Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Death of Console Gaming?

Well, it's more interesting than the Red Ring of Death.
At least, Rovio's (creator of Angry Birds) Peter Vesterbacka seems to think so. At a panel at SXSW, he said innovation has moved into mobile and social gaming because those companies are more nimble -- they can develop content more quickly. He scoffed at $40 or $50 games for consoles that are difficult to upgrade, and claimed console games are dying.

Well, he does have some good points. The fact that a mobile or social game can be developed in a few months (or even less) is a big advantage or games that take years to make. Not the least of which is that you can make more such games, and thus experiment more. Then again, you certainly don't get the kind of depth of experience in a game that was thrown together in a couple of months.

It's true, though, that console game sales have been in decline the last few years. The top-selling games have hit new heights (like Call of Duty: Black Ops), but the average sales have been declining. I think a good part of the reason is that gamers have more inexpensive or free options for playing games, even if some of those games are less complex or deeply involving. (Though when you look at something like all the free-to-play MMORPGs, or the free-to-play League of Legends, they certainly have equivalent depth to most console titles.)

I don't think the console game market is going away, but it is changing. We will see more experimentation with free-to-play games, and DLC, and lower price points and digital distribution. Some of the types of games people really enjoy will still require years to build, and gamers will pay for those that are good. Companies are going to making fewer of those bets, though, and trying for a higher level of certainty about the payoff before they make those huge bets.

1 comment:

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