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Mobile evolution will make today's market irrelevant

Mobile evolution will make today's market irrelevant

Fri 01 Nov 2013 2:13pm GMT / 10:13am EDT / 7:13am PDT
MobileFree-to-Play

Free-to-play specialist Teut Weidemann says disruption of smartphones is just getting started, AAA already out of fashion

"Why Everything in Games Today is Irrelevant."

That's the topic of Ubisoft senior online game supervisor Teut Weidemann's session at GDC Next in Los Angeles next week. It's an attention grabbing statement, and one that Weidemann was concerned could be misconstrued. Speaking with GamesIndustry International in advance of the talk, Weidemann stressed that he is only working for Ubisoft as a contractor, so his opinions are not official representations of the publisher in any way.

Like many, Weidemann believes that the introduction of the smartphone is reshaping the gaming industry. But Weidemann believes that statement actually shortchanges the impact of the device. The smartphone is the single most successful device humanity has ever created, proliferating through the population at an unprecedented rate. He said it has reshaped the fundamental relationship between humans and electronics, likening the impact to Johann Gutenberg's invention of the movable type printing press.

"For the first time since I've been in the industry, you have access to a worldwide market without ever having to leave your office. I remember when I had to make appointments with 30 publishers when I had to sell my game."

Teut Weidemann

"For the first time since I've been in the industry, you have access to a worldwide market without ever having to leave your office," Weidemann said. "I remember when I had to make appointments with 30 publishers when I had to sell my game. And when they said yes, you had to release your game under heavy pressure and influence, and then the publishers did whatever they liked. Now you can do this worldwide yourself."

Obviously, digital distribution has played a role in this as well, but the smartphone has exponentially increased that impact in a relatively brief time frame.

"The reach the smartphone gives us into territories where we'd never done business before is so immense, and still growing," Weidemann said.

The closest the game industry has ever seen to this sort of disruption came nearly 30 years ago, Weidemann said, when home computers like the Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum, and Amiga quickly fell out of favor.

"They died really quickly because there was something called the Super Nintendo coming from Japan," Weidemann said. "Everybody saw the quality and the advantage playing on the Super Nintendo, and there was a huge shift of the industry to it. It basically killed the home computer, so the only thing left was PC gaming."

That's not to say consoles and PC gaming will go the way of the Commodore 64. To the contrary, Weidemann expects them both to continue growing, but the market will overwhelmingly shift to mobile. The AAA and boxed retail models are already "out of fashion," and if the mobile market is where the money is being made, Weidemann asks what's going to keep AAA developers tied to a less lucrative market?

To put that into perspective, Weidemann pointed to SoftBank's recent acquisition of majority interest in Clash of Clans developer Supercell. The $1.5 billion paid for a 51 percent stake puts Supercell's valuation at about $3 billion. Weidemann said that puts the developer's value at nearly triple the market cap of a major AAA publisher like Ubisoft, and said the studio could eventually grow to the size of an EA, which has a market cap of about $8 billion.

"Apple at some point has to decide what their app store should be. Currently it's very monopolistic. It works, but it shows it is not the major business of Apple."

Teut Weidemann

It's not all smooth sailing for mobile, however. Weidemann acknowledged two major flaws in mobile today that could hobble the market's long-term growth.

"The first challenge is there is no access barrier to the market," Weidemann said. "And that means there's a whole lot of [junk] on these app stores. This usually is a problem for healthy markets. If there's no access barrier, the markets sooner or later collapse."

Weidemann said the lack of barriers to entry was a main culprit in the demise of the Atari 2600 and the related gaming crash of the early '80s. There was no quality control to keep wreckage off the system, so the shelves became glutted with terrible games. One of the reasons Nintendo succeeded with its own post-crash entry into the console market was its notoriously hands-on approach to platform curation.

That ties in to the second big problem Weidemann said the mobile markets face: app discovery. Charts and featured placement on iTunes and the Google Play store help a little, but Weidemann said it isn't good to have the gatekeepers essentially determining what succeeds and fails on their platforms.

"Apple at some point has to decide what their app store should be," Weidemann said. "Currently it's very monopolistic. It works, but it shows it is not the major business of Apple. I think it's time for some innovation in that section."

There are also other, less pressing concerns with the state of mobile games today. For example, Weidemann took exception to some of the more aggressive approaches to free-to-play, as well as any games that rely on psychological techniques common to gambling.

"They don't sell a game; they sell a monetization platform," Weidemann said of such efforts. "And if you do that, the game might do really well in the first couple months, but later on it will actually fail. If you're in it for the long run, you should actually have a healthy mix."

68 Comments

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
Popular Comment
The smartphone is the single most successful device humanity has ever created
I almost stopped reading right there, almost.....

same thing was said about TV, the very first phone, the microwave oven, internet.....

Yes, these things changes people's lives, but look, movie theater still exist, food are still best prepared the old fashioned way, the sun still rises from the east...

Posted:A year ago

#1

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
The man talks some sense.
This is the absolute truth:
The smartphone is the single most successful device humanity has ever created
From zero to two billion users in such a short time. Bringing the internet (and thus the sum of human knowledge) to the far flung corners of the world. The impact in the developing world is greater than the impact in the developed world.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Richard Nunn Graphic Designer

6 2 0.3
Totally right about the access barrier in my opinion. Wading through the crap to find the best apps is a bit of a problem on both apple and google stores. There are apps you can download to help but generally it's a bit of a mess, and the 'recommend for you' list on the google store doesn't help much either... Also, there aren't enough categories; just action/arcade, casino, casual and sport, with any decent RPG's and strategy games lumped in with the millions of tower defence/physics-based rubbish in brain/puzzle.

