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"The console installed base is as big as it's ever going to get"

By Matthew Handrahan

"The console installed base is as big as it's ever going to get"

Mon 21 Sep 2015 2:48pm GMT / 10:48am EDT / 7:48am PDT
HardwareDICE 2015

Growth in the "traditional gamer market" could require leaving traditional consoles behind, says Michael Pachter

The console business will hit a wall in terms of sales in this generation, and that's okay. According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, the subsequent shift away from the traditional console model will be a catalyst for even more growth.

Speaking at DICE Europe last week, Pachter discussed a provocative and divisive topic: the end of the console era.

"The console installed base is as big as it's ever going to get," he said. "[This] generation is not going to be bigger than the last generation. We're going to be about the same.

"The Wii U is going to sell 20 million units compared to 100 million for the Wii. The PlayStation 4 is going to sell 120 million or 130 million - that's great. The Xbox One will sell 100 million to 110 million - that's great. Add it all together and it's 260 million units, maybe, and the last cycle was 270 million."

"Console games shouldn't require a console. And I'm not talking about the cloud"

This take on the trajectory of the PS4 / Xbox One generation must be assessed in the context of a world that contains far more people who play games than at any time in history - thanks in part to the impact of the Wii, and in larger part to the rapid emergence of smartphones and the app economy. If Pachter's analysis proves to be accurate, it would suggest that consoles are a limiting factor on the growth potential of the games industry, putting some of the medium's best and most alluring products beyond the reach of the vast majority of people.

"This is the last real console cycle," Pachter continued. "I don't mean that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will go bankrupt and shut down - they will not. Each of them will make another console, some people will buy them, and the next console cycle will be to this console cycle what the 3DS is to the DS. The 3DS is selling about 15 million units a year, the DS had five consecutive years where it sold more than 26 million. So about half as big.

"So when I say that this console cycle is the last console cycle, the reason is that console games shouldn't require a console. And I'm not talking about the cloud."

What games require, Pachter said, is a CPU, a GPU, storage, a controller, and a display. In the coming years, the need to purchase a console to access the first four will be diminished as smartphone and set-top box hardware becomes more sophisticated. By the time this console generation nears its end, "you're going to have a CPU/GPU in your house that is connected to your television," whether that be the latest model of the iPhone or a Fire TV box from Amazon.

1

The switch, Pachter suggested, was simply a matter of the hardware reaching a certain degree of technical sophistication; to use one of his own examples, the point when an affordable set-top box from Amazon can run Call of Duty, a brand chosen by Pachter due to its popularity among online console players. For a publisher like Activision that switch would be easy to justify, opening up the possibility of controlling the multiplayer revenues that currently go to Microsoft and Sony in the form of Xbox Live and PSN subscription fees.

For the consumer, the benefit is the removal of the need to purchase a console, and the ability to exert more control over their gaming habits.

"What happens when you lower the entry so nobody has to buy a console?" Pachter asked. "If Activision sells 20 million copies of Call of Duty to people with a console, how many people would buy it who don't have a console? I'm guessing 20 million more. To make it easier for the Europeans in the room, how many more people would play FIFA if a console wasn't required? Another 20 million.

"How many people would play Grand Theft Auto if you didn't need a console? 100 million. It's crazy numbers. This just makes so much sense. It is going to happen."

"There's a market of probably several million people who would never buy a console to play the game, but would absolutely buy the game"

Pachter shared some detailed speculation on how this structure might work, from a publisher charging a dollar or two for monthly access to its biggest online game, to the major publishers forming a consortium that charges one fee and portions out revenue according to which games received the most play. The point, though, is that console publishers have a clear incentive to work out the details, and the consumer has every reason to embrace the change.

"There's plenty of 30 or 40-somethings who would like to play FIFA or Call of Duty, but they can't," Pachter continued. "They're not going to buy a console for one game, and I'd say that's true of every single [console] game made. There's a market of probably several million people who would never buy a console to play the game, but would absolutely buy the game."

This could be a solution to the problem that flat console hardware sales in a world crammed with gamers highlights. As the number of players on mobile and other accessible platforms continues to grow, making the biggest brands in gaming available to people who see no value in a $400 box makes a great deal of sense.

"I think the traditional gamer market - which has high standards - does broaden. But the only way you actually see a step function change in that is to pull the console out of the equation, and make it open to people who can't afford or won't buy a console," Pachter said.

