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The Consoles Are Dying Says Developer

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by Jon Martindale, 13 Mar 2012News

Whilst you might have often heard that PC gaming is dying - detractors have been claiming this for over a decade - one developer has a different take: that in fact it's the consoles that are on the way out.

In a 26 minute presentation at GDC - available now as a voice over'd slideshow - Ben Cousins who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses some rather convincing statistics of electronic and gaming purchases along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, that when compared with today, displays some surprising results. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers - Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft - are losing out massively, compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers, Facebook, Apple and Google.

With the new companies, the audience size is vastly increased thanks to more of a focus on tablet, mobile and browser based gaming. Facebook, iPhone and Android users weigh in at over a billion users. Compare that with the main consoles, the Xbox, Wii and PS3 and you have hardware that has only sold around (even when combined) a few hundred million units.

So what's the next step? Mr Cousins asks throughout his talk: "When the consoles die, what comes next?" You may not be surprised by his answer: mobile. By that he means smartphones and tablets - no wonder he took the position at ngmoco.

Describing the mobile platform as a disruptive technology that has grown in potential rapidly over the past decade, it has already overtaken handheld, casual and kids gaming. He argues that it's only a matter of time before it overtakes AAA hardcore games as well.

One of the big bits of evidence used in this talk is that dedicated electronics like cameras, satnavs, MP3 players and similar devices have shrunk in popularity in recent years, with smartphones being just as capable as any and all of them.

Ironically, perhaps PC gaming will endure for longer than any console system since it is multi-faceted? Quite like the next-generation of consoles is hoping to be. Mr Cousins isn't the only one thinking that consoles could be dying; the developers know it too.

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