One minor thing, the disruption caused by the SNES Teut mentions happened about 20 years ago, not 30.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Chris Lewin Software Engineer, EA

20 67 3.4
Popular Comment
What is is about mobile that seems to attract people fond of grandiose, sweeping statements?

EDIT: I should add some actual substance to my comment. As far as I know, not one of the newly-minted mobile giants have been able to replicate the success of the hit that catapulted them into the limelight. This suggests to me that despite all making good, solid games, none of these companies have the kind of 'secret sauce' required to create more hits.

To put it another way, I expect we will see a rotation of these companies, with new ones striking it lucky and having huge IPOs, followed by a long slide into obscurity. It's already happening to Zynga (also what happened to Rovio?). Furthermore as mobile users become more experienced and savvy, their expectations of quality will increase and the bar for entry into the market will rise.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Lewin on 1st November 2013 3:06pm

Posted:A year ago

#4

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Chris Lewin
As far as I know, not one of the newly-minted mobile giants have been able to replicate the success of the hit that catapulted them into the limelight.
Supercell.
Hay Day, May 2012
Clash of Clans, August 2012

But you are missing the point. You are thinking of games as a product. The old fashioned concept. Now we have games as a service. So one game can effectively last for ever with constant new upgrades. Think WoW and not GTA. So one successful product can be all that a company needs.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Popular Comment
That's not to say consoles and PC gaming will go the way of the Commodore 64. To the contrary, Weidemann expects them both to continue growing, but the market will overwhelmingly shift to mobile. The AAA and boxed retail models are already "out of fashion," and if the mobile market is where the money is being made, Weidemann asks what's going to keep AAA developers tied to a less lucrative market?
This suggests and either or situation. A this or that only situation. A black or white only situation. Money can and will be made on both sides of that fence. When the hell are we going to start to understand this in our industry?

Lucrative is relevant to your target audience and game design. You can't take a game with complex controls or with a massive file size and put it on mobile and expect the same results you'd achieve on the home console. The converse is also true. How good did Cut The Rope do on consoles? Different markets, different games, different approaches, different portions of a very big pie. Take your slice and go. But for God's sake, stop trying to tell me and everyone else that the pie is going to be comprised of nothing but mobile when you still have a very large market that still enjoys that console slice of the pie.

I'm tired of these people with obviously vested interests in one side of this industry trying to tell the other side they are irrelevant when broken sales records and unprecedented demand in the console space are saying otherwise.

How about you guys spend more time coming up with the next big mobile hit and less time spouting off about how mobile is going to destroy consoles.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Yannick Boucher Development Director, 2K China

9 23 2.6
Mobile evangelists (and i mean evangelists in the most bombastic possible term) love to portray the situation as a AAA/Core/Console vs Casual/F2P/Mobile. It's the best way to get people to listen to them. You're trying to disrupt the market, of course you're gonna make sweeping statements, and say that you're out to take down the incumbent. It makes it so much easier to convince investors that way, too.

But the truth is, you can be playing on both fields at the same time and be perfectly fine (this guy IS working with Ubisoft after all, isn't he?).

Reality is obviously much more nuanced. How are GREE and GungHo doing these days, Bruce? Zynga?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Yannick Boucher on 1st November 2013 4:35pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Chris Lewin Software Engineer, EA

20 67 3.4
@ Bruce:
Actually I would argue that Zynga provides the perfect counterexample to the idea that 'games as a service' means companies only need to hit once and then continue to update that single platform. Investors and the people that court them are very fond of making this statement because they would love for the games business to be consistently understandable in the same way that the consumer products industry is. Unfortunately, simple human nature and recent history suggest that peoples' interest in a single game can really only be strung out for a few years at best. WoW is an edge case that nobody has been able to replicate. How many people still play Farmville? Perhaps they've all moved on to Hay Day.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Lewin on 1st November 2013 4:34pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Simon Butler Computer Games

5 5 1.0
The other MAJOR access barrier is the fact that a Kempston Joystick gave you more gaming control than any of the smartphones.
If you're designing a one touch/swipe style game they're fine, but for finesse and real gaming controls? Forget it.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Richard Nunn Graphic Designer

6 2 0.3
@Simon:
Kind of true - the touch controls are perfect for strategy games and turn-based RPG's actually, things like Worms and Infantry work great with a touchscreen. But for more action-orientated games a controller is definitely needed yep, that's why devices like iController and Gameklip have been produced. Although they need more support from the developers to be in widespread use, which may not be deemed worthwhile if the handheld devices like Shield and the TV-based Android consoles take-off.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Tudor Nita C++ Multiplayer Programmer, Gameloft Romania

23 26 1.1
I believe AAA is by no means growing out of style. Quite the contrary. It's just slowly creeping into a new platform ( aka mobile ).

It's easy to dismiss this if you haven't been paying attention to store charts or actually have seen how the big mobile teams look like or how their budgets are ever inflating.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Tosin Balogun Studying International Business, Anglia Ruskin University

23 21 0.9
I enjoy when people make these bold claims, as if the Mobile spectrum can provide a sustainable model that consoles has done for 37yrs now. Is there a mobile threat, yes as we have already seen the market shrink the portable gaming category, but there is no evidence whatsoever anywhere in the corner of the earth that suggest it is affecting triple-A consoles, if anything at all only Nintendo has been affected and that is even debatable cause there are several factors to consider with Nintendo's recent poor performances.
The mo(o)re hardware in mobile space increases, the more hardware in the PC/Console space increases, also the cost trade off for a Tablet to a console still puts the merit in consoles favour so keep spinning your mobile apocalypse story till your heart is content. There is a reason why some people drive sport cars and not sedans, go figure

Posted:A year ago

#12

Alex Hutchinson Creative Director, Ubisoft Montreal

19 38 2.0
Popular Comment
Pendantic, but: It was the 'Atari ST' not the 'Amiga ST'. The Amiga was an entirely different system.

