Can PS4 and Xbox One save console gaming?

We speak with industry veterans about the console sales slump in recent years, if innovation has been a problem, and what next-gen will do for business

2013 hasn't painted a pretty picture for the retail sales of console games. With the exception of the big lift the industry received from GTA V's record-setting launch, generating $1 billion in just three days, console game sales have been consistently down. In fact, there have been nine straight quarters of decline in the video game business.

Over the next two weeks, both the PS4 and Xbox One will finally launch, but will new platforms really change the business? Is the slump just the result of consumers growing tired of the eight-year-old console generation? Is the industry suffering from an emphasis on sequels at the expense of innovation? Have smartphones and tablets fundamentally undermined the market for set-top box gaming?

GameStop president Tony Bartel thinks new consoles will bring about the innovations in gaming that the industry needs. Bartel recently blamed a lack of innovation for the current consoles' declines, and he's incredibly encouraged by what Xbox One and PS4 bring to the table. But veterans GamesIndustry International spoke with appeared to be split on whether new consoles will really boost sales.

"There will always be those kinds of gamers that just relish the bleeding edge technology. For them, they're right. That's enough for them to pull the trigger on...a new console. But I don't think that's enough of a customer base to really explain the lack of financial success that we're seeing in the console space right now," said God of War and Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe.

"I think they'll be impressive, cool consoles and I'm excited to play them as a gamer, but I think the days of the traditional console are on the way out"

David Jaffe

"So I don't think seeing another batch of specialized hardware is going to move the needle in any permanent way that's going to rectify what's not a technological problem. It's a business model problem and it's a creativity problem and it's a fundamental structure problem in terms of the way the industry itself is set up when it comes to decisions that are made for certain games and things like that."

The variety of platforms at gamers' fingertips now makes the decision to purchase a new console that much harder for the average person. The hardcore will always invest in a high-end PC rig or the newest, most powerful console, but that's not the case for the masses.

"I think we're going to see a huge chunk taken out of the pie for console sales [going forward]. I think they'll be impressive, cool consoles and I'm excited to play them as a gamer, but I think the days of the traditional console are on the way out," Jaffe continued. "I think a lot of the people who bought a console this generation or last generation are getting the same meal for substantially less cost on mobile, tablets or on PC with things like Steam and a lot more interesting games and price points. And there are things like Minecraft - people in the past who would have gone out and bought a console in year one are probably just fine playing stuff like Minecraft at this point."

Tony Goodman, founder of Ensemble Studios (which Microsoft shut down) and mobile studio PeopleFun, largely agrees with Jaffe. At the end of the day, there are only so many entertainment dollars to go around, especially in a difficult economy.


Just a few more days until PS4 launches...

"New consoles will always drive a short term spike in game sales. The bigger issue for consoles is the increasing competition for entertainment dollars from other devices," he noted. "It's much like the way the TV network market changed with channel competition introduced by cable and satellite TV. ABC, CBS, and NBC were the places you went to see high quality television just like you used to go to your Xbox, PS3, or Wii for the newest and best gaming experience."

"Many niche networks sprung up that didn't spend money like the big networks but they created innovative and focused experiences for television and drew viewers away from the big networks. Some of those smaller networks have gone on to produce incredibly high quality television such as The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc. The disruption in television continues today as many are leaving the satellite and cable providers because they can essentially create their own narrowcasted network using Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV and other services."

"The game industry is progressing down a similar path. The vast majority of revenue in consoles comes from sequels," Goodman continued, referring to the problems we've seen with innovation in AAA. "Most of the innovation is occurring in the mobile and PC market where it's possible to produce a hit game with a smaller budget. Mobile and social games have dramatically increased the number of 'gamers' and also increased the amount of time spent playing games since they can be played almost anytime and anywhere... It will change even more in the future as gamers expect all their games to live in the cloud and they want to be able to play them on whatever screen they have handy."

But perhaps we're getting too hung up on what innovation means. There's nothing wrong with becoming obsessed with a top franchise and wanting more of the same with just some moderate improvements, commented one industry veteran of more than 20 years, who wished to remain anonymous for this story.

