It is not surprising that the number of console games is declining today. This would have been the case even if the Android and Apple tablets and smartphones never existed. The reason behind this is the lack of new consoles as of late. The latest consoles are Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3, but it is now six years since they were released. Gamers are hungry and tired and want to taste a whole new kind of gaming experience.
But of course there is the Apple App Store and Google’s Android Market. There is also Facebook whose unfazed charm on attracting people allowed developers to earn from their games. We humans prefer the things that we have experienced just recently. This is our nature which these new gaming platforms have effectively fed. Even people who had not laid hands on a videogame before are discovering the sheer fun that it brings through these new platforms.
Most people agree that console gaming is a thing of the past now. And we haven’t talked about the price difference between an app and a console game yet. Although there is a huge difference in graphics of both, one thing that these $1 apps can be proud of is their gameplay – something that console games have not provided until recently because of the focus on aesthetics.
A Timely Rise
At its infancy, gaming was characterized by the small-team model – i.e. developers could benefit from minimum risks in creating games from the scratch and enjoy high rewards that come with the success of the game. This model is starting to come back or may have already come back with mobile games. This is supposedly the reason why console manufacturers are grasping for air and hanging on a cliff to survive. However, the fact is that the rise of mobile games has done well to console gaming and the industry as a whole.
The evidence for this claim is none other than the PS Vita. This device is priced at $299 which is a bold move from a company such as Sony in times where you can buy a decent Android tablet for $199. The Apple called the move madness although its own iPad 2 costs $499. This just shows that most of Steve Jobs army prefers the amount of money rather than practicality.
There is no doubt about the fact that the PS Vita contains all the aesthetic elements and superb gameplay that can outshine even those devices that are pricier than it. This gadget surely has the potential to become a social media icon like what the iPad and the iPhone has become for Apple. But the best thing it has done is the avoidance of excessive praising, something which is beyond the norm. The PS Vita has done what it was supposed to do and became one of the best-selling gadgets at the start of the year.
It only took less than a week for the PS Vita to reach 1.2 million sales in Europe and the U.S. In comparison, the older PSP sold almost 80 million units since it was released. The number of sales of the PS Vita suggests that it can do what its older brother has done, maybe even surpass it.
The early popularity of PS Vita suggests that recent decline of console gaming is attributed to another reason. That reason would be the slow improvements on platform hardware and not entirely on the fast rise of mobile device and social gaming. And now that there are three new consoles coming, is it safe to say that console gaming is back?
The answer to that question would depend on how the three gaming giants – Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony – will act on the upcoming months. This is emphasized more on Nintendo as they will be the one to release a new device at the end of this year with the Wii U. Being the first has plenty of disadvantages as well. Microsoft and Sony might wait and watch the success of Nintendo and incorporate good things of Nintendo in their products. Actually, there have been reports that the new Xbox will have a touchscreen controller like on Nintendo’s device and future Sony PlayStations might use the PS Vita.
Nintendo relies on Shigeru Miyamoto whose main task is to give to Wii U a power to handle games that we have never seen grace any console. This is obviously more than what the Wii is currently doing. It will be this time that Nintendo will face a tough test as they continue to disregard to possibility of working with outside developers in creating games as they would be limited without the specialties of third parties. The look and feel of Wii U confirms that the Wii U will be something new that gamers will love. This also confirms what future console games should be if they are aiming to pull users away from all those Android, iOS and Facebook applications.
The development kits for the new Xbox are out and rumors of developer briefings have been around for some time, so we have reason to believe that Microsoft’s newest console game would be announced soon. There is also reason to believe that the company will not announce the new game very soon, as they are in a time where Xbox 360 is at its most profitable state, just like in the case of Sony with their PlayStation 3. If both companies are really earning a lot of money, then we can’t expect new gaming consoles soon. If that is the case then these two companies might be subject to more attacks on how their platforms have become things of the past and that they should provide something fresh to their followers which starts the circle all over again.
Thankfully, this thought is proven otherwise by the emergence of the PS Vita. It has reminded all of us that there is still room for full-blown and rich gameplay amidst the prevailing simplicity of mobile games. And with the arrival of the other platforms by Microsoft and Nintendo, we hope that the idea that “console gaming is dead now” will be erased forever and mobile and social games will need to do more to attract gamers. In any case, the gamers are certainly gaining as they are being given new platforms and attractions regularly.