The Console Is Dead, Long Live The Console

Spend your time online consuming various gaming news stories and you will find a common theme: more and more analysts seem to be somewhat prematurely predicting the demise of the games console.

The PC Master Race sit back and smile smugly, grabbing yet another great deal on Steam with the freedom to mod every inch of it, while Playstation and Xbox owners fiercely defend their console of choice and debate the mighty PS4 selling 7 million units, against the slightly better console-exclusive library on Xbox One. But it appears that we are all missing the point: over 12 million consoles with a limited selection of games have now been sold. Yet we are still constantly being told that the console market is dying.

Sure, there have been a few missteps with the release of next-gen consoles. Most notably from a slightly greedy Microsoft who have ultimately lost vital ground by making the infamous Kinect compulsory, instantly making the Xbox One the more expensive option of two machines that are remarkably similar.

Anyone that has had the misfortune of spending a few hours with Zoo Tycoon, Fighter Within and Kinect Sports Rivals will tell you that Kinect is not a piece of essential gaming hardware. Not only that, but many still have a dislike of Microsoft enforcing their metro interface into everything that they release. However, the Xbox One remains a fantastic gaming and entertainment hub, despite its flaws.

So where do these “Consoles are dying” stories come from? In many instances, it is a case of lazy journalism. As the rise of mobile gaming captures people’s attention, many analysts predict that people will turn their back on expensive game consoles to play the likes of Temple Run, Plants vs Zombies, FarmVille and Angry Birds on the go. But anyone that could believe this ludicrous theory clearly knows very little about the game industry.

It is all too easy to announce the impending death of consoles due to the rise of social and mobile gaming, combined with creative stagnation, as a growing number of tired sequels frequent console game charts. But to compare these two separate markets is, frankly, disgraceful, not to mention ridiculous. That something like Flappy Bird could rival the multiplayer experience of an online console game is a preposterous suggestion.

If anything, the games console is somewhat of a Trojan Horse, ready to pounce as a wind of change blows through the traditional living room. Milleniuals are not only taken for granted, but expect the ability to stream films, play live TV, take video calls, view You Tube videos and browse the internet, all from box, or should I say entertainment hub.

“Where do you want to go today?”

The days of putting people in pigeon holes with labels such as Mobile Gamer, Social Gamer, PC Gamer, Xbox Gamer or PS4 gamer are long gone. Most of us enjoy living in the multiplatform world, where we can enjoy the best that gaming has to offer depending on our mood or location.

The biggest threat to the next generation of game consoles is the rise of the PC game market, where marketplaces such as Steam constantly provide fantastic deals, a Smörgåsbord of fantastic games and the ability to improve your entire experience within a game, thanks to mods created by the work of dedicated fans.

A thriving indie scene also ensures that PC gamers are offered more cerebral games, such as The Stanley Parable or Gone Home. Fortunately, this is not something that Sony or Microsoft are ignoring and we are already seeing significant improvements with the growing number of quirky titles such as Don’t Starve and Contrast appearing on the PlayStation Network.

This passionate gamer wants to sample a little of everything, whether it’s Papers, Please on a PC, Titanfall on the Xbox One or Resogun on the PS4. There really is room for all of the gaming platforms as they all bring something different to the table.

So the next time someone tells you that games consoles are dying, make sure you put them straight. They’re not dying at all, but simply evolving into something much bigger than gaming alone. Like everything in life, nothing is as black and white as some would have you believe.

 

About the author

Neil Hughes

My gaming journey began as an infant playing Pong, followed by an Atari 2600 with a beautiful wooden finish. Over the years, I progressed onto a Commodore 64, BBC B and my beloved Amiga 600 before entering the golden console years. It seems that if you write with an opinion criticising any platform you are now instantly labelled a fan-boy but this ageing gamer loves the PS4, Xbox One and Steam all for different reasons but if I see something I don't like, I might write about it...