THE BLURRING LINES OF THE GAMING INDUSTRY
Where do we go from here?
by Gabriel Quizhpis
The state of the console industry is starting to become like the PC industry, to some that might not be a bad thing. We have reached a point where it’s no longer about what new and exciting additions come with a system, but more about how much power a new system has over its predecessor. Gone are the days where a new PlayStation and N64 ushered in new ways to experience games. Now we are at a point where our newest system are the heavily marketed PS4 Pro/ Xbox One X. From a tech standpoint it’s great, but from a gamer standpoint it’s the equivalent of throwing a dog a bone. I would have preferred to have the upgraded systems at launch rather than have an upgraded system a couple of months into the consoles life cycle. The constant minor upgrades have cheapened the reveal of a new system. A new system has no impact or gravitas.
Now don’t get me wrong I love the constant dedication to innovation and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the commitment to gaming perfection but this dedication to perfection has led to a couple of huge missteps. Sony and Microsoft have cemented themselves as the heavyweights of the hardcore gaming consoles and it doesn’t look like they are slowing down any time soon. Nintendo on the other hand, has really fallen out of the hardcore gaming spectrum. The Wii, Wii-U and 2DS have really underperformed in the area of the hardcore market but why do these “gimmick” consoles continue to underperform? It’s hard to say if The Switch will follow considering it’s still early in the consoles/handled hybrid’s life cycle.
Where these gimmick consoles fail, the hardcore gaming consoles continue to thrive. We can look at other examples of failed consoles like the Ouya, N-Gage, GameCom, Atari 5200 but those are for a different list for a different time. All of them had a specific gimmick that failed but other consoles were able utilize them successfully. One example is that before the 3DS’s touch screen capability, the gamecom had a touch screen interface that really didn’t work well at the time because they were limited by the technology. Yet here we are years later and we can imagine a handheld console or a cell phone without a touchscreen.
This is where the innovation can really change the experience for hardcore gamers. Look at Activisions Skylanders and Disney Infinity, these are gaming experiences that are starting to gain more traction in the market. Now I know what you’re saying “Disney Infinity was discontinued” and you are right but we can expect someone else to take the technology and use it effectively. It is definitely something that is starting to change shape gain in popularity. Remember, no one ever expected a CD to replace the cartridge. Through innovation, gaming has blossomed and I am eager to see where it goes..
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