"I think this shift to full-game digital downloads, where everybody has the opportunity to play a game without having to invest $399 is a huge opportunity. It's an opportunity for everyone in the value chain, except the retailer and maybe the console manufacturer."

GamesIndustry.biz attended DICE Europe as a guest of the organiser. As a part of that arrangement, attendance, travel and accommodation costs were covered by the organiser.

From GamesIndustry.biz Recommendations by Taboola

33 Comments

Martin Echenique Manager, Online Engineering - Sony WWS Online Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

8 10 1.3
Popular Comment
And then I read this...

http://www.wired.com/2009/06/pachter/

... and I'm not quite sure whether I should laugh or weep.

Posted:11 months ago

#1

Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist

42 164 3.9
The story you linked gets far more right than it gets wrong.

The Wii continued selling well into 2011, even if it didn't dominate to the same degree. The Wii sold so well in its early years that the reduced performance of 2011 was still quite respectable.

Did the Xbox 360 and PS3 still have room for massive growth in 2009? Yes, they did. Xbox 360 sales peaked in 2010 - 2011. And the console cycle last generation was 8 years for MS and seven for Sony, up significantly from just 5 years. Since most AAA titles still shipped for PS3 and Xbox One into 2014, you could make a reasonable argument that the last-gen cycle stretched to 9 and 8 years respectively.

"Pachter disagrees with the “commonly held misperception that consoles can only support software sales growth for a five-year period, and that current generation console software sales will drop dramatically in 2010.”

That's true.

"he sees Nintendo releasing what he calls “Wii Plus” — a Wii with graphics more on par with 360 and PS3, to make it easier for game publishers to port games between all three consoles."

Again, more right than wrong. The Wii U packs a touch less CPU power and a bit more GPU than the Xbox 360 and PS3. Ports between the genres didn't materialize in the same fashion because Sony and MS were already moving forward with next-gen plans, but the Wii U's launch and third-party titles have often been Xbox 360 and PS3 games.

If you're asking if he got every last claim correct, no, of course not. But as a general roadmap for what actually happened in the industry, I'd say that Wired article is pretty darn good.

Posted:11 months ago

#2

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

490 219 0.4
Popular Comment
Why do people even listen to Michael Pachter anymore...

Posted:11 months ago

#3

Reza Ghavami Marketing Analyst, NVIDIA

34 22 0.6
...because he wears an untucked dress shirt that hasn't been pressed in a decade.

Posted:11 months ago

#4

James Ingrams Writer

222 95 0.4
What worries me is how every game has some online capacity, and that means short life, as when the sales die, so the servers will close down and the game will be useless. And I don't think the industry understands how fickle a gaming consumer is going to be when you can ONLY buy digital!

Posted:11 months ago

#5

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

434 1,175 2.7
Popular Comment
Cheap, ubiquitous hardware that circumvents console walled gardens and people will buy full price games on in rapidly growing numbers?

Amazing, Pachter has predicted the PC.

Posted:11 months ago

#6

Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today

110 46 0.4
Popular Comment
@Robin Clarke:

Your comment is amusing and based in some fact,but the part of paying full price is a problem on PC. Steam sales, GOG's season sales, Humble Bundle, etc. drive a lot of units sold, but at substantial discount. To the point people buy games they never play because the cost and product have become disposable and they have no vested interest to give that product a fair try. That is not a good thing.

It also has created the mentality that their is no value or very limited value in most games. As for having IOS and Android boxes, well, those ecosystems have driven a race to the bottom, and I don't see how a larger consumer base who picks up their iPhone or Android phone only willing to pay $1 for a game will suddenly look at their.Apple apps and Android games apps on the TV while still connected to their phone and think, yeah $60 is fair and reasonable. I see it more as "my IOS game is $60? WTF?! LOL!. No. Put Clash of Clans and Angry Birds up the my TV."

Though a walled garden does have drawbacks it also has positives. Generally speaking the games on XBL, PSN and Nintendo eShop are of higher quality and you can make a premium game on consoles and get the premium value for your product. And sales will come along, but not as often or as dramatically.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jason Sartor on 21st September 2015 6:37pm

Posted:11 months ago

#7

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

511 1,279 2.5
Popular Comment
just ridiculous that anyone listens to this guy. First off , new generations of game players are still coming up replacing dying generation of non game players. It will still be another gen or two until all generations are game players, at that point you may start seeing some slow down ( although with emerging markets still coming online who knows).
Next VR is about to change everything. How fast will it grab and change everything? thats a million dollar question, but the point is, its a when not if question.