The truth is the games industry has been in constant 'disruption' since it's inception. This is nothing new. Platforms come and go, genres come and go, don't worry about it.

Is anyone else bored of predicting the death of one thing and the rise of another? Can we just talk about content and whether the games are any good?

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Alex Hutchinson on 1st November 2013 7:31pm

Posted:A year ago

#13

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

415 988 2.4
No doubt that mobile smart phones opened up an entire new gaming category for developers etc to make money. However, that fact does not mean that desktop/console gaming has to suffer. If anything mobile games are the gateway to gaming, bringing gaming to the masses and thus actually helping the more powerful and hardcore desktop and console gaming gain even more market share and penetration.

Mobile gaming is still at best half ass gaming and will never compare and compete with the experience and power that desktop and console gaming can give. There is room and need for both however. I cant drag my desktop to the airport, and Im sure as hell not going to play a mobile phone if I have a full gaming rig sitting in front of me.

Its amazing when I hear people say that AAA is dead and mobile is the only way forward, I simply reply " GTAV, 1 billion in sales in 3 days"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 1st November 2013 8:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Teut Weidemann Consultant Online Games, Ubisoft Germany

51 23 0.5
I never said AAA is dead. Read again. I am just saying that AAA is harder and harder to make a hit, while the same AAA developer can do i easier and without publisher on another market segment.

What do you think he will do. Getting f/&%$d again after finishing a AAA game? Ask the 40+ AAA developers this question who were closed this year alone.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Teut Weidemann Consultant Online Games, Ubisoft Germany

51 23 0.5
As for the mobile market: it is so big in comparison that the console market pales in comparison. Consoles have a reach of 200 million if you calculate nicely (not deducting defect or abandoned consoles) and you need to invest 100m+ to at least try to compete with the big boys. But, you are making $50-$60 per copy. Not too bad.

Mobile will have a reach of 3 billion in 2 years if it keeps the momentum currently. Billion. Thats close to half of the earths population potentially at your fingertips, and this without submission costs, drama, and console publishers throwing stones in your way. Yes its not easy either, but its easier than anything I had seen before since I laid my hands on my first computer, the Pet 2001.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Justin Biddle Software Developer

161 484 3.0
It's high time these people stop talking and prove what they're saying. You can evangelise all you like from either side of the fence but until it happens it is not actually true. Get out there and prove it. You won't talk it into being

Posted:A year ago

#17

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
Popular Comment
Speaking with my hysterical gamer voice: I don't like mobile games because, quite simply, the experience of them is incomparable by any variable gaming cares to offer. You might as well compare snooker and pork.

You have two different audiences. Bejeweled players are never going to rinse 64-player Battlefield matches and likewise those Battlefield players aren't interested in matching coloured gems. You can't make them both happy, and it's my opinion that anyone who tries is in for an extremely rude awakening.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Yannick Boucher Development Director, 2K China

9 23 2.6
@Teut
"Mobile will have a reach of 3 billion in 2 years if it keeps the momentum currently. Billion. Thats close to half of the earths population potentially at your fingertips"

Another one pulling the "installed base" figure card? That's a virtually useless figure. Give me this data instead, then we'll talk: how many of these billions of people play on their phones? How many pay for it? How much are they paying for it ? How much time are they spending on the games, and how much are they researching and "pulling" them, as opposed to having them "pushed" to them? (We both know all this data exists, of course. We also both know why it's never the one that mobile evangelists reach for).

"and this without submission costs, drama, and console publishers throwing stones in your way."

Last I checked, submitting to the App Store was neither free of costs nor drama. As far as discovery is concerned, who says it falls onto Apple to make a change? You seem to be entirely missing that _publishing_ is probably the fastest growing business in mobile right now. Ask Rovio.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Yannick Boucher on 1st November 2013 11:34pm

Posted:A year ago

#19

Cale Barnett Animator

29 31 1.1
The smartphone is the single most successful device humanity has ever created
That's right folks, not the lever, light bulb or the wheel. All hail the great human civilization and their smartphones!

Posted:A year ago

#20

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Teut, if your perspective is only from the side of developers, then yes, mobile looks like streets paved in gold*. But you need to look at the consumer side of things too.

Not all of us want to play the next casual fest. Not all of us want our games as a service. Not all of us want to be limited by the thermal envelope and lack of tactile input of mobile phones. Gaming shouldn't have to be solely about DAUs, ARPs and eCPIs.

When you force products and ignore the full range of the consumer, you ask for a crash. All gold rushes eventually come to a stop. Those streets are actually brass* and you better be ready for the tarnish that will come.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

897 1,340 1.5
One thing I've never gotten when this comes up, is that the console people make a big deal about it not being either/or and there's room for both. That console games provide "better" gaming with better controles and faster gpus etc.

And it all sounds good, as long as you remember that they don't have a divine right to exist just because they're good at something. Consoles are better for playing photo-realistic shooters? Agreed. Arcade cabinet with sturdy joystick better for playing defender? Absolutely.

I hated when the arcades disappeared, and I would've vehemently cried "no chance, there's room for both". But disappear they did, despite being the best way to get the best experience at the time. This happened because the mass market simply upped and went elsewhere. It's worth remembering that, because it's happening again.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Justin Biddle Software Developer

161 484 3.0
Aye. Just like with the pc, and the radio, and movie theatres... Hang on!