"I personally fall in love with some franchises and can't wait for the sequel. (Like I'm genuinely sad Microsoft stopped making Flight Simulator, even after version TEN!) So in a weird way I want games like FIFA and Battlefield to continue to get better; the innovation comes in making it feel 'new' and fresh, just like when Apple releases new iPhones. The upgrades need to be tangible, then I'm OK with that," he said.

With so many entertainment options available now, however, quality is more important than ever before. If a game is only average or slightly above average, consumers will move on in a heartbeat to something else that captivates them.

"I feel there's an abundance of things now to grab my entertainment time; the game and its messaging needs to capture us more quickly than ever before. To be clear with so much choice now, if a game isn't well made, people just move on, time is too valuable. Time really is valuable, it's why time based items (saving your time) are always the number-one selling micro-transaction," the industry veteran said. "If too many games look like everything else, then it's not surprising sales are down. You should urge developers to look at what they are making. If it's leading a category or genre then great. If it's looking like lots of other games and isn't leading any genre or category then it's time to pivot."

For Seamus Blackley, co-creator of the original Xbox and a former agent of Creative Artists Agency, it would be wrong to point fingers at the development community for any perceived lack of innovation.


Xbox One ships a week after PS4

"Developers are really creative. It's not like developers have suddenly become stupid. But developers are also frustrated because a lot of people have great ideas. People with great track records have great ideas. People with no track records have tremendous ideas. The guys at ThatGameCompany. They were students... I think people probably believe that developers have a lot more choice than they do in bringing new ideas to light," he said, pointing out that business becomes restricting.

"Most developers have two or three really cool things they want to make, and the question is how? If the analysts and guys running the publishing business, and any sort of game financiers, don't feel comfortable or like there's a business behind taking a bit of risk at that time, then they won't. And those ideas will stay on the shelf. So that's the situation we're in now," he lamented.

But whereas Jaffe and others are somewhat pessimistic about consoles, Blackley sees reason to hope. The new consoles will lead to new business and support new ideas, he believes, and on that front, he agrees with GameStop's Bartel. The new consoles will give the suits an excuse to try out more interesting, creative ideas that the developers are looking to push out there.

"The train track that I got held down to when I realized I wanted to see this Xbox platform happen was that I had to abandon a lot of preconceptions I had about a lot of this stuff - which was, if you want the cool, innovative stuff to happen, somebody somewhere has to put in a terrific amount of business funding in order to enable it to happen. And it's exhausting," he said. "What I discovered is that the reason there wasn't a lot of innovation way back then in the '90s wasn't what I thought. It wasn't because developers weren't creative, or people didn't have enough ideas or opportunities, or the technology didn't exist to bring those ideas to life. That stuff's all a challenge, but the fact is, to make something innovative requires cash. It requires a financial opportunity to take some risks."

Ultimately, Blackley believes that the new consoles will create that financial opportunity. It's what new consoles do best, he said.

" the last 10 years, development costs have probably gone up 30x... you're squeezing more and more out of less and less, and that's really challenging if you're a smaller developer"

Alex Hutchinson

"Consoles are not about the television. They're not about high performance. They're not about having a consistent controller or any of those things. Those are true, but that's not the heart of the matter. And this is where there's an underground reality that people don't think about. What they're really about is providing a stable economic base that lets you take risks on games," he explained. "So we have seen all sorts of big innovation in gameplay on consoles. And sure, we've seen a lot of derivative stuff as well because it's expensive. It's a hard business. But it has been safe within that environment to take risks."

"Sometimes those risks are taken by first parties. Sometimes they're taken by third parties. But we've seen whole new genres erupt on the console that wouldn't have happened other places where there wasn't a defined, semi-safe business model that was clearly managed in sort of a walled garden way. So you think of Guitar Hero, Gears of War, or any of the console models that are innovative and have driven a lot of the industry, those were possible because the business behind them was possible. And that business was possible because these players, the console providers, created this safe baseline business model."

