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Kinneas14 said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

If you want to know which platform(s) are going to win over the next several years, then you only need to ask three questions.  Here they are in order of importance:

1) Does one platform clearly have a much better game library?
2) Which platform is the best value?
3) Does one of these platforms especially appeal to marginal gamers (i.e. "da casualz")?

So I am going to break this up into two categories: A) Sony vs. Nintendo and B) the streaming services and C) Apple Arcade.

A)  So if you compare PS5 vs. Switch, both are going to have a good library of games.  Switch already does have a good library with plenty more games coming, and we've seen that PS5 will have games coming.  Switch is a much better value though.  It's cheaper (that's obvious), but portability also makes it a much better value.  Switch probably also appeals just a little more to "da casualz" because it's portable and it has some motion control games.  But really any system that uses the classic controler scheme doesn't appeal to "da casualz" too much.  Overall Switch is going to be the clear winner based on value.

B) Let's take Microsoft vs. Google vs. Amazon on streaming service.  Microsoft's service is going to have a much better library of games.  They simply have a lot more game studios and every Elder Scrolls fan, for example, is going to want Gamepass simply because of the games.  All of these 3 subscriptions services offer a similar value and don't really appeal to "da casualz" because they use the classic controller scheme.   Microsoft is going to be the clear winner for the next few years simply because of its game library.  Google and Amazon are really going to have to come up with some good exclusive games on their own if they are going to have a chance of competing with Microsoft.

C) Apple Arcade is in a category all on its own.  That's because it's the only platform right now that is seriously trying to appeal to "da casualz".  Most of its games use either touch screen controls or maybe a simple joystick with buttons.  Both of these appeal much more to marginal gamers than the classic controller scheme.  That means that Apple Arcade (and gaming in general on the iPhone) is going to continue to be a very profitable business for Apple.  This service is not going to be a big deal anytime soon, but in 10+ years it may end up being the dominant player in gaming.  In gaming, 10 years is a huge amount of time.  It's the difference between Final Fantasy 1 and Final Fantasy 7.  Add another 10 years and you are in the FF12/13 era.  Give Apple enough time to make tons of bank with "da casualz" and their games are going to be much better and more sophisticated.  They will grow into a serious force to be reckoned with.  It won't happen anytime soon, but don't take your eyes off of them either.

I like your analysis.

However, what about Sony vs. Nintendo vs the streaming services vs Apple Arcade? Do you think streaming will be king?

I think the value proposition of streaming can definitely reel in "da casualz".

I am waiting to see if something like Gamepass ends up on the Switch.  If so, then they aren't really competing.  They are complementary, and it's very possible that both can succeed at the same time.

But let's say, for the sake of argument that nothing like this happens and they all end up competing.  My analysis doesn't change much.  Switch ends up dominating traditional console gamers in places like Japan, North America, and Europe.  There are also people in these regions who might get Gamepass, but it will be more for the games instead of for the value Gamepass is trying to offer.  If someone wants to play Elder Scrolls or Halo then they will get Gamepass simply because of the games.  

I put "da casualz" in quotes, because this is actually more than one group of people.  In places with a robust console market (Japan, North America, much of Europe), the so-called casuals are mostly people who do not like the classic controller.  These controls are too complicated.  They like using the Wii remote or a touch screen or something like that.  They will never play Gamepass even if it's free.  The value doesn't matter to them.  It's the controller.  So these people will play on mobile devices and maybe the Switch and that is it.  Apple Arcade is in the best position to appeal to these people, but they also just might keep using the microtransaction model instead.

Then there are all of the people who live in areas where there isn't much of a console market (like India).  This is another group of "da casualz".  The gamers in these markets are PC gamers.  But there are also people in these regions who don't game because they can't afford a PC, but they can afford a phone.  A service like Gamepass might really take off in this kind of market.  It makes gaming possible for people who couldn't afford it before.  It also will be a better value than Steam, so it might take customers away from Steam.

So, if we are talking about the next few years, then Nintendo is going to be the clear winner in traditional markets.  Gamepass will be the best streaming service and it might grow a lot if it gets good penetration into markets where consoles are not popular.  And Apple's mobile games (including Apple Arcade) will be a steadily growing service as well.  All 3 are in a good position to succeed in their own ways.  If I have to pick a winner going head to head, I'd say Nintendo.  But Gamepass and Apple can get to a lot of regions that don't have access to a Switch.  All 3 can be successful.