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Forums - Gaming Discussion - The "consoles are dead" years were hilarious in retrospect

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.

IGN: Are console dead?

Game Consoles are already dead

"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.  



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Yeah, that was insanely dumb thoughts about where the console market was going.

While traditional mobile games are still as predatory as ever, when it comes to console quality games, it's much more low requirement games or just older games. You're never going to see a Red Dead Redemption II on mobile. At least not this decade. And not everyone wants to deal with the hassle of getting a PC, plugging everything in, troubleshooting, etc. There's always going to be a market for gamers that just want to sit back on their couch and use a plug-n-play solution for high quality games.

The only thing mobile gaming has going for it in terms of high quality games, is cloud streaming.



PCs and mobile devices together will be what eventually puts game consoles into a niche market.
Mobile devices have been historically too weak to kill consoles. They're enough to seriously threaten handheld devices, but even Nintendo is only partly threatened by them.
I'm pretty sure no affordable phone (that's upper-mid range specs at best) can surpass a base Xbox One or PS4 in performance. And they probably can't even manage that. They are plenty of Gaming PCs, but Gaming Phones and Tablets are a much smaller market.



Lifetime Sales Predictions 

Switch: 156 million (was 73, then 96, then 113 million, then 125 million, then 144 million, then 151 million)

PS5: 115 million (was 105 million) Xbox Series S/X: 48 million (was 60 million, then 67 million, then 57 million)

PS4: 120 mil (was 100 then 130 million, then 122 million) Xbox One: 51 mil (was 50 then 55 mil)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

"Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind." - Guru Laghima

I can understand where people were coming from. There was a time when all the world seemed to want to talk about outside of the gaming community was iPads and iPhones and IOS games. And usually, when a disruptive form of entertainment comes into the picture, it replaces the old way of doing things. So it makes sense that people were worried at the time.

But yeah, it (the prediction that consoles were dying or dead) couldn't have been more wrong. And that's a good thing, because I really love console gaming!



It was a shit take, traditional home consoles were never under severe threat by mobile/browser/social gaming. On the other hand; dedicated handhelds are all but dead and gone. Look at the collapse in sales between the DS/PSP era and the 3DS/PS Vita era, that's where the real hurt arrived.

But, yeah, "console gaming is dead" is even more hilarious in retrospect. I have a lot of experience with dead markets and platforms, seeing as how PC gaming has been dying since the early 2000s.



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Wman1996 said:

but even Nintendo is only partly threatened by them.

Nah. I still yet to see a mobile game hitting 97 on Metacritic or even being popular at being sold for 60$.

The essence is the games. And yes mobile games are games, but when you have to specify "mobile", that will (at least for now) always rhymes with "lesser"



gtotheunit91 said:

You're never going to see a Red Dead Redemption II on mobile. At least not this decade. 

Not even the first one though



Same era Phil Fish Fart declared all Japanese games are trash. Then again there was a time 20 ish years ago PCs were declared dead.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

A bit premature maybe. Yet mobile gaming is slowly pushing console gaming into a niche. Mobile game revenue is still growing while console gaming revenue is flat, on a slight decline. Mobile gaming revenue is already almost twice as much as console gaming revenue and represents 50% of all gaming revenues.

Console gaming will live on, but for example MS is already looking to jump to mobile, by game pass streaming and opening a mobile store. Nintendo doesn't do home consoles anymore (they make a standalone handheld version but won't release a standalone home console). So it's just Sony that's still fully focused on home consoles.



SvennoJ said:

A bit premature maybe. Yet mobile gaming is slowly pushing console gaming into a niche. Mobile game revenue is still growing while console gaming revenue is flat, on a slight decline. Mobile gaming revenue is already almost twice as much as console gaming revenue and represents 50% of all gaming revenues.

Console gaming will live on, but for example MS is already looking to jump to mobile, by game pass streaming and opening a mobile store. Nintendo doesn't do home consoles anymore (they make a standalone handheld version but won't release a standalone home console). So it's just Sony that's still fully focused on home consoles.

I think I would argue against a few things here.

Sony is also looking to make mobile games. But I don't think MS and Sony are viewing mobile as replacing the console market in the same way that they seemed to in the early 2010's.  

In 25 years, does it really matter if mobile makes up 90% of the market, if PlayStation 9 still manages to sell 120 million units? Mobile might be huge and continuing to grow for a long time, but I don't think that necessarily diminishes the console market.