The point about arcades is that the games on them didn't just go away. They moved to home entertainment system and evolved. Yes perhaps the controls may not have been quite as fluid on the home entertainment systems but it wasn't completely unsuited to those games, unlike the current control system on mobiles would be in order to play the type of games console gamers want to play. As soon as mobile provides those type of games and I can plug into a big screen and sound system I'll happily convert. Until then, not interested.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 2nd November 2013 1:31am

Posted:A year ago

#23

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
Hes irrelevant. The industry will be irrelevant if that was true with garbage gaming

Posted:A year ago

#24

Teut Weidemann Consultant Online Games, Ubisoft Germany

51 23 0.5
You guys see to much black and white. You can still play consoles. No problem. Its just that mobile is huge, too, maybe even bigger. This doesnt mean you are forced to play mobile.

And Yannick, the data you ask for you shoulld have at your hands. We have, so should you.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Tosin Balogun Studying International Business, Anglia Ruskin University

23 21 0.9
Arcades went into extinction because the home consoles could provide the quality found in the Arcades. Mobiles however have yet to prove that and given Moores law still applies to consoles, we will hardly see a situation where mobile tech overtakes consoles, instead both would grow in their respective cycles. Then there is also the business angle, while it is not uncommon to find Nvidia creating the best chip for mobile that can rival consoles, is it sensible business decision to invest in said tech and also the mobile platform cannot sustain the triple-A companies around the world #fact.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Yannick Boucher
Another one pulling the "installed base" figure card? That's a virtually useless figure.
False argument. Two billion smartphones are in daily use. Next year it will be 3 billion. Being in daily use means that if the right entertainment product comes along it has a high chance of being used.

Compare that with consoles, most of which are never used. Those that are used are mainly used intermittently. Only a minute percentage are used daily.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

897 1,340 1.5
Arcades went into extinction because the home consoles could provide the quality found in the Arcades.
Nope, they have grossly inferior controls. That so many can manage with a d-pad these days just shows you that people can get used to anything if a better option is no longer available. Like touchscreens.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 2nd November 2013 1:52pm

Posted:A year ago

#28

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

450 423 0.9
@Paul: the difference between joystick / control pad and control pad / tablet is a great order of magnitude.

But there comes a point where the deficit is unbearable. That being said there's nothing stopping tablet oriented gaming mechanics that provides the same depth of gaming experiences that consoles have on offer.

Of course the next generation of gamers just might not know of the benefit of joysticks and control pads and so may not see the benefit. So let's see some expressive tablet control mechanisms, because without those the tablet takeover will never be able to happen.
Nope, they have grossly inferior controls.
He was talking about power, hence the mention of Moore's Law in the following sentence.
Compare that with consoles, most of which are never used. Those that are used are mainly used intermittently. Only a minute percentage are used daily.
And I'm sure most people watch more soaps and reality television on a daily basis than do watch the latest blockbuster movie. That being said movies are not going out of fashion. Likewise the console games that do demand a little more time and so may not be used daily can quite happily go on supplying the weekly dose of gaming escape / challenges and people can continue matching jewels and candy while they're on the bog or commuting to work.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
@Bruce
False argument. Two billion smartphones are in daily use. Next year it will be 3 billion. Being in daily use means that if the right entertainment product comes along it has a high chance of being used.

Compare that with consoles, most of which are never used. Those that are used are mainly used intermittently. Only a minute percentage are used daily.
incomparable. 150 million of 7th Generation console's installed base is a more meaning full market than 2 billion smartphones. my phone was never turned off, yet I estimate I spend less than 10 minutes looking at it's screen daily.

Didn't pay too much attention to it during work, I don't look at it when I am out with my friends, for I am talking to my friends face to face. good luck for your ads trying to get to me in that time frame. After work. I loose myself in a 2 hours gaming session on my PS3.

Else flavored air would have been a lucrative business, since every living being breathes.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Neow Shau Jin on 2nd November 2013 2:41pm

Posted:A year ago

#30

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Neow Shau Jin

Most people are not console gaming fanboys. In fact they are quite rare.
Very many people love to play games on their smartphones to kill times wasted commuting etc.
Just get on a bus or train to see this.
It wouldn't surprise me if more people played mobile games in one day's commute than play consoles in a month.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
Did record players or the radio kill concerts?
Did TV sets kill cinemas?
Did eMails kill postal services?

Sure, all of them had impact, just as mobile will have an impact on gaming cultural in general. Gaming at home will always be a factor, gaming on different types of devices will always be a factor. Are you watching all your movies on your iPhone now? Would you play Call of Duty on the phone?

Posted:A year ago

#32

Patrick Heyer Story Contributor

9 48 5.3
To me that "it ain't black and white" statement is the important one. We should stop comparing apples and oranges when talking about the games market.

We got consoles and PCs, where AAA blockbusters with their classic revenue model will still continue to exist, with some good indie games thrown into the mix. If that's the kind of entertainment you're looking for, you'll find it there. It's just not where the bulk of small to medium sized studios will be able to survive.

Teut said it right: Mobile is where growth is still happening, it's where the biggest audience is and it's where traditional gamer "roles" aren't as persistant. It's less costly, easier and quicker to get something going there.

But app discovery needs to be fixed and high installation numbers do not result in big revenues ("good" games do not either - has anyone seen actual revenue numbers from PvZ2?). You want to release on iOS first for a good reason. And one hit product doesn't ensure steady growth for your company.

