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PCs will replace consoles, says Ben Cousins

Ex-Sony dev sees hardcore gamer crowd moving to desktops after death of dedicated gaming boxes

Consoles are doomed, destined to lose their mainstream audience to mobile platforms and their dedicated core gamers to the PC. That's according to developer Ben Cousins, who runs mobile-focused DeNA subsidiary Scattered Entertainment after lengthy stints working on consoles and PCs.

In a guest column on Kotaku today, Cousins said the console market was on the way out for a number of reasons. He cited the massive expense of making console games, and noted that the Microsoft and Sony business divisions that housed the companies' console businesses combined for nearly $8 billion in losses since R&D on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 would have started.

While there may always be gamers who want and will pay for consoles, there may not be enough of them, Cousins said. The problem is that the mainstream gamers who buy Call of Duty, Halo, Madden, and not much else are being targeted and won over by mobile platforms, where they can play games cheap or for free on devices they might already own.

"Without this huge group of people buying consoles or console games, the console platform holders will no longer be able to make enough money to justify developing, marketing, and manufacturing the devices," Cousins said.

In turn, the console diehards will be left with PC gaming, which Cousins said is becoming an increasingly attractive pursuit thanks to controller and TV support, digital distribution channels like Steam, free-to-play titles, and indie games.

"I spent eight years of my life working on console games for companies like Microsoft, Sony and EA," Cousins said. "The reason I moved to mobile a year and a half ago is precisely because I came to the conclusion the consoles were on their way out. I bet my career on it."

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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.