Consoles arent going anywhere, PCs arent going anywhere, mobile is not going anywhere. They will all continue to grow and flourish in a world getting more tech savvy by the year.
The only thing that could damage sales for awhile at least, is the next currency/debt crisis that could create a world wide recession, but that is outside of the industries hands so you just keep plugging away and hope for the best.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 21st September 2015 9:09pm

Posted:11 months ago

#8

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

2,013 2,346 1.2
It also has created the mentality that their is no value or very limited value in most games.
Don't wanna go off topic, but... Blah. Generalisations, man. You could argue that PC/Mobile has created this mentality. Or you could argue that because PC games are so plentiful and discounted so often, that people are far more adept at choosing how to spend their time gaming. Sure, I've got 800 Steam games I bought on a whim or got in a bundle and not gonna play, but the 300 other games I do play here-and-there, I love to bits.
I don't see how a larger consumer base who picks up their iPhone or Android phone only willing to pay $1 for a game will suddenly look at their.Apple apps and Android games apps on the TV while still connected to their phone and think, yeah $60 is fair and reasonable.
But then there's the games that cost $5/10/12/15 on mobile, and seem to sell decently. The Hitman GOs, the Final Fantasy remakes, etc. It's audience expectations, is the thing... Which is not to say definitively you're wrong about mobile gamers wanting to pay 60 bucks for an Amazon Fire CoD release, but rather, the market is varied - without Apple and Amazon making a play for it, no-one'll know. What's the term cinemas use for selling more product? Upselling? Gaming set-top boxes could turn out to be the same concept.

I know people are down on the idea, but this is why I'm really curious to see how Steam Machines/Steam Link play-out. The Link especially could end up competing in the same market as Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

Posted:11 months ago

#9

Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist

42 164 3.9
First off , new generations of game players are still coming up replacing dying generation of non game players.

True, but ancillary to the point. Those kids are being born to gaming parents, which means they take up gaming on the home system(s). And yes, I'm certain this will generate *some* sales, because maybe you have a Nintendo for the kids and a PS4 for the family. But it's not the same as recruiting entirely new households. You're selling into the same families that exist today.

Although with emerging markets still coming online who knows.

It's not clear if the Chinese and Indian markets will be cracked by Sony, MS, and Nintendo, or if they'll adopt homegrown technologies and solutions. It's also not clear if consoles are the best way to open these spaces to start with. Once upon a time, it was assumed that the developing world would get online primarily through PCs, just like the developed world had. In reality, the developing world has leapfrogged the traditional PC model and gone straight for mobile devices. Pachter is talking about the conventional console market having hit its peak, and there's no evidence he's wrong. An exploding gaming market in India or China only disproves his point if it explodes and a conventional console manufacturer is the recipient of those new sales.

Next VR is about to change everything. How fast will it grab and change everything? thats a million dollar question, but the point it, its a when not if question.

I love VR. I think VR is amazing. I also think VR is highly content-dependent and has a number of uncomfortable parallels with 3D. Like 3D, it requires glasses and expensive intervening technology. Like 3D, it can cause nausea. Like 3D, it requires game developers to understand it and take advantage of it, even when that means adopting new types of gaming conventions or inventing new approaches to gaming.

I think the upside on VR is much larger than 3D ever was, but that doesn't mean half-assed ports and bad games can't sink it just as dead. VR will flourish if and only if excellent titles push it -- and lots of them. If that doesn't happen, it'll join a host of other must-have fads that were absolutely going to revolutionize the entire gaming industry, right up until they died.

Consoles arent going anywhere, PCs arent going anywhere, mobile is not going anywhere. They will all continue to grow and flourish in a world getting more tech savvy by the year.

The question isn't whether or not these technologies are "going" somewhere, but whether or not they will be the dominant paradigm that shapes the entire industry, or if they will be one of many platforms and experiences that game developers target when they build their titles. History suggests the latter.