We should stop aiming for big IPOs and huge buyouts though - the pressure this builds on studios isn't healthy (and I've experienced what it does to your games firsthand). Instead focus should be on keeping small and experienced teams going and encourage them to try out new things and keep up with where your customers are going. Because what works well today won't necessarily work well next year.

Posted:A year ago

#33

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Very many people love to play games on their smartphones to kill times wasted commuting etc.
Just get on a bus or train to see this.
Bruce, if this is your argument for how mobile is going to dominate consoles, you really might want to rethink it.

1. Public transit commuters account for a very small fraction of the total mobile install base.
2. Public transit commuters are not your CoD and GTA gamers of the world so how can you expect them to be who takes up that mantle if mobile succeeds consoles?


As for the arcade argument, arcades were designed around quick in and out play mechanics. You deposit your quarter, you play a few minutes and then done. It was not an environment conducive to the more complex and lengthy gaming experiences we find on consoles. It had nothing to do with gamers being complacent with inferior controls at home and everything to do with the games available at home that were not available in arcades.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

415 988 2.4
Arcades went into extinction because the home consoles could provide the quality found in the Arcades.
Nope, they have grossly inferior controls. That so many can manage with a d-pad these days just shows you that people can get used to anything if a better option is no longer available. Like touchscreens.
Actually, yep, the arcade DID go into extinction because the home console began matching the tech of the arcade. They ( home consoles) even had superior controls with many more input options. So sorry paul, I dont believe for one minute your assertions that arcades had superior controls. Not even close. I lived this. I stopped going to the arcade because why pay for Donkey Kong arcade experience when my colecovision version was an exact copy? Tech caught up, that is what killed the arcade.

The point is mobile smart phone tech is NO WHERE near the tech of consoles and desktop gaming currently, so the analogy to that of the arcade machine and its decline doesnt hold water .
Most people are not console gaming fanboys. In fact they are quite rare.
Rare?....... 1 billion in sales in 3 days for a recent game on consoles.....

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 2nd November 2013 7:03pm

Posted:A year ago

#35

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Todd Weidner

You don't have to be a console gaming fanboy to buy GTA.

Lots of technologies and entertainments have died out (or collapsed to nearly nothing). Audio casettes, 35mm film, pigeon racing, 120 roll film, plate film, VHS, vinyl records, music halls, dance halls, freak shows, specialist home computers, prizefighting, reel to reel recording, 8mm film, cock fighting etc etc

Home consoles using physical media will inevitably join them.

Touch screen controls are vastly superior because you interact directly with the game, there is no intermediate device.
The D pad is not a nice device, it only flourished in the absence of anything better. But now touch screens are better.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Heh. All I'll say is back in the day, playing games in an arcade with a dedicated joystick or other single-tasking peripheral or controllers sure beat the hell out of busting one's thumbs at home dialing out half-circles on hard plastic cross keys (and other controllers - remember the N64 analog injuries from some games?) and getting blisters or worse as a result. But we learned to love it (well, some of us did)... ;^P

Posted:A year ago

#37

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
@Bruce
Touch controls mean you cover part of the screen with your fingers. Touch controllers can do only so many actions per minute. Most people can type faster than the input lag on those things. Re-enacting motions in front of a Kinect can be tiring and silly.

Controllers offer a good layer of abstraction and haptic feedback. They pick up tiny muscle movements and are incredible precise. Be it a d-pad joypad, a mouse, or a keyboard with real keys. The rate at which commands from the players are issued to the game is higher and allows for more complex gaming experiences.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Teut Weidemann Consultant Online Games, Ubisoft Germany

51 23 0.5
GTA, CoD, compare them with mobile games. As I said, Black & white, apples & oranges. Careful here. GTA is the single best hit on consoles, followed by CoD second. If you reduce consoles to those two titles or genres and this would be true then consoles would be doomed.

Lukcily consoles have other titles too.

As does mobile. And 29m GTA is a record breaking revenue, in the last year of the console which is years old. Meanwhile a game draws the attention of a billion and will surpass GTA in lifetime revenue.

But thats numbers talk hard to compare. And numbers change to fast it doesn't really matter. Thats the important point: the world is changing. Next Gen, powerful mobile devices, a billion new gamers, worldwide market. We should all celebrate.

(and to the former comments: radio is tiny compared to its former glory, the number of cinemas is tiny compared when it was the only moving pictures format, so yes, TV hurt Cinema a lot until they got a piece of the pie)

Posted:A year ago

#39

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Bruce,
Those technologies/services were replaced by a technology/service that could do everything they could do only better, cheaper, more efficiently, faster, etc... Mobile does not replace everything a home console offers. There are serious trade offs and when you have serious trade offs, you have a co-existing market space. Trucks, cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, etc....all different means of personal vehicular transportation that appeal to a different segment of the market because neither does everything for everybody. Get this through your head.

By the way, can you name me a single video game console that doesn't offer digital download?