New consoles in and of themselves, however, aren't going to magically solve problems with innovation and industry growth. "What we need is the next generation of business infrastructure to make [innovation] possible. And iOS isn't doing a great job at that. There needs to be new excitement injected into the console world to provide more infrastructure for that to happen," Blackley pointed out.

Something definitely needs to happen on consoles to support a business other than massive AAA titles. Perhaps Sony's indie push and the ID@Xbox program will make a difference, but so far consoles have become tough places to survive for smaller studios. It's unfortunately led to a loss of the mid-level game, said Alex Hutchinson, creative director at Ubisoft Montreal

"If you talk about big AAA or traditional console games, I think it's the loss of the middle, the loss of the solid B title. And that's a shame because there's a lot of unusual stuff there in the past. But it's because the cost of development has gone up astronomically. If you think about it, in the last 10 years, development costs have probably gone up 30x, but the cost to the consumer has remained the same. So you're squeezing more and more out of less and less, and that's really challenging if you're a smaller developer," he noted.

Maybe in the end, the concerns about the future of consoles and whether these new systems spark sales is irrelevant. After all, it's the games that matter, and those will live on any platform.

"Big hits have never sold more than they do today, and indies have never been as prominent before. Today is the boom of that," Hutchinson said. "I feel like we're focusing on a very narrow window and saying it's all...going down. Games are so wide now. It's on your phone, your handheld device, your TV, my mom's playing on Facebook. It's so big now. It's bigger than it's ever been. It's come out of the bedroom, so to speak."

While consoles can no longer hog the spotlight, the bottom line is that games and the business around them will continue to grow and evolve. As our anonymous industry veteran said, "I think we need to stop worrying about the games business, it's growing constantly, there's more people playing games now than ever before and money is made in so many ways, in so many countries that are not made public. The amount of teams the industry is funding is growing exponentially and so it's not surprising that the overall wealth of the industry is becoming more distributed. I believe there's plenty of money out there if you do something innovative."

Latest comments (37)

Ralph Tricoche Studying MA, CUNY6 years ago
The way I see it after we experience another crash as we did in 1983, the only game in town that can offer us any semblance of Triple A quality will be Nintendo. In fact. The more "advanced" games seem to be getting the more they seem to be coming back home to Nintendo.
All you hear about is how costs are skyrocketing and how the little indie devs are taking risks and making the kinds of games folks want to play. Who will be better positioned to capitalize on that than Nintendo?
I cant think of anyone else.
Things go in cycles.
These new consoles have not demonstrated "why" it was necessary for them to exist other than higher fidelity. As far as I am concerned Nintendo had it right with the WiiU. All you need is tighter code, and fun games. The rest takes care of itself.
Not super-hyper realistic graphics or enough juice to power NYC. What are we playing exactly?
Better shooter? Thats was boring after COD 4 was released.
(The irony being of course that its the shooter that keeps families fed and devs employed)

Expect a crash and then a renaissance when we all slap our foreheads and realize chasing dollars was the wring way to go about this.
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Who knows what will happen, but it's true that the problem with consoles is AAA - the cost, the lack of risk, the same-ness of all the games, AAA is the area of our business most under threat of a crash. And if AAA publishers don't address these issues, I'm not sure it will be a bad thing for their business to be destroyed, because they will get to start again but chastened, smarter and with a new appreciation of what the audience deserves. It was Nintendo who rebooted gaming last time around by offering a new vision. It would help if we stopped peddling the same old stuff to the same tired, abused gamers.
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Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes6 years ago
Trouble is Ralph the only people who make money out of Nintendo (by and large) are Nintendo.

I don't foresee any crash happening, but this generation will shrink the market just as the last one has. Unless Microsoft and Sony can offer a reason for a non-gamer to buy one of these pricey boxes it will just continue the shift across to mobile/tablet platforms.
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Show all comments (37)
Thomas Kennedy Unemployed (Seeking work) 6 years ago
Honestly I think that with a lack of innovation gaming as a whole will slowly grind to a halt, if a developers goal is to make as much money then what easier way then to make sequals? thats why we get a new COD every year because developers are able to get away with it most of the time.