Posted:11 months ago

#10

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

511 1,279 2.5
True, but ancillary to the point. Those kids are being born to gaming parents, which means they take up gaming on the home system(s). And yes, I'm certain this will generate *some* sales, because maybe you have a Nintendo for the kids and a PS4 for the family. But it's not the same as recruiting entirely new households. You're selling into the same families that exist today.
simply not true. Did your grandparents play and own systems? Well I look around now and guys my age are grandparents,a nd we have lots of disposable income, and we have all sorts of consoles and gaming systems. So yes, new gens are new, and the older gens are still playing. so it adds entire new gen of gamers. When I was a kid, kid played games. Then it was kids and young adults. Then kids, young adults, and adults. AND now its kids, young adults, adults, and middle aged..and so on, still has about 2 gens left til every gen is gamers

I love VR. I think VR is amazing. I also think VR is highly content-dependent and has a number of uncomfortable parallels with 3D. I couldnt disagree more. 3D bored just about everyone that saw it. It never wowed anyone. 3D and VR arent ANYTHING alike. People see and saw 3d and said, meh. People see and play VR and ask,"where do I get that" HUGE difference. Night and day.

Pachter is talking about the conventional console market having hit its peak, and there's no evidence he's wrong.
Please, this gen has outsold the last gen, so the trend ( which is everything when talking about predictions) shows of evidence that consoles are not hitting a peak at all.

but whether or not they will be the dominant paradigm that shapes the entire industry, the top tech is what leads the industry. The top games in each shape the industry. Games are about pushing the envelope, pushing tech, and creating new experiences. Game rigs and consoles are going to be leading the way for quite some time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 21st September 2015 9:21pm

Posted:11 months ago

#11

Justin Biddle Software Developer

189 537 2.8
Nurse he's out of bed again! Didn't he predict that this current console cycle would fall flat on its face?

Seriously though. I assume he must make a lot of analysed predictions that are later proven true that we don't hear about as they're not headline worthy. Otherwise I have to seriously question why someone would hire him for analysis. Not that these more publicised headline grabbing statements act as good advert for him when they go belly up

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 21st September 2015 11:36pm

Posted:11 months ago

#12

Curtis Turner Game Developer - Monsters of War

21 8 0.4
Basically what's happening is TV/Monitors are converging. With HDMI being the standard now. TV's are also eliminating the need to hook something into it, as it's already got a "Computer", "Console", or "Cell" inside of it. It's going to take a while for that, five, ten years, to twenty++...

The next thing that's happening is "Computers", "Consoles", and "Cells" are converging. You're going to have the big screens and the small screens communicating with each other.

Now we're at the stage were more companies will battle for the big screens' / little screens' audiences. And why wouldn't they? Hardware and Software will become more integrated and connected, with all companies having their Operating System become default among all their devices. Microsoft, Google, Apple, Valve, Nintendo, Sony, Amazon, and whoever are all entering the "Console" / "Cell" spaces... We're going to have more consoles and console gamers than ever before.

But first most of the world will be getting cells. At some point, they'll upgrade to a console.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Curtis Turner on 22nd September 2015 4:31am

Posted:11 months ago

#13

Paul Ledbury News Editor / Writer, TheSixthAxis

5 17 3.4
Coincidentally I'm putting together a quiz for our 200th podcast, and one section is Pachter quotes. In the past he has said:

"I expect you’ll be paying $99 for the [Xbox One] console with a cable TV subscription"
"PC gaming is becoming a declining industry because you can get a near PC experience on a console."
"Microsoft will win Next Generation, Sony playing catch up"
"Apple will release a console"
"Xbox Live subscriptions will double in cost to $100 a year"
"The UK games retail market is a joke. The absence of GameStop and the demise of GAME limits the ability of consumers to trade in used games, depriving many of credits that can be used to purchase new games"
"Sony’s new console will feature graphics chips and processors capable of rendering games at 240 frames a second"
"Publishers are wimps"

Bless him.

Posted:11 months ago

#14

Andrew Spearin Creative Director, New World Interactive

5 4 0.8
No mention of Steam machines? That's the sleeping giant that could disrupt living room consoles. Not only can the hardware be cheaper (or more expensive), the library of unique, cheaper indie games is more extensive than what Sony and Microsoft will offer. Plus, of course, the seasonal sale cycle will bring down the price of cross-platform games.

Posted:11 months ago

#15

Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist

42 164 3.9
I couldnt disagree more. 3D bored just about everyone that saw it. It never wowed anyone. 3D and VR arent ANYTHING alike. People see and saw 3d and said, meh. People see and play VR and ask,"where do I get that" HUGE difference. Night and day.