D-pads are not the only input interface that consoles employ. They have analog controls, touch screens, gesture controls, voice controls, analog triggers, analog buttons, etc.... And for fighting games, I'd much rather have a real D-pad than a touch screen D-pad. Nobody that plays both mobile and console games proclaims the touch screen input method to be superior over an analog stick. There is a reason that Nintendo still includes all the standard input methods on all of their touch enabled devices.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 3rd November 2013 12:13am

Posted:A year ago

#40

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

415 988 2.4
All I'll say is back in the day, playing games in an arcade with a dedicated joystick or other single-tasking peripheral or controllers sure beat the hell out of busting one's thumbs at home dialing out half-circles on hard plastic cross keys
are you kidding me? standing and slumped over an arcade, one that if you were any good at would send your hands into spasms 30 minutes into the game. I can remember just about every play session on certain machines, between rounds I would have to flex my hand over and over in order to get the spasms to stop, get some blood flowing back in the hand, and try to get the numbness out. And lets not talk about what it did to your back, and this was to healthy teenagers. And you think that controller experience was far superior to sitting on a comfy couch in your own home using a controller in your lap? really? I mean really?

so i take it you now have built your console and/or computer home system into an arcade cabinet. Since for decades you could pretty easily do so with a little know how. I mean why sit on your comfy couch when you could be slumped over an arcade cabinet in the garage.. :P

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 3rd November 2013 2:23am

Posted:A year ago

#41

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

897 1,340 1.5
. I stopped going to the arcade because why pay for Donkey Kong arcade experience when my colecovision version was an exact copy? Tech caught up, that is what killed the arcade.
It didn't catch up. You managed to get by with an inferior experience (controller) because the whole gain was better than the small loss. It wasn't an exact copy, but it was close enough to get by with. And that's my complete argument.

Posted:A year ago

#42

Benjamin Kratsch Freelance Journalist, GLP Media

18 5 0.3
Would completely go with Alex. Plus: How many epic adventures and you know - memorable games do you have on mobile? Not a lot. They are great to burn 10 or 20 minutes, but you don't really have the world of Skyrim, or the universe & story arc of Assassin's Creed.

The only thing we are talking about here is money: You don't need those big AAA budgets on mobile, so you probably make more profit. But is it just about that? You can also sell Blu-ray recorders or any technical device if you just wanna make the fast money, that's not what an art industry should rely on. I kinda like mobile games for what they are and there is a ton of good indie stuff on that, but it will never replace the big games in peoples mind.

Posted:A year ago

#43

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
It didn't catch up.
It depends. Graphically, of course home consoles caught up - The Dreamcast was a mod'd Naomi board.
You managed to get by with an inferior experience (controller) because the whole gain was better than the small loss. It wasn't an exact copy, but it was close enough to get by with. And that's my complete argument.
And yet what do you say to those who have bought arcade sticks? Or wheel-and-pedal controllers? Dedicated gamers (therefore, not many of them), certainly, but their experience is definitely not inferior in terms of UI.

Interestingly, this talk of arcades brings home something that may (nor may not?) be lacking in mobile gaming. Social gaming.

I completed Final Fight with some random kid about the same age as me, because we wanted to play at the same time. The fighting and dance game genres are very spectator-based. If you're going to argue that the UI for home consoles (and mobiles?) is inadequate compared to X (X being the arcade, in this instance), then surely there's other facets that are missing from the experience. Facets which seem to work better in a console environment than either an arcade or mobile one.

Posted:A year ago

#44

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

450 423 0.9
@Paul: there was more to console gaming than just playing arcade games, however the few genres where arcade mattered didn't suffer that much from having to use a controller.

I've no idea what arcades you were playing but console -> tablet is a gigantic leap compared to arcade -> console. And so many other factors played into the fall of the arcade.

FYI arcades are still found all over the place, such as bowling alleys. But at 1 a play for a game that isn't that much difference from the home experience only a few arcades are really played, and it's typically some DDR edition. When I first got into arcades it was something like 20p = 1 credit, 30p = 2, 50p = 5.

Though as a thought exercise I would ask how much input can be removed until it is unbearable? Surely there is a threshold, and I think the tablet goes over that for the typical joypad title.

That being said the tablet opens up new possibilities that are just not available to joypads or even joysticks. It's that reason why I think it's a needless argument to say touchscreen makes joypads obsolete, because they are just different. Angry birds as an example plays much better on a touch screen, as does temple run and fruit ninja.

Perhaps the best way to think of it is that they all have different strengths and weaknesses, so touchscreen input could supersede joypad input if it can create new experiences for all the key genres people care about that are not possible at all with joypads.

Posted:A year ago

#45

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

897 1,340 1.5
I've no idea what arcades you were playing but console -> tablet is a gigantic leap compared to arcade -> console. And so many other factors played into the fall of the arcade.
It's definitely a bigger leap, not trying to say it isn't. But it does fit a pattern already seen.

The very newest iPads are mental powerful and you are starting to be able to get controllers for them now also. I just see it as inevitable. Not gonna happen overnight and the imminent consoles will certainly create a bounce. But surely nobody thinks there will be a next-next gen.

Posted:A year ago

#46

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Alex
"Is anyone else bored of predicting the death of one thing and the rise of another?" Bored? Bruce seems to love it xDDD But you speak truth there. Changes will be constant, but while mobile devices can't give us a Skyrim and keep offering us casual mini-games that only seek quick cash-in, there will still be the need for PC's and consoles and there will still be market for it.

Posted:A year ago

#47

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Bruce Everiss

"Think WoW and not GTA."
Uh, well... [link url=""]http://www.joystiq.com/2013/10/29/grand-theft-auto-5-ships-29-million-units-to-retail/[/link]
Are you ever going to give up in your war against reality?

And the most important point that Teut is able to see but you still fail to realice:
"From zero to two billion users in such a short time."
He also menctions:
"That's not to say consoles and PC gaming will go the way of the Commodore 64. To the contrary, Weidemann expects them both to continue growing, but the market will overwhelmingly shift to mobile"

So no, he doesn't say the same you say; he is talking about mobile turning into the biggest market. You are talking about consoles and the "old fashion" model disappearing. That is why I (and a good number of people here) can't take you seriously, because for us is hard to understand how a marketing consultant can't accept reality just because it doesn't work the way he wants to.

