Most of us likely feel that mobile isn't as good to play as console games. In large part because the input schemes just aren't as well suited to the same kinds of games that people tend to play on consoles.
Yet back in 2012 and 2013, there was this large sense in the industry that mobile was taking over.
"More than half of the surveyed developers, or 53%, self-identified as “indie” developers — i.e., they’re not associated with megacorps like Electronic Arts that are solely devoted to turning out the next blockbuster. Which may help explain one of the survey’s more surprising findings, which is that many of these developers are actually once again warming to PCs and Macs."
"Specifically, the GDC asked developers which platforms they had last developed for, which platforms they were developing for now, and on which platforms they planned their next game. To no big surprise, tablets and phones are increasingly winning over developers: 38 percent wrote their last game for mobile devices, 55 percent moved to mobile for their latest game, and 58 percent plan their next game there.
Compare that to Sony’s PS3. Thirteen percent of respondants called themselves current PS3 developers, and just 12.4 percent planned their next game for the PS3. The Xbox 360 only does slightly better: 13.2 percent for now, and 14 percent for the future. (Eleven percent of the devs polled said they’re making games for the next-generation PlayStation 4 and the “Xbox 720,” or whatever Microsoft ends up calling the 360’s successor.)"
There were a lot of articles about how Sony and MS lost a lot of money on consoles (PS3, 360), and how mobile games were becoming a larger share of the revenue and developers were increasingly working on mobile.
I don't think a lot of people really noticed how much that Sony and MS responded to these trends.
The first 30-40 minutes of the PS4 announcement has several mobile mentions.
You'll be able to stream to your phone, you'll be able to have gaming social media to your phone, you'll be able to control your PS4 from your phone.
Sony was taking a route that your console and your phone could be companion devices to some extent. A lot of this still exists today, but it wasn't the primary selling point that it was for the PS4.
42 minutes into the show, there are several mentions of mobile use cases, and yet only one game announcement.
Compare that to how Sony has announced the PS5, there are hardly any mentions of mobile in their first announcements. There is basically one that I've found, and it had nothing to do with a use case, and instead was talking about getting to mobile level ease of use in the second wire article.
While Sony was trying to make a companion device to the phone, Microsoft took a different approach to make the Xbox One a companion device to the television.
There was the Kinect so you could control things, there was the HDMI in, so there was more interactivity with other devices.
And again, so many of these choices either don't exist anymore, or aren't the main focus of console marketing.
And of course, who could forget this?
Ouya promised mobile apps on your TV, and became one of the most funded kickstarters ever at the time.
So in retrospect, it's hilarious how wrong so many people were about the general direction of the industry, including to some extent MS and Sony themselves. (Not that mobile isn't big, but it didn't wipe out consoles out of existence.)
I think overall, that Sony and MS both made bad predictions at the time. I think Sony made safer bad predictions. A lot of the features they were pushing in their announcements are still relevant; but none of them are console selling features. A notable one that never became relevant was mobile companion apps, I don't think that really went any where.