However if we look back to when SEGA and Nintendo were top dogs, sure they're were sequels in key franchises but you also had large amounts of creativity and innovation put into most of their games. The video game industry in itself is a creative industry and if developers don't try to be creative it becomes stale, Lets look at the crash of 83 for example, Atari at that point was trying to just pump games out and assuming brand loyalty will win them through no matter how bad or how lacking in creative material it was, as a result we had the crash.

While its understandable that developers don't want to take risks the fact that Indies have had a massive explosion in the last few years for taking those risks and AAA titles sales dropping is pointing a lot of fingers to the fact that players want less of the same and more of the new which developers are afraid to do.

Can the PS4 and Xbox One save Console gaming? no, can the people developing for those consoles save Console gaming? yes, its all down to the developers making those new and innovative games to keep our attention, if they don't? odds are this decline will continue until it gradually slides into another crash and if that's the case, I for one welcome our New Indie Overlords
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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext6 years ago

I agree, and disagree. The new generations of console that are coming out are not chasing dollars, they are trying to entice customers back to the business models of yesterday. Only after this has failed (and it will not be immediately clear that it has) will they then do the right thing.. and try to chase the customer, rahter than trying to lead them.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee6 years ago
Trouble is Ralph the only people who make money out of Nintendo (by and large) are Nintendo.
The Wii had at least 103 million sellers, which of course included 3rd parties. I really hope they were making some money other wise what went wrong?

I don't think its always been the case that only Nintendo can make money on their own platform.
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz6 years ago
I don't think there's any crash coming. I do think we're going to be transitioning away from what we think of traditionally as consoles. However, gaming on a big screen TV in the living room will never die. Whatever device is used - maybe a network connection on the TV itself - to get that big screen experience won't matter so much, whether it's a set top box, tablet, mini console, whatever.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up6 years ago
Consoles can save themselves by learning from Steam. Unless the adhere to the new landscape they will probably suffer. Innovations come from the indie community and the people who aren't constrained with corporate politics. If you don't make the indie market place a big part of your plans, the customers will look elsewhere. Amping up the visuals is a very low priority for gamers this time round IMO.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
"Is the slump just the result of consumers growing tired of the eight-year-old console generation?"


Blackley talks a lot of sense here. I do wonder how that traditional benefit of consoles (making a low-risk environment for big games) might work out for the Steam Box.
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Wow - we now see this topic being discussed regularly on GI.Biz!

It is difficult for many of the industry executives to see the "wood for the trees" - especially if they are part of the problem.

Fundamentally, the XBone and PS4 have a bit of a mountain to surmount to establish a strong beachhead for Gen-8. All of Q4 2013 seems to have been creating games that can play on the current architecture, linked to "just better" promises from the next gen console platform. Link this to a drive to PC's especially linked to Oculus RIFT and rumors and console developers and publishers are feeling cornered. Luckily they have stopped trying to hamstring the media from reporting the dangers!

Beyond my gripe about the censorship - the big issue is that a console Crash in 2014 could be apocalyptic, with so many independent studios down and out, the collapse of the publishing model linked with corporations like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo drawing in their horns could totally change the current gaming industry landscape for years to come - and that is why I feel there is an issue in the trade!
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Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes6 years ago
Oh I agree Christian, it'll be worse this generation, the rest of the minnow publishers will either get lucky elsewhere or crash and burn like THQ ; there's nowhere for them to go on console. Developers will either be internal or mini-publishers like the Bungie's, Epic's, Crytek's of the World. Fewer, bigger, more expensive titles - fail at your peril.
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Jordan Lund Columnist 6 years ago
I think the flaw in this premise is that console gaming is in danger. The decline in console gaming was caused by two things:

1) The decline of the Wii. Nintendo created a bubble by going after non-gaming players. This ended up selling a bunch of consoles to people who don't buy games. They were happy with their Sports game that came with it and they were happy with their gimmick games that came with extra pieces of plastic to attach to their controllers. They never bought much of anything else and they aren't buying new consoles.