Take a cup of coffee Bruce, I think there is a lot of stuff you need to think about.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 4th November 2013 8:53am

Posted:A year ago

#48

Kevin Corti Games industry consulting, SpiderShed Media

9 8 0.9
Holy mackerel people!!!!!

I find it so bizarre how the growth of mobile gaming (and other broadening of the overall games market) causes so many people to adopt such angry adversarial attitudes and defensive arguments. Why worry so much about what other people are doing in a different part of this massively diverse global market? How much mental energy has been expended on this thread alone?

Why does it have to be X versus Y? This isn't a zero-sum game people...

I prefer to see things as this: the overall market is getting bigger, much more diverse, is addressing many more niche demographics on many more devices through many more distribution channels and allowing games makers to offer a far wider range of products (and services) to players with whom they can have a much more closer connection.

That is GOOD thing IMHO

If you are struggling or feel threatened that's because we're in a rapid state of flux and, perhaps, you haven't properly recognized and/or adapted to that. If you aren't struggling....whats the problem? Get on with what you are doing and rejoice in the fact you make games and don't have to flip burgers for a living.

Its Monday morning....can't we start this week off a bit more positively chaps?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Corti on 4th November 2013 9:16am

Posted:A year ago

#49

Nick Parker Consultant

290 161 0.6
@Kevin, well said. We seem to be able to polarise subjects, this and the pro or anti free 2 play debate are two themes that seem to get people writing reams on comment pages like this. Bruce is a great catalyst to this and whether you agree or disagree, he gets everybody going. What is refreshing is the community feel of the debate here with bright contributors who can produce nuggets of enlightenment to subjects which aren't black and white and can never be.

Posted:A year ago

#50
I think Teut has a point when it comes to the disruptiveness and landslide success of the Smartphone. In the end, true disruption doesn't come from the older platforms being less viable, but the newer platform being a more attractive option for investors, resulting in more growth for the disruptive tech than the old-fashioned one. A former mass market becomes a fringe market; the skill pool atrophies as more talent is drawn into the newer, more profitable markets.

Frankly, a lot of replies here seem shortsighted and nostalgic. There will always be a market for AAA console titles, but just like the turn based strategy or submarine & flight simulation genres of the past, the AAA fps genre has most likely peaked and is doomed to become a niche phenomenon.

The bulk of people out there DOESN'T want to play on a console. It matters very little if the bulk of AAA developers and designers still enjoys playing console games; they're not getting the money the used to out of the market and from investors, who will move on (or have already moved on) to mobile.

The cycles of technology evolution are also shortening, so "mobile touch screen games as a service" will probably be disrupted by something we can't fully anticipate yet much earlier than mobile has disrupted console gamining.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Moritz Voss on 4th November 2013 10:55am

Posted:A year ago

#51

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Kevin

Gonna take that as reference for me since my tone was... well. A Monday one ;)

It is as you said, but if it works to make thing clear I will say that the thing that I attack are the wishes of some people to see a particular market model they dislike to disappear. It's the industry's equivalent equivalent of a console/PC fanboy, with the difference that the latest one is extremely dangerous. When we focus into telling people what and how they should play instead of giving them the product they want, well... we will be hitting wall eventually. Now I'm not saying that all of the mobile marketing folks are doing this, but some are... and that is just wrong.

That is where I see the danger. When some marketing people ignore what they don't want to see and fail to realize that there is room and market for all the models (exactly as you said, Kevin, and I support you there). As an example: as long as I am unable to have an experience like Skyrim (I.E.) in a mobile device, it will continue to be a fully separate market.

Posted:A year ago

#52

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Jim

"How about you guys spend more time coming up with the next big mobile hit and less time spouting off about how mobile is going to destroy consoles. "

The sentence of the week. Thanks a lot, sir.

Posted:A year ago

#53

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Yannick Boucher

"You're trying to disrupt the market, of course you're gonna make sweeping statements, and say that you're out to take down the incumbent. It makes it so much easier to convince investors that way, too."

It is good that, in the end, people will buy/pay only what they want. Not the opposite. If that ever happens I would be thinking about leaving the industry and games in general for good. But that is far from happening, thankfully.

Posted:A year ago

#54

Stu Johnson Technical Lead

15 39 2.6
Lots of technologies and entertainments have died out (or collapsed to nearly nothing). Audio casettes, 35mm film, pigeon racing, 120 roll film, plate film, VHS, vinyl records, music halls, dance halls, freak shows, specialist home computers, prizefighting, reel to reel recording, 8mm film, cock fighting etc etc

Home consoles using physical media will inevitably join them.
hmmm... you might want to check this years sale figures for vinyl, exponential year on year growth since the late ninties..
Why?? because there is a customer base who still wants this. Still prepared to pay hard cash for it. Still wants to hold, touch and display tangible assets. Just like I do! I like to spend my physical cash in a physical shop to buy a physical product. If that makes me wierd then so be it, but not much more wierd than lots of other likeminded souls.
Where does marketing end and dictating start?

I wont even comment about cock-fighting going out of fashion!!

Posted:A year ago

#55

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Very many people love to play games on their smartphones to kill times wasted commuting etc.
Which is the exact issue here. They're not willing to pay a lot for something just to kill some time here and there, nor do they want something too involved that might make them miss their station or stop. This simply isn't at all the AAA gaming market; it's an utterly different one. And I'm not convinced that, it terms of expenditure it's larger. There are certainly more people in that market, but are they, collectively, willing to cough up even as much money as console and PC gamers happily spend every year, let alone significantly more?

