As an old school gamer whose childhood experiences included the nascent days of video game consoles such as the Atari 2600, I can tell you first hand much has changed in the video game industry. Rather than stand alone game machines, video game consoles have morphed into powerful home entertainment hubs featuring games, movies, e-commerce, and social media integration. The recently introduced Sony PS4 and Microsoft XBOX One were supposed to be heralded as the next giant technological leap forward in home entertainment. Yet the excitement by gamers and average consumers alike might be short lived. In fact, the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) could mark the last time we see new video game console hardware. The reason? The stunningly rapid global ascendance of mobile gaming via smartphones and tablets.
Fan or not of Apple products, it’s hard to deny the overwhelming economic impact Apple’s iPhone and iPad have impressed upon the video game industry. Consider that prices for new console games releases typically range from $40 to $60 per title. Yet game apps for iOS as well as Android devices average between 99 cents and $6.99. In addition, the graphics and gameplay of these lower priced options are quite good and constantly improving to the extent that long term viability and sustainability of video game consoles comes into question. As a parent, it’s difficult to justify paying $600 for 10 games when the equivalent amount can easily purchase over 100 games for a smartphone or tablet. Plus the inherent portability of smartphones and tablets arguably provides a better return on investment.
In the hope to gain insight about the current sentiment of the video game industry, I decided to reach out to Video Game Industry veteran, Raymond Padilla of Rpad.TV, who has been professionally writing about tech and videogames since 1996.
CM: Does the release of the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One mark the end of video game console gaming?
Ray: While console gaming is certainly declining thanks to powerful, multifaceted devices like the iOS devices, Android devices, and Apple TV, I hardly think this is the end. I believe that there will be at least another generation of what people think of as “gaming consoles,” but I also believe that multifunction devices will get even better. Console gaming isn’t ending any time soon, but it’s definitely changing and evolving.
What’s your opinion? Are you planning on buying a video game console for your family? Which one? Take our poll to see what others are thinking.
What was your favorite video game console (Dreamcast, Atari, Xbox, PS2, etc.) of all time? Leave a comment below to voice your thoughts.