The Wii bubble has ended. The bored soccer moms who came to the Wii from Beanie Babies have now moved on to other things. This doesn't indicate a collapse in the gaming market, it's the removal of an artificial bubble.

2) The previous generation was artificially extended. Console lifespans previously have only run 5 or 6 years between machines. Because of the financial crisis in 2007/2008 that made it financially impossible to launch new consoles in 2010/2011. Microsoft and Sony tried to artificially extend the life of their consoles by introducing Kinect and Move respectively, but by 2013, the next generation was over-due by at least 3 years.

The declines of the past 2 years for non-Nintendo consoles would have been negated if the next generation had been able to come out in 2010/2011 as was originally thought.

Gaming isn't in trouble. We're just seeing a return to the normal state of being for consoles.
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David Serrano Freelancer 6 years ago
@Thomas Kennedy
Can the PS4 and Xbox One save Console gaming? no, can the people developing for those consoles save Console gaming? yes, its all down to the developers making those new and innovative games to keep our attention...
Exactly. But to save console gaming, development teams and business execs must acknowledge the goal of future innovations can't continue be to keep the attention of, or to placate the pool of approx. 30 million console players who now account for practically all core games sales. The goal must be to increase levels of the levels of interest and engagement with everyone else. So the development and business focus must shift away from pleasing and retaining the hardcore, and back onto pleasing and retaining the core. Which means realigning the overall purpose, focus, tone and direction of the games with what the average person in the existing and potential audience defines as play, and as a game. And by default, expanding the core game industry's existing definitions for what constitutes a form of play and a "real" game.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 11th November 2013 6:57pm

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Nick Wofford Hobbyist 6 years ago
Jordan, I completely agree with your assessment.

It's easy to say that consoles are in decline and mobile is exploding, but that's ignoring so many factors. Mobile is brand new, so it's that artificial bubble that you mentioned. It'll settle like anything else does. Consoles had their bubble with the Wii. Now they're getting back to normal numbers for a generation. It's nothing to be spooked about.
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Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant 6 years ago
The interesting part about this discussion is that there's a lack of other, better options.

Some years ago, when people looked at declining console game sales and innovation, the reaction was "who cares? Everything's going to be on Facebook". GDC and the Internet alike were crammed with wall-to-wall social gaming hype. Zynga was the Truth and the Light.

Then, around two years after, when Facebook and social gaming cratered and Zynga became...troubled...the conversation switched to mobile. "Who cares if we were wrong about Facebook games? iOS (and maybe Android) is the way to go! Angry Birds! Temple Run! Clash of Clans! The big money's in phones! Everybody has a phone, right??" No big deal that consoles were declining, because phones.

Now...well, we're seeing rather panicky pieces in Gamasutra, GamesIndustry and elsewhere about how nobody's making money in mobile, that the market's jammed, and that consumers have responded to that crowded market by perceiving mobile games as disposable distractions worth a buck at best. People deny it, because they've staked the farm, but the analogy to social is clear at this point.

(There's a few whales to be exploited using the standard F2P psychological tricks, but not enough to sustain an entire industry, and the problem of a lot of those "whales" being literal children is prompting platform holders to make some pretty drastic changes.) social. No mobile. Laptop manufacturers seem to be doing everything in their power to make their offerings unimpressive for gaming at the very best, which leaves out a huge percentage of non-enthusiast PCs. And the XBox One still looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

Hate to say it, but I'm starting to think the future of the industry's in Sony's hands. For better or for worse.