Posted:A year ago

#56

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
20 years from now, Ill probably still be gaming on home consoles... with consoles incorporating more network and mobile technologies, they will become far from irrelevant. To me they are and will always be the place to expirience premium gaming content.

Posted:A year ago

#57

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Bruce
Compare that with consoles, most of which are never used. Those that are used are mainly used intermittently. Only a minute percentage are used daily.
That is the false statement, Bruce. Consoles are gaming dedicated platforms; 100% of the console users buy them for games. Those 2 billion mobile devices are barelly used for games.
Check any gaming websites and you will see that their mobile section is marginal always, you are selling your stuff to different costumers. You still see a competition where there is none. F2P model is really the thing working, and that is why you see more mobile products/services coming to PC than the opposite.

I would like to see your sources for "Compare that with consoles, most of which are never used. Those that are used are mainly used intermittently." That is like if I were to say that most of people with a phone never make calls.

Posted:A year ago

#58
@Stu Johnson: Vinyl has sold better because DJing went through a renaissance, and CD or electronic formats still didn't catch up to turn tables in terms of haptics and ease of use (a half-seasoned DJ can visually 'read' the tracks on the disk - that's what the oblique light on the turn table is for - and know which part of the track he needs to jump to, something you can't do with CDs or MP3s without memorizing precise time stamps)

The increase in output of the electronic music industry (including remixes), lower vinyl production costs and the fact that the better a DJ gets, the more diverse their library needs to be, have acted as a strong multiplier in vinyl sales.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Moritz Voss on 5th November 2013 8:31am

Posted:A year ago

#59

Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom

41 23 0.6
I'm pretty sure mobile is "just another sector" at this stage.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/06/10/gameshow-e-idINDEE9590DW20130610

In 2012 mobile accounted for only $5.8 billion of the $63 billion dollars spent on games.
In 2013 projections were $8 billion of $66 billion total.

If everyone on your platform expects to get their content for free, how do you make any money on it?

Posted:A year ago

#60
@Alfonso Sexto:
That is the false statement, Bruce. Consoles are gaming dedicated platforms; 100% of the console users buy them for games. Those 2 billion mobile devices are barelly used for games.
Nope. In 2011, the percentage of people who used their mobile device to play (in the past month) was 34%, in 2012 it was 44% (numbers pulled off various surveys you can easily find by googling).

That easily makes the market 5x to 10x as large as the console market, in terms of reach and population.

Posted:A year ago

#61
If everyone on your platform expects to get their content for free, how do you make any money on it?
I believe this to be fallacious, mobile gamers not only spend more and more on games; they also "pay" for their games by consuming ads and fulfilling CPA offers.

In reality, mobile has also quite successfully begun to disrupt the pricing on the PC and Console markets, causing F2P to become one of the main business models in both worlds. Also, the lower price points of mobile games have probably fueled the indie renaissance to some extent.

Posted:A year ago

#62

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
The smart phone is just an evolution of the phone. From landline phones, to wireless phones, then cel-phones and now smart phones. I cant see how the success of the smart phone happened in such a short time. The main reason people have a smartphone, is because of the phone part. To communicate. I doubt as many people would have a smartphone if it didnt have a phone in it.

Posted:A year ago

#63

Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom

41 23 0.6
@Moritz

Ok, I'll bite. Please show me your source and numbers that indicate as such. You see I just linked to numbers showing that the mobile market still pales in revenue comparison.

There are also numbers from Gartner here that support the same conclusion.

http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2614915

Please, enlighten me. I'm not being facetious.

Posted:A year ago

#64

Pete Leonard , Amiqus

34 8 0.2
@Kevin Corti
Everything you said basically - couldn;t agree more.

I wonder how many people get stuck on the idea (whether they realise it or not) that consoles in their curretn form will probably die away but they will also evolve like tablets and mobiles do, they already have. The Xbox 360and it's online offerings are still sharply different from what started out in 2005. Maybe Physical media will go away entirely - it will surely be replaced over time.
BUT the mainstream gaming experience that the console slice of the market is the current provider for? Not going anywhere.

People will always consume COD, Mass Effect and Uncharted just like they consume the Dark Knight Rises, Inception and Avatar.

Mobiles will theoretically catch up in power (which is approaching the law of diminishing returns anyway now where graphics is concerned - it's about the intricate interaction you provide to players with the environment you have crafted that is 'next gen' to me), but how many of you enjoy watching Breaking Bad on your iPhone? Tablet maybe but still in an evening does it go on the telly or the phone? People like me feel the same way about our interest in AAA gaming - it's not going anywhere and mobiles (like the Wii) have largely attracted a crowd of players that were not AAA players anyway. And yes many AA aplayers find experiences they like on mobile (Ghost trick, The Room and Year Walk for me personally) but the larger % is not from yor console market.

The box may change but the experience offered (or at least the appetite for it) won't - right now we call it a console. and right now the mobile/tablet devices do not provide those experiences, and certain factors around their build and interface does suggest they might never compete for the AAA market to the same level of degree (primarily around screen size and interaction - there's a reason the controller has been so popular for so long). And no not everyone wants to stream from their phone to a TV set - especially they want to use it for something else.

Y'know, like a phonecall?

Posted:11 months ago

#65

Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant

40 54 1.4
Seems like only yesterday that people were evangelizing the coming dominance of Facebook gaming. But I'm sure that mobile couldn't be given to similar flights of fantasy? Right? Right?

"The smartphone is the single most successful device humanity has ever created."

Oh. Well then.

Posted:11 months ago

#66

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Craig

Put that "The smartphone is the single most successful device humanity has ever created." with reaper voice from "Mass Effect" and there you have it.

Posted:10 months ago

#67

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