I never said VR was just like 3D. I said VR faces many of the same challenges that *sank* 3D. While I agree that the upside on VR is better than the 3D upside ever was, bad VR content (or a lack of VR content, period) will sink VR gaming. And like 3D, VR requires expensive peripherals for peak performance. Like 3D, VR isolates the viewer away from the game, turning an immersive communal experience into an individualized one.

None of this means VR won't succeed, but it *does* mean VR developers need to look long and hard at the content they try to bring to market and how effective it is at capturing the experience people want without any of the nausea or other side effects.

Posted:11 months ago

#16

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

212 303 1.4
I don't see why people are so up in arms about Pachter's comments, the last generation shrank if you discount or certainly minimize the Wii sales that went to people who never bought a console before and never would again. The PC is not a "cheap" alternative to anything. Streaming boxes, tablets, there's a myriad of ways of people coming into games that are far cheaper than a console experience. New generations of gamers are replacing the former generation but they aren't doing it on consoles necessarily, the average age of the console owner has been going up, not down, there's no stigma whatsoever today about making an M rated game because the vast majority of our audience are 17+ ; in the PS2 days it was the kiss of death.

I don't think consoles are going anywhere, the PS4 is doing very well despite an almost complete lack of a killer app. But to say the audience isn't limited is ridiculous. There may be 250m people willing to plonk down a big chunk of change on a dedicated gaming box over the course of a decade, there certainly isn't going to be 500m or 1bn ; the next revolution will come, consoles will become more like tablets/phones and tablets and phones will be capable of mirroring a traditional console - the controller remains the biggest stumbling block.

Andrew - Steam machines, really??? Didn't they bomb conceptually already?

Posted:11 months ago

#17

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

2,013 2,346 1.2
The PC is not a "cheap" alternative to anything.
6000 games on Steam, 23% of those are playable on Linux. Summer and Winter sales, plus smaller themed sales throughout the year. Backwards compatibility as standard, with classic games from years ago being updated for modern PCs. Also, Steamplay (buy once, play on Windows+Mac+Linux).

If you just look at hardware, no, PC is not "cheaper". But if you look at the whole thing - from software catalogue to accessories - it is so much cheaper as to be shocking. I still cannot believe that your Average Joe on the street accepts that the PS3 games they bought even 2 years ago can't be played on anything but a PS3. My wife (who has a Steam account) was shocked (and actually a little appalled) when I told her the digital PSN games we bought on the PS3 weren't compatible on a PS4.
Andrew - Steam machines, really??? Didn't they bomb conceptually already?
Only with the people who have the know-how and patience to build their own. Much like Dells and HPs have "bombed" with gamers, but not with your average family or parent.

(omg, so many typos. :'( )

Edited 6 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 22nd September 2015 5:20pm

Posted:11 months ago

#18

Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist

42 164 3.9
Steam OS and Steam machines have bombed as a distinct product category, yes. Steam itself hasn't bombed, and Valve is supposedly putting heavy support behind Vulkan. We'll see where that goes in the future.

Posted:11 months ago

#19

Anthony Chan

147 187 1.3
@Todd ... Where are the figures to back up that console sales of this generation are trending to beat last generation? All the financials I have seen point out otherwise.

Ladies & Gents, the trend that Pachter is pointing at is not rocket science. Albeit Pachter's personality, bravado, and showboating do make it hard to digest what he is saying, the general trend that underlines his statements is true.

Gaming is progressing with 2 hard trends that are really hard to dispute. Majority of gaming is in some ways or another ONLINE - whether through playing socially, getting DLC or patches, to microtransactions and such. The other trend that is not disputable is that games are going mobile. Gaming used to be a hobby tied to a location. Now it's very much mobile. With these 2 trends, general consumers of games are not going to want to roll back these changes. If consoles do not find a way for their consumers to bring their game anywhere, they will slowly trudge towards their grave (not immediate, maybe 10-20 years out)? The console we know from before; will definitely end after this generation. But Sony, MS, and Nintendo are well aware of these consumer behavior trends, and its a matter of time they will adapt their delivery of gaming products to match the trends.

