With things changing so fast on the video gaming scene, all that I seem to read is how console gaming is dying and the next generation of consoles are truly the last of its kind. The proponents of this idea seem to believe that with the advent of gaming on the move in the form of smartphones, the fastest growing segment of the industry, soon the console industry would not find enough audience for it to be a financially viable investment anymore.
With all the pessimism surrounding the console industry, it seems hard to believe that console gaming would be dying. This got me thinking as to what are the signs which show that this may not be altogether true.
Lets for starters look at the recently announced microsoft's xbox one and sony's PS4. Both of these consoles have been subject to both awe and criticism. The great way to judge how a product is going to be received in the future is to look at the reception of its idea in the present. Here i am able to see some pointers which reveal that the future of the console industry is not so bleak. The launch events of both Xbox One and PS4 has been watched both online and in live attendance by record number of people. This is definitely shows a great level of interest in the next generation consoles. The preorder numbers from Amazon for Xbox one and PS4 are in record numbers, much greater than when the previous generation was launched. These facts go on to prove two things:
1. The number of people who have shown interest in the next generation consoles is definitely bigger than the ones who were interested in xbox 360 and ps3.
2. The above fact can only be achieved if the total number of people playing console gaming has increased, otherwise how would the increased number of people be accounted for.
These numbers alone are evident that the interest surrounding the launch of xbox one and ps4 is great. Let us now look at why the detractors are envisioning a future without console gaming. They are of the view that the gaming habits of gamers are changing at a pace which is so fast that the console giants would not be able to catch up to it. This seems farther from the truth. The next generation consoles take into account the fact that the gamers is always on the move and hence have focussed a lot on cloud computing. This is evident from the fact that Microsoft has increased the number of servers focussed on cloud computing for Xbox One to 3,00,000 from a meagre 15,000 for xbox 360. Thats a phenomenal increase in number, one that Microsoft would not be betting on if it was not sure of the role of cloud computing in games of the future. It is also true that gaming on consoles is an altogether a different beast as compared to gaming on smartphones. There has not been a single smartphone game which has been able to give as grand an experience as some of the console game behemoths like Call of Duty or GTA. The experience on consoles is so much bigger and better as compared to a 5 inch screen. We dont stop going to the multiplexes just because we have Netflix or DTH at home. We dont stop going to fancy restaurants and bars just because we can home deliver our food and beverages. People always crave for bigger and better experiences. Thats in our innate nature.
Many believe that smartphone gaming is eating into the pie of console gaming and thats why it doesn't have a bright future. I beg to differ. I believe that the whole pie is getting bigger. Smartphone gaming has done a great job of introducing more and more people to gaming by lowering the various barriers to entry. And as these new found gamers become more entrenched in games, they would start looking for better experiences and hence graviate to console gaming. I as an avid gamers on consoles as well as my ipod and galaxy s3 truly believe and hope that thats the case.
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