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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Xbox One and PS4: Is Console gaming on its last legs?

With things changing so fast on the video gaming scene, all that I seem to read is how console gaming is dying and the next generation of consoles are truly the last of its kind. The proponents of this idea seem to believe that with the advent of gaming on the move in the form of smartphones, the fastest growing segment of the industry, soon the console industry would not find enough audience for it to be a financially viable investment anymore.

With all the pessimism surrounding the console industry, it seems hard to believe that console gaming would be dying. This got me thinking as to what are the signs which show that this may not be altogether true.

Lets for starters look at the recently announced microsoft's xbox one and sony's PS4. Both of these consoles have been subject to both awe and criticism. The great way to judge how a product is going to be received in the future is to look at the reception of its idea in the present. Here i am able to see some pointers which reveal that the future of the console industry is not so bleak. The launch events of both Xbox One and PS4 has been watched both online and in live attendance by record number of people. This is definitely shows a great level of interest in the next generation consoles. The preorder numbers from Amazon for Xbox one and PS4 are in record numbers, much greater than when the previous generation was launched. These facts go on to prove two things:

1. The number of people who have shown interest in the next generation consoles is definitely bigger than the ones who were interested in xbox 360 and ps3.
2. The above fact can only be achieved if the total number of people playing console gaming has increased, otherwise how would the increased number of people be accounted for.



These numbers alone are evident that the interest surrounding the launch of xbox one and ps4 is great. Let us now look at why the detractors are envisioning a future without console gaming. They are of the view that the gaming habits of gamers are changing at a pace which is so fast that the console giants would not be able to catch up to it. This seems farther from the truth. The next generation consoles take into account the fact that the gamers is always on the move and hence have focussed a lot on cloud computing. This is evident from the fact that Microsoft has increased the number of servers focussed on cloud computing for Xbox One to 3,00,000 from a meagre 15,000 for xbox 360. Thats a phenomenal increase in number, one that Microsoft would not be betting on if it was not sure of the role of cloud computing in games of the future. It is also true that gaming on consoles is an altogether a different beast as compared to gaming on smartphones. There has not been a single smartphone game which has been able to give as grand an experience as some of the console game behemoths like Call of Duty or GTA. The experience on consoles is so much bigger and better as compared to a 5 inch screen. We dont stop going to the multiplexes just because we have Netflix or DTH at home. We dont stop going to fancy restaurants and bars just because we can home deliver our food and beverages. People always crave for bigger and better experiences. Thats in our innate nature.



Many believe that smartphone gaming is eating into the pie of console gaming and thats why it doesn't have a bright future. I beg to differ. I believe that the whole pie is getting bigger. Smartphone gaming has done a great job of introducing more and more people to gaming by lowering the various barriers to entry. And as these new found gamers become more entrenched in games, they would start looking for better experiences and hence graviate to console gaming. I as an avid gamers on consoles as well as my ipod and galaxy s3 truly believe and hope that thats the case.

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8 comments:

  1. personally i think it'll curve off into an exclusive pastime, smartphones may entertain the shallow & flippant gamer, but gamers which were brought up on depth & detail will carry that into the future with them, that may not be console-based, but will still depend on a gamer being at the forefront of whatever system is manufactured.
    smartphones are fun, variant & local. in depth gaming provides alternative lifestyle. it depends on a commercial sellout of either quick, turnover games, or slow, character building games.
    This dichotomy within the industry are like black & white, and they will cease to amaze, as they're both out to invest in the gamer, whether long term or short.
    Both yield profitable rewards for their clientele.

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    1. Totally agree with you. It may very well pan out that dedicated consoles may cease to exist but what would prevail is detailed immersive large world which give a much more immersive gameplay and choices to the players.....whether we get that world on the consoles or something like HTML5 would allow that on the web...yet to be seen :)

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  2. I'm going to have to agree with you on this. Mobile gaming and the mobile os are still young and lacking in hardware. One if the biggest problems I see currently for mobile gaming, especially smart phones and tablets, is the fact that the touch screen isn't a good input yet for great gaming experiences. It makes it hard to play games like COD while your fingers are blocking your view of the screen. Now the advocates of mobile gaming will say you can Bluetooth a control to your device but who really wants to carry a controller around with their device?

    What I'm really excited to see is how the two markets start to overlap. Microsoft has touched a bit on this with Xbox live games playing on Windows 8 and Windows Phone. The market has so much room to grow it can't be shrinking. Just wait and watch how newcomers like Ouya and the like blur the line between mobile and console gaming in the coming decade.

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  3. Thanks for the reply Dereck :) What you mentioned was exactly my point. Hardware limitations are always coming in way for smartphone gaming to provide the kind of experiences the consoles provide. Its true that the market is very different and therefore allows both to coexist. However, stuff like Ouya or Nvidia Shield, if they pick up, could really change the landscape for Android gaming. But then they would have to attain a level of mass market to really have an effect and if that happens then its really not a good news for dedicated portable gaming handsets like PS Vita.

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  4. Well the blog has been very well written. Author can be a writer than a gamer. Qualities seldom found together. Well as for the topic, I don't think its the end of the console gaming. Rather I am certain there is much more to come. Example, when Crysis 2 was launched people complained that the PC version was not as good as the PS or Xbox version. CEO had to apologise. The reason being that it would have fried the graphic cards of most PC. I used to be a PC gamer, but with the increase in graphic quality my computer was getting old every year. For that matter my ps3 has lasted more than that without any problems, and its the oldest version where you can hack. A per pre booking of ps4 goes, it vanished on amazon (which for the first time took such a endeavour) within hours. Unfortunately they wont allow me to book from the country I am otherwise I would have gone for it. I'll have to wait till the end of the year. Hopefully the move for ps3 still works on ps4 and I am too eager to play the latest version of kill zone which is coming with PS4.

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  5. Thanks Rahul Singh for your kind words. Another fact that consoles are here to stay can be derived in your point that your PC quickly became old dated. The reason for that is as the developers become more and more accustomed to the hardware of consoles, they learn to optimize the performance more and more. On doing so, they keep on pushing the envelope in terms of how the game plays and looks. This becomes very difficult on PC as there is no one strict hardware configuration, therefore it becomes very difficult to optimize for the so many different configurations.

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  6. Can anybody guide me, about buying xperia zl and using it to plays my ps3 games on the move or do I have to rely on seperate device like vita.

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