EDIT: also mind you, I feel Pachter often speaks without indicating the trends he refers to is for the AAA side of the business. Yes there are ripple effects that will touch the indie ecosphere, however not as in insult, the indie ecosphere is not exactly where the money is at for most investors. For most investors, understanding the trend will make them think whether, Activision, EA, MS, Sony, etc are as strong investment portfolio choices within their industry sub-group. Those who derive the majority of their income from producing AAA titles for consoles, given their initial investment and cost, may find smaller profit margins and growth potential - simply put.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Anthony Chan on 22nd September 2015 5:27pm

Posted:11 months ago

#20

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

212 303 1.4
Morville - I don't discount your "cost once in the eco-system" analysis, but that initial cost is very high and generally not understood by the mass market - and that's just the starting point, try telling them they need to then go to this thing called "Steam" and install that and then set up accounts and, oh my, that wasn't in any manual.

Posted:11 months ago

#21

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

2,013 2,346 1.2
Heh, true. :) Which is why I think people saying Steam Machines have bombed are getting ahead of themselves, especially considering they haven't officially released yet. Alienware's Alpha (an "unofficial Steam Machine") uses Windows and a custom console-style UI to boot you to Steam's Big Picture UI. If every Steam Machine can do that, then you've just made the average consumer's journey to Steam as simple as signing up for an email account. (Here: http://gizmodo.com/alienware-alpha-review-close-but-no-game-console-1662525995 Though the review has issues, they're not insurmountable. )

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 22nd September 2015 5:45pm

Posted:11 months ago

#22

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

434 1,175 2.7
The PC is not a "cheap" alternative to anything. Streaming boxes, tablets, there's a myriad of ways of people coming into games that are far cheaper than a console experience.
But not capable of playing the same games. Pachter seems to be talking about where the console franchises like CoD and GTA go. Given that publishers weren't willing to deal with the aggravation of downporting their games to the Wii (a 100m-selling platform with $60+ games), what chance is there of them making games for STBs and tablets with weedy GPUs, limited storage, extreme fragmentation and users who bought them solely for video?

You can buy an entry level Windows 10 tablet for £199. A prebuilt gaming desktop that is all but guaranteed to play any console port for the next few years is not much more than £500. The myth that PCs are too expensive or difficult for mainstream users went away about five years ago. Which is why multiplatform games aren't treating the PC as an afterthought any more. That genie is out of the bottle now.

I can see the effective duopoly for big-ticket games of PC/PS4 sticking around for ten years.

Posted:11 months ago

#23

Paul Shirley Programmers

213 189 0.9
DIY Steam machines may yet take off. The SoC powering XB1 and PS4 is woefully underpowered compared to a gaming PC. That's because the SoC is aimed at low compute power devices like cheap laptops and £200 PCs, it's inevitable before the console cycle ends a £200 laptop built around a newer SoC will outperfom the consoles. The peripherals gamers actually use (ie not Kinect) already work on Windows, it's easy to believe Steam laptops (or tablets) could replace this gens consoles.

Win10's XBox support suggests Microsoft wouldn't have much problem switching to PC gaming rather than continue with a division they don't seem to want.

Convergence in the hardware built into PC, consoles and mobile is most likely to kill consoles. Rapid innovation out evolving the consoles long life cycles.

Posted:11 months ago

#24

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

212 303 1.4
Yeah but Morville how is a Steam Machine not anything but a REALLY expensive console. :)

Posted:11 months ago

#25

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

511 1,279 2.5
New generations of gamers are replacing the former generation but they aren't doing it on consoles necessarily, the average age of the console owner has been going up, not down,
as you would expect as more generations of gamers continue to play. Think about the math. Use to be 5 to 15 years old played, Then 5 to 25, then 5 to 35, now 5 to 50+, of course the average age is going up and its good and healthy trend.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 22nd September 2015 7:43pm

Posted:11 months ago

#26

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

2,013 2,346 1.2
Yeah but Morville how is a Steam Machine not anything but a REALLY expensive console. :)
notsureifserious.jpeg. :p

Seriously though, it's actually not "REALLY expensive". When you can get an Alienware Alpha for little more than a PS4 was when it was initially released, then arguments of ease-of-use and software library (both cost and size-of) take precedence over cost of hardware. :) (At least, as a consumer they do.)

Which, of course, doesn't argue against the line-of-thought that consoles are dead, except when you consider what I initially posted. Things that hold back traditional consoles are things like a lack of backwards compatibility (so their end-date is roughly set-in-stone), and cost of accessories...

