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Thread: The Consoles Are Dying, Says Developer [Slashdot]

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    Lightbulb The Consoles Are Dying, Says Developer [Slashdot]



    hypnosec writes "While you might have often heard that PC gaming is dying — detractors have been claiming this for over a decade — one developer has a different take: that consoles are the ones on the way out. In a 26-minute presentation at GDC — available now as a slideshow with a voice-over — Ben Cousins, who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses statistics of electronic and gaming purchases, along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, to come to some surprising conclusions. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers — Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft — are losing out when compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers: Facebook, Apple and Google. With the new companies, the size of the audience is vastly increased because of their focus on tablets, mobile and browser-based gaming."

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    Hmm, and this Ben Cousins doesn't have an agenda here...

    This is all folderal. Consoles will never die - as there will always be some demand. Now - it could get to the point where we try the Nuon or CD-i route again and get dedicated console manufactured by different companies. We may even cease having physical copies of games (which would suck, but yeah). But if we go to purely tablet/phone gaming we're taking a step back from the direction of realism and immersion in gaming. The controls and general depth of tablet games are nowhere close to console games.

    And to be honest, while a great majority of regular people love there flash games, console gamers still love console games. I mean, seriously, have console gamers lost many of their own to the iPhone phenomenon? And I mean to the point where they stop buying new consoles and games? I don't think so...
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    I've bought 1 game for my iphone (Angry Birds) and downloaded a couple of free games. Yeah, they're okay when I'm sitting around waiting on someone, but I usually just browse the internet using my phone instead.

    Let the casuals have their flash games, I'll still buy my games on hardware that was designed with gaming in mind first.

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    The responses to Ben Cousins' presentation from the hardcore console gaming sect have been pretty aggressively argumentative, which is to be expected, but any divisive or subjective data presented in his slideshow aside, the presentation is not without some merit, if nothing else as a cautionary tale.

    What I find particularly interesting is that most detractors of the presentation seem to believe/indicate that he states that consoles will at some point in the near future completely cease to exist.

    He doesn't state that, in fact, he even opens his presentation with the full explanation that "death" does not equate to obsolescence. You can still buy a typewriter, you can still buy a horse-drawn carriage, you can still buy a volume of encyclopedias.

    He actually illustrates that they will instead diminish in widespread/mass appeal as the prevalent home entertainment/gaming platform and instead become niche/specialty hardware in favor of alternative hardware (ie tablets) that can deliver the same media experience.

    Even if you come away disagreeing with his position, it is absolutely worth 20 minutes of your time to watch. There are some very interesting statistics and parallels that you may not have given any thought to.

    The concept of disruptive technology/disruptive innovation is fascinating.
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    As long as consoles can do something else - Netflix, movies, etc. - they'll stay around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post

    He actually illustrates that they will instead diminish in widespread/mass appeal as the prevalent home entertainment/gaming platform and instead become niche/specialty hardware in favor of alternative hardware (ie tablets) that can deliver the same media experience.
    This is where I completely disagree with this view - it doesn't deliver the same experience. Whether that experience is better or worse than what a traditional gaming console is up to the user themselves. I understand the new boom of casual gamers and the $$$ they bring to the table, I don't understand that people seem to equate that style of gaming with the console style of gaming. It's so unbelievably different...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    He actually illustrates that they will instead diminish in widespread/mass appeal as the prevalent home entertainment/gaming platform and instead become niche/specialty hardware in favor of alternative hardware (ie tablets) that can deliver the same media experience.
    I can't imagine that companies will still be making consoles at all if they become niche type items, what developers would program for them when you know ahead of time that there's a very small audience buying them. It's not like they're open platform for homebrew developers. Most of these console companies focus on a wide variety of electronics, if consoles aren't big sellers they'll move onto other things.

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    The thing is, at what point does a console stop being a console? If you take a tablet, add some ports for accessories and and some measure of A/V out then you're not really missing anything that current game consoles have. If Nintendo made something like that would it be fair to say they "dropped out of consoles in favor of tablets"? It'd be more like convergent evolution than extinction in that case.

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    A couple years ago I heard that handheld gaming was also dying and here we are with two new systems in the 3DS and Vita. Going forward I think consoles and handhelds will be structured differently but I don't see them dying all together any time soon, if at all.
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    Don't get me wrong, I don't personally see a massive shift in the immediate next generation (especially since development on next gen hardware is in full swing), but I'd never ever write off the possibility that the method(s) by which game media is delivered to us/the way we play them will shift in some different, unexpected way.

