Consoles Are Doomed!

Consoles Are Doomed!



So, I've been spending some time wandering around the Internet recently, and that can be dangerous. I have this weird tendency to get über wrapped up in these weird little topics and tangents for hours at a time. For example, not long ago, I discovered that bus driver videos are a thing, and you can get sucked into a vortex of bus driver videos on YouTube that will steal half your day. Don't believe me? Go look for yourself .

More recently, though, I've been exploring a topic that actually relates to video games. This fascination of mine began with a news story about Backbone Entertainment laying off some of its staff. Now, layoffs aren't easy. I've had the personal experience of being let go from a company that was going under, and it's not an easy thing to deal with. And I hated that job. I can't imagine being laid off from a job I actually loved. So I definitely sympathize with Backbone's staff .

But there's a line in Backbone's official statement (made to Game Informer) that caught my eye. Here it is: "Due to a lower demand for conventional console development, the studio has made some difficult but necessary adjustments in both its capacity and services, with the goal of matching the changing needs of today's market."

These layoffs come due to "a lower demand for conventional console development." It sounds like Backbone is losing faith in the console business.

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But that's not a new sentiment. Back in March, a man named Ben Cousins gave a talk at the Game Developers Conference called, "When the Consoles Die, What Comes Next?" In it, he lists several products that were once practically essential to men of their era, but have essentially "died," like typewriters and horse-drawn carriages. He does point out that these products are still bought and sold (there's a certain charm to these things still), but they're not really manufactured on a significant level anymore.

He then shows how console game sales have been on the decline over the past few years. Of course, he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't mention the fact that the mobile gaming market is booming now. He went on to explain how sales of things like Blu-ray players and camcorders are also down, probably due to the fact that you can get similar services on your smartphone or tablet now.

I admit that he makes a halfway decent point. However, I think he misses a couple important facts. Most importantly, the fact that we're drawing near to the end of the console generation. Obviously console sales are going to be down as we're all waiting for the next big thing.

Consoles Are Doomed!

So what of triple-A console games? Well, those are down too. But it's hard to blame that on the dying of the console. I'd venture to say that triple-A developers have, for the most part, become far too timid. Instead of trying to push gaming forward in any meaningful way, they're serving us "safe" titles. The irony is that the "safe" titles are becoming "unsafe," as gamers are growing tired of doing the same old thing over and over again. Who wants another Call of Duty clone?

I wrote a column way back in 2011 about how indie games are where a lot of the good gaming ideas are coming from these days. Sure, several of these ideas translate to mobile gaming, but not all of them do. I mean, it's neat to have Minecraft on my Android phone, for example, but I never actually play it. When I want to really dig into Minecraft, I head over to my PC or my Xbox 360. Minecraft is simply not very much fun on a mobile device.

And that's the real thing to consider here. A mobile phone simply can't provide the kinds of gaming experiences we hardcore gamers want. Could you imagine trying to play Uncharted or Gears of War, for example, on an iPhone? Or even an iPad? There are simply some games that need to be experienced on a big HD TV with a twin-stick controller in your hand.

Consoles Are Doomed!

So what of triple-A console games? Well, those are down too. But it's hard to blame that on the dying of the console. I'd venture to say that triple-A developers have, for the most part, become far too timid. Instead of trying to push gaming forward in any meaningful way, they're serving us "safe" titles. The irony is that the "safe" titles are becoming "unsafe," as gamers are growing tired of doing the same old thing over and over again. Who wants another Call of Duty clone?

I wrote a column way back in 2011 about how indie games are where a lot of the good gaming ideas are coming from these days. Sure, several of these ideas translate to mobile gaming, but not all of them do. I mean, it's neat to have Minecraft on my Android phone, for example, but I never actually play it. When I want to really dig into Minecraft, I head over to my PC or my Xbox 360. Minecraft is simply not very much fun on a mobile device.

And that's the real thing to consider here. A mobile phone simply can't provide the kinds of gaming experiences we hardcore gamers want. Could you imagine trying to play Uncharted or Gears of War, for example, on an iPhone? Or even an iPad? There are simply some games that need to be experienced on a big HD TV with a twin-stick controller in your hand.



By
Josh Wirtanen
Editor / News Director
Date: October 11, 2012

*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*

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