaming device with great standard controller, and they can’t even do that with PC’s nevermind mobiles and tablets.
6) Consoles can easily evolve with changing consumer habits and they already have, the console as we know it may be dying, but that’s nothing new. Compare a 360 to Mega Drive.
7) The classic PC vs console argument under pins the misunderstanding about smart phones and tablets. These products all offer very different gaming experiences that don’t really impinge on one another and can all exist together nicely. And the same is true for the handheld, which is going nowhere either. The DS is the best selling handheld ever, and the 3DS is doing far better than people think. Yes the Vita is doing badly, but that is due to wrong choices on Sonys behalf, not a lack of interest in handheld gaming.
8) People still want dedicated gaming devices. If people want all in one devices, why do they all own a smart phone and a tablet, and a console, and probably a handheld, and a PC, and maybe a laptop. People like having all sorts of devices.
9) Nintendo at the very least won’t be going anywhere because they have the brands and the skills and are good enough with their money to happily plod along proudly doing their own thing. Meanwhile Sony and Microsoft as always will throw money at their consoles to make them sell. Mobiles will never get Mario and Mario will never die.
10) Consoles remain the best way to ensure a stable non nonsense gaming platform for a reasonable price over at least 5 years, and this is good for both games developers and gamers.
11) Producing games for consoles is currently and seemingly will always be a far more profitable and safe venture for games developers. The failure rate and level of risk for producing games on mobiles is infamously high, while profits per unit are considerably lower.
12) The people predicting the demise of the console are consistently wrong about a lot of things and base their assumptions on nonsense, and most of their comments come down to willing Nintendo to fail and go 3rd party. It’s a more a case of pushing the rhetoric and hoping for a self-fulfilling prophecy than actually seeing an actual change in consumer trends.
13) People are mistakingly putting smartphones and tablets into the same catagory as consoles. Most people who buy phones and tablets, are not buying them for gaming. And these new technologies are selling well because they are new novelties, which for a lot of people are giving them easy and regular internet access for the first time. Have you seen people on their smartphones? They live on facebook….and a lto fo these people never owned a PC or consoles. it’s not exactly a migration away from consoles.
14) Tablets and smartphones are hardly going to bring a bucket load of new innovations to the gaming world, because new innovations are mostly about new methods of input, and new innovations will drive console sales, as proven by Nintendo time and again.
15) On the subject of Nintendos dip in profits…This a short coming of their they always commit at the end of a consoles life, it’s not good, but it is totally normal for them.
In my opinion the only real threat to consoles is cloud gaming, ala OnLive, but that isn’t doing very well is it, and cloud gaming can easily be incorporated into a console. The fact is that consoles exist in their own little world and the success of consoles is driven by the production of must-have games, just as much as the image of mobile gaming was boosted by Angry birds. The only problem consoles face is a possible narrowing in gaming genres resulting in an endless cycle of FPS and Football games. A market once known for much greater levels of risk-taking and wonderfully bizarre concepts is playing things ever more safely, and that isn’t diminishing interest in consoles as much as it hurting interest in gaming overall. There is too much focus of the perceived core demographic, which is exactly the problem Nintendo pointed out some 7 years ago and why the Wii did so well in all the unlikely demographics, pulling more people into gaming through new and more broadly appealing ideas.
The misfortunes of gaming companies has always been easy to understand. it’s down to lack of quality control, originality, publicity, foresight and vision. Companies like Sega assumed they could fool the customer over and over again and they’d just keep coming back to lap up their tat. They didn’t. people will always go back to Nintendo, because if you played a Nintendo game you didn’t like, you still knew a lot of thought went into making it. Perhaps the gaming world is coming close to repeating the shocking lack of quality that caused outrage in mid 80’s, if mobile phone gaming is anything to go by it is. But Nintendo will always be there, doing what they always did, never-failing to impress. Nintendos enemy right now is quantity. People need more reasons to buy their consoles, and if they give the people what they want and what they don’t know they want yet, people will go out and buy it.