Me, I still miss Sega.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 6 years ago
No consoles are not on there way out. Not by a long shot. I just think the way games are made should evolve. And the reason people make games should not be to make money. Dont get me wrong, we need to make money to make more games, pay our employee's. But the reason you make games shouldnt be to make money and you should want to make money to make more games. I do not find it practicle to invest 90% of a companies economic resources in a game or product that wont sell till it is done. Nintendo for all the slack it gets has kept itself relatively small compared to its competitors. While the next mario game is getting made, the previouse older ones are still bringing in cash. Its not all $$$$$ to them. And to all honesty they have a business model that works, that can result in a few failures and nobody gets fired. Do they make as much money? Absolutly not, but do they lose alot of money? Do people get fired? not really... Yet between there own IP they will squeeze in a AAA title or two that doesnt necessarily bring the company down incase it doesnt perform well. Bleeding edge technology is great but also the minds behind the games. And Nintendo has those minds. They see the industry in a different way, which isnt necessarily creating the next big cash cow, but getting the games they want made.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
Nintendo had success by changing how we played, both mobile and on Wii.
Sony & MS had success by how many games were released compared to tightly regulated NES days.
Some games have proven it can still matter who you adress that is not a gamer (Singstar, Fitness, etc.)
Nokia made a terrible gaming phone mistake. Gaming and phones later became a new dream team for an audience.
Facebook gaming was declared dead before it laid waste to your contact list.
Minecraft was declared dead by virtually every publication before it laid waste to consumers.

I assume, you are a gamer who went along this entire ride, somebody who seeks new experiences. I present you with two choices.

Option a)
an iteration of two existing platforms with better graphics and two manufacturers having awoken to new market place realities. (by offering some f2p and digital distribution indie stuff)

Option b)
Games + Occulus Rift + Bublcam

Between being inside games and watching videos of people strapping their bublecam onto things before performing acts of insanity, previously only known from HDhero videos, there will be little left standing when it comes to the enthusiast market.
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John Scalzo Editor-In-Chief, Warp Zoned6 years ago
"Can PS4 and Xbox One save console gaming?" Shouldn't the better question be, "Is console gaming really in trouble?" According to the article, consoles have been in decline for "nine straight quarters." But where does that data come from? The NPD. And what don't they count? Online sales, rentals, and used games. While rentals and used games don't put money directly into the hands of developers, all of those sectors are doing quite well (just as Microsoft how many copies of Minecraft: Xbox 360 they've sold) and are getting games to the people.

Oh, about those used games. With an 8-year console cycle, that means there is a lot of used games out there. Some can be had for literal pocket change. But with new consoles, the used stock isn't there. So people will buy new. So developers will get money and use it to fund future games.

The game industry (and the console part of it) is fine. It's individual studios and publishers that we need to worry about.
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Morgan King Animator 6 years ago
@Klaus Preisinger
That's it exactly, from where I'm standing - looking at the experience offered by the new consoles vs. the experience promised by (for example) The Forest with The Oculus Rift and Sixsense controllers, there's simply no comparison in levels of excitement.
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Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike6 years ago
I hope the Oculus Rift and VR is what saves gaming and changes the industry. When you guys talk about a crash - do you honestly see franchises like GTA, COD, BF, AC suddently crashing? The industry is too spread out right now *I think* to have a total crash like we did in '83. In 1983 (I was three years old, but hear me out) we didn't have the gaming support base we have now. Millions and millions of people weren't playing games then. It was more niche, and there were very specific places you played games. You went to the arcade, and you maybe played on your home console, for the lucky people who had one / could afford one - it was a while before my family was able to afford them. I DO think the divide will just continue and continue to get bigger though. We will have those big franchises I mentioned earlier, and then you will have small tiny puzzle / indie games. It will get spread out into a bigger parabolic curve, with nothing in the middle. I feel like the big companies are too insulated to have the type of crash that happened before. It's hard for me to see people suddenly just stop buying the big franchises, as long as they keep changing even a little bit. Am i being totally ignorant? Maybe? But there is just so many places to buy and play video games now- It's so spread out, that I don't see how we can knock out all the pedestals and have a crash like we did before when everything was so concentrated. We have computers in everyhouse, smartphones, handhelds, and of course, consoles of various flavors.
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Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike6 years ago
And I'll just add again, VR gaming cannot come fast enough! I really think affordable, HIGH QUALITY, VR experiences will be what the true (i hate this expression) game changer that the market is chasing, and the gamers are craving. We want NEW experiences, and what better way to deliver new experiences through an interface that will force developers to change the way they create their software, and it will force gamers to change the way they play software. It's going to open up genres of gaming that just didin't exist before like virtual tourism, and sensory experiences like what was mention already - The forest, and all of these crazy ideas I've been reading about that just wouldn't have the impact. I don't think traditional gaming will WORK in these new VR controllers. I've tried some FPS games in VR, and it's difficult to use. I don't think VR can really work with twitch gaming right now, or First Person Shooters. But I can't wait to explore a new world in a far off galaxy with my oculus rift and examine the flora and fauna and marvel at an alien sky.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
It's curious how much people is wondering about "will console disappear?" Ok, lets take a deep breath and ask ourselves: If consoles didn't had a quite decent share on the market would Sony and MS be releasing a new one? Nintendo is kinda "forced" since it's a video-game company, but the other two have more business they can focus on.