Just like mobiles are attractive to consumers because of playing anywhere and little-to-no accessory cost, I believe the idea of a software library that can be played anywhere 20 years hence and games that can use a £2 mouse, £3 microphone and £5 keyboard (or just a £40 controller and mic) is attractive to the consumer. This is why I think Steam Machines should neither be discounted, nor talked about in the same way as "traditional consoles".

Allllllllllllll imo, of course. :)

Edited 7 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 22nd September 2015 8:06pm

Posted:11 months ago

#27

Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist

42 164 3.9
That's because the SoC is aimed at low compute power devices like cheap laptops and £200 PCs

It's really not that simple. The GPUs inside the Xbox One and PS4 were themselves more than $200 when the consoles were new. The Xbox One uses a quad-channel DDR3 memory interface that you can't buy on any PC unless you jump for Intel's most expensive platform, while Sony went with GDDR5 -- again, something you can't purchase.

It's true that the Jaguar CPUs that power both consoles were designed for low-power devices, but that's also why features like asynchronous computing were supposed to be important to both the PS4 and Xbox One once the latter adopts DX12.

I don't doubt that you're correct -- by the time this console cycle is over, console hardware will have been outclassed by relatively low-cost PC hardware. But that's been true for a very long time. Maybe that crossover point will happen a year or two earlier than it might have otherwise, but that timing is a function of neither MS nor Sony wanting to lose buckets of money out of the gate.

Posted:11 months ago

#28

Caleb Hale Journalist

175 284 1.6
"How many people would play Grand Theft Auto if you didn't need a console? 100 million. It's crazy numbers. This just makes so much sense. It is going to happen."
Aren't Grand Theft Auto III and San Andreas available on iOS and Android? Has it significantly upped the number of people who played those titles from their days on the PlayStation 2?

Posted:11 months ago

#29

Al Nelson Producer, Tripwire Interactive

50 78 1.6
Console, set top box, tomAto, tomato...

Posted:11 months ago

#30

Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,183 1,977 1.7
the PS4 is doing very well despite a complete lack of a killer app.
Fixed that for you. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sony has proven that games do not always sell hardware. There's a decent amount of games(cross gen and current gen alike) on the system at this point but nobody I know who has a PS4 can cite any already released first party game for the reason they picked up the system or why others should pick up the system and we are just shy of the two year mark. People are waiting for the big releases that aren't due until the next few years(Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII remake, etc) and yet still felt compelled to buy the system while waiting for them.

The reason this is so bizarre isn't because the PS4 it outselling the other two systems but because it's outselling them at a pace so unusual that a casual outsider could easily be mislead to believe that the PS4 has the greatest game line up of all time which couldn't be any further from the truth. Even Sony themselves last year said they have no clue why the PS4 is selling so well:

http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/20/sony-doesnt-know-why-the-ps4-is-doing-well/

I don't know either but it's definitely not because of their current first party exclusives.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 23rd September 2015 3:16am

Posted:11 months ago

#31

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,150 1,271 1.1
"Console games shouldn't require a console."

I rather have PC games not requiring a PC. Each time I have to upgrade my wallet cries bitter tears.

Posted:11 months ago

#32

Adam Campbell Product Executive, Hopster

1,440 1,501 1.0
The PC is not a "cheap" alternative to anything. Streaming boxes, tablets, there's a myriad of ways of people coming into games that are far cheaper than a console experience.
People buy tablets and streaming boxes which just happen to enable gaming experiences. Hence, a cheap, incidental entry into gaming. What about people who buy Laptops and PCs that also just happen to offer gaming?

PC gaming, should be considered a cheap entry point, as many people have these or buy them before even considering a console for dedicated gaming. Just like they buy tablets.

What becomes really interesting (and its something I remarked on a while back), the improvement rate of integrated graphics and processing performance is quite alarming in the computer space. Many people have devices which are more powerful than the 360 AND PS3 put together without even noticing, because Intel literally had free space on the CPU die to put graphics logic. We're getting to a point where your cheap Laptop not only happens to enable gaming, but will also happen to offer half the power of an Xbox one at no extra cost. Eventually the same power.

There's already a huge market of millions playing recent games on their computers with no additional spend, and with the growth of digital and platforms like Steam, along with the trend I mentioned above in architecture, I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more people default to their computer before thinking about custom builds or even consoles.

Posted:11 months ago

#33

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