    Anything is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOAsaturn View Post
    This is where I completely disagree with this view - it doesn't deliver the same experience. Whether that experience is better or worse than what a traditional gaming console is up to the user themselves. I understand the new boom of casual gamers and the $$$ they bring to the table, I don't understand that people seem to equate that style of gaming with the console style of gaming. It's so unbelievably different...
    Did you watch the entire presentation or are you just commenting based on your position that consoles>tablets?

    Because, the presentation is not about current gen tech delivering a superior experience, it's about the rapid upswing of exponentially, rapidly improving and "disruptive" technology in tablet and non-traditional gaming devices that are messing with the traditional development cycle of consoles.

    It's only theoretical, but it's really interesting stuff.
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 03-14-2012 at 05:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper View Post
    As long as consoles can do something else - Netflix, movies, etc. - they'll stay around.
    The metamorphosis of consoles into set-top boxes pretty much guarantees that they'll be around for long time to come. They'll eventually replace cable boxes, if not next generation, then the one after that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    The thing is, at what point does a console stop being a console? If you take a tablet, add some ports for accessories and and some measure of A/V out then you're not really missing anything that current game consoles have. If Nintendo made something like that would it be fair to say they "dropped out of consoles in favor of tablets"? It'd be more like convergent evolution than extinction in that case.
    I haven't been reading up to date information about the Wii U, but isn't it supposed to do that? You can download the entire game on the controller which is a LCD pad and take the game with you. That sounds a lot like tablet gaming to me, or the next closest thing to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper View Post
    As long as consoles can do something else - Netflix, movies, etc. - they'll stay around.
    Yeah but that 'something else' isn't anything that the tablets can't also do.

    Personally I find the hardest thing about gaming on a tablet to be the control. Once they figure that out I see them knocking off the big name portables pretty quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Griking View Post
    Yeah but that 'something else' isn't anything that the tablets can't also do.

    Personally I find the hardest thing about gaming on a tablet to be the control. Once they figure that out I see them knocking off the big name portables pretty quickly.
    All that iOS needs to do is implement a universal bluetooth game controller/human interface device profile that any game can map to.

    Presently if a developer codes iControl Pad or iCade into their software you can play games with controllers just fine.

    It's even easier on Android since that's less of a locked-down programming environment.
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 03-15-2012 at 02:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    All that iOS needs to do is implement a universal bluetooth game controller/human interface device type profile that any game can map to.

    Presently if a developer codes iControl Pad or iCade into their software you can play games with controllers just fine.

    It's even easier on Android since that's less of a locked-down programming environment.
    it depends on how its designed. I really wouldn't want a portable controller for my portable tablet. That just sounds awkward. Maybe if the controller some how mounted or clipped onto the tablet so a person wouldn't have to hold both separately but i'm not sure how you'd do that without covering some of the screen.
    Last edited by Griking; 03-15-2012 at 02:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Griking View Post
    it depends on how its designed. I really wouldn't want a portable controller for my portable tablet. That just sounds awkward. Maybe if the controller some how mounted or clipped onto the tablet so a person wouldn't have to hold both separately.
    But we're talking about consoles, not portables, no?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    But we're talking about consoles, not portables, no?
    I was talking about portables like tablets. IMO there's really not much that a console can do at this point that a tablet can't do except for the graphics (for now) and the control.

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    It's true that horsepower and price are going to be the real stumbling blocks here in the foreseeable future. A console won't be able to adopt a tablet-like design while retaining the kind of state of the art power and remain at the affordable price point most consoles strive for. It's a balancing act. If two gens from now Microsoft wants to make the new console powerful enough to hit all the high notes and keep it to a $299-$399ish price point they'll have a bitch of a time also adopting non-traditional hardware.

    And that's not really going to change. Yes, future tablets will eventually improve. But so will PCs and traditional hardware. So it's going to be impossible to release a tablet that's able to compete in that department without it costing $600. It's always going to be a 2 out of 3 deal. Slimmer/innovative hardware, Raw power, Low price. Can't really have all 3.
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 03-15-2012 at 03:17 PM.

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    During the video game crash of 1983 people thought that it was the end of videogames. 3 years later they were lining up to buy Super Mario.

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