I think a lot of people (And I mean it: a lot) see a decline and automatically think in the worst case scenario for no reason. Obviously mobile devices and tablet market will take the biggest part, but consoles will grow in their own way.

How I see this: Consoles have a lower share of the market because the number of potential customers have multiplied due to mobile devices and tablets. Console market hasn't gone nowhere, it just represent a core audience that now is a lower percentage in comparison.

As a side-note: it annoys me a bit hearing that "consoles are killing creativity" from so many mobile devices focused studios. Considering that a big number of mobile games are copy-pastes of console/PC games when not directly from one another... How many "Angry Birds" and "Worms" clones can be found out there?

I am sure that in 20 years consoles will still be around, along with PC, mobile devices and whatever new market that (for sure) will emerge. Although I must say; not too sure about portable consoles like Vita or 3DS...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 12th November 2013 8:15am

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James Ingrams Writer 6 years ago
Notice how even in a bad but true news story, the media has to mention the success of GTA V, as though that means anything other than to RockStar, and has to end on a statement that gaming will always grow, after telling us it has shrunk for the last nine quarters!

It is too late for the AAA publishers. We have had these brain dead AAA games for 10 years now, the success of the indie market is in direct correlation to this. The AAA publishers stopped being innovative, so gamers starting buying more indie games that were!

Gamers are not going to go back to the AAA publishers, any more than AAA publishers are going to go back to the 90's and start being innovative and releasing games in many genres! This means, as far as I can see, s slow decline in AAA gaming, that will price itself out of the market, and gaming being about indie games first and foremost.
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Why hasnt there been a article about so Facebook games are dead, when will mobile games bubble burst?
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
Similar to how the Wii or the tablets caused games to adapt to the platform, VR will also cause games to adapt to it, instead of being 1:1 conversions. A Cockpit game, such as World of Tanks, or racing games in general, will have an easier transition than first person shooters. I am also reasonably confident that once John Carmack himself declares latency to be his focus, twitch gaming is following him close behind; not just sea sickness. Nobody needs to replace pixel precise first person shooters over night. They will have their place, even if you do own a VR headset. Looking at Quake 3 and its fast pace pixel precise from the hip shooting, fps games have degenerated quite a bit to more sluggish standards.
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There are still some issues with VR, mainly issues of scale. Unfortunately its not a simple plug and play element, and thigns near can appear far or small in VR. GUI will require a totally new way of use as well
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago

Play the game and not the GUI. I already said, cockpit games are at an advantage, because cockpits have gauges. Which game that lends itself to a VR version really needs a lot of UI? One hit kill shooters? Sports games? Power fantasy character action games?
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Kevin Ezeadiugwu Associate Product Manager, [x+1]6 years ago
Klaus, I'm sure VR is a great piece of technology, but in a market, technology itself is not the only thing that's needed for a product to take off and become successful. Price, Scale, general consumer openness, consumer awareness, ease of use, ease of setup and installation, platform/development tools, and content library.

So right now its in it's very early adopter phase where a few technologists/extremely hardcore fans have fallen in love with its technology. However honestly, it's still years off from becoming a success commercially viable mainstream product....if it even catches on or succeeds at all.

And honestly, who really plays cockpit games but a VERY small group of extremely hardcore niche users.

Conclusion: Building a product is not about just how cool or interesting the tech is.
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Morgan King Animator 6 years ago
I think the ridiculous success of the Wii speaks volumes about what the interest in new video gaming experiences enabled by new technology can be - the Rift won't be as easy or affordable for that kind of mainstream penetration, but assuming the tech is only going to click with the hardcore niche is underestimating the appeal of technological advancement. It's not JUST about how cool or interesting the tech is, but I wouldn't dismiss that in the wake of the interest in the Wii and touchscreen gaming (and even the Kinect and Guitar Hero to some extent). The news frenzy over a commercial VR release, and the word-of-mouth testimonies from owners, is going to expand the market well beyond just the cockpit-gaming PC enthusiast group (see the Oculus interest in Android mobile platforms).

(and, yes, traditional FPS games are going to need a lot of care to work properly)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morgan King on 12th November 2013 6:25pm

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Nick Wofford Hobbyist 6 years ago
Morgan, I completely agree with that idea. Futuristic stuff is just cool. Period. And that really resonates with the masses. Just look at how your average consumer views Siri or Google Glass. MS is going for it with the Kinect stuff, and Oculus Rift is counting on it. I think it'll work for all parties.
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Kevin Ezeadiugwu Associate Product Manager, [x+1]6 years ago

You make a great point , however I'm not necessarily saying that the Rift will just fail, or only appeal to the hardcore niche. I'm just saying is all a matter of timing, and the other factors that need to be taken into account. I don't think its a product that will take off right away or even in the next couple years. I think its still going to take time to come into its own and generate that heightened interest of the mainstream gamer/consumer.

I'm also not doubting the appeal of technological advancement, but even with the Wii, touchscreen phones, consoles, home PC's, etc the factors I describe played an important part in the technology behind them going from the niche to the mainstream. Other tech products throughout the years were not as fortunate. I just want to bring this excitement about the Rift into perspective.
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Jordan Lund Columnist 6 years ago
Um... VR was supposed to be the future of gaming 20 years ago. I don't know how many folks here remember the early 90s, but VR was all anyone was talking about and, like the 3D fad we just went through, it fizzled pretty quickly.

Now you can argue that the technology isn't the same, we're more advanced now, Oculus Rift, etc. etc. But the fact of the matter is that the VR arcade games never went anywhere and home technology such as Nintendo's Virtual Boy were lauded by the critics and hated by consumers.
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David Serrano Freelancer 6 years ago
@James Ingrams
Notice how even in a bad but true news story, the media has to mention the success of GTA V, as though that means anything other than to RockStar.
Agreed. I can't really wrap my head around the mental gymnastics needed to conflate the on-going failure of core developers and publishers to actively engage 70 percent or more of 360 and PS3 owners (as well as the wider potential audience) into the claim this actually represents an overall increase in consumer demand for games or hardware. Or an increase in the overall profitability of the core games industry. There's no trickle down effect for other developers or publishers when a GTA V or Black Ops 2 earns a billion dollars or more. Because one record setting core title per year from one developer or publisher does not a healthy or sustainable industry make.
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James Ingrams Writer 6 years ago
@David Serrano

Well said, but so obvious, I don't know why even sites like his have to lick the bootss by mentioning GTA V!
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
James, they mention it simply because those that spout the decline and death of home consoles give the impression that such sales feats shouldn't happen anymore.

However, is it really any different than the monstrous sales of the mega sellers in mobile that leave minor crumbs for the rest of the mobile industry to fight over?
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 6 years ago
It's over man, face it. STEAM OS. Nintendo will still be around though, they'll always be around.
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Steve Goldman Journalist. 5 years ago
nothing is in trouble.

This article is nonsense
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