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Console's Last Stand?


Dick Splash
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Here's an article by Logan Decker, the senior editor of PCG (US). It's wishful thinking to many and I don't know how credible it is but it's certainly music to our ears;

Console's Last Stand?

It's incredible. It's unthinkable. But they're starting to say it, and people are starting to listen. And what they're saying is that the era of the console is coming to an end.

Sandy Duncanm, the former Microsoft VP who unleashed the Xbox on the Europeans, not the actress who peddled Wheat Thins in the '80s as the next best thing to an eating disorder, told the website That VideoGame Blog that 'consoles will [die] out in the next five to 10 years. The business model is very risky and the costs associated with creating new hardware are incredibly high.'

Alex St. John, CEO of WildTangent, and the man behind the WildTangent Orb (see "New Game In Town" in the June 2008 issue), laid out his own argument to me last month. "I think that we're looking at the last generation of consoles, because Sony and Microsoft are never going to make back the money they sank on PS3 and Xbox 360, and I doubt they'll have the will at the end of this generation's consoles to do it to themselves again. And the market will have changed so much that I'm not sure that there will really be a market reason that can justify doing it again. They just can't afford to burn another eight billion bucks."

So Microsoft and Sony are hemorrhaging cash in a campaign intended mostly to keep the other guy from dominating the living room (and thus being able to collect licensing fees on everything that's watched and played there). Yet, despite all of this, consumer research firm Parks Associates humilliated both companies and Nintendo to boot with a study that shows that the average 'console gamer' spends more time playing PC games than console games-18.5 hours versus 13.5 hours a month!

I'm not certain if the era of the console is coming to an end, but with broadband connections flourishing and the PC as the only gaming platform widespread in the United States, Europe, and Asia, I suspect the era of PC gaming is just beginning.

Logan Decker

DS
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I've always thought that the theory of the console and PC merging is more along the lines of whats going to happen. The PC will (obviously) never go away, and consoles are slowly turning into media PCs anyway. I figure within the next 2 or 3 versions of Windows we'll see games become so streamlined that they'll play virtually the same on the PC as they do on consoles, controls and all.

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I remember reading that 10 year quote on Eurogamer. What was it MS reported a little while back also, that next year will be the first year the XBox makes them any money... I know Sony is losing alot of money on their PS3s too.

Also keep seeing more and more PCs being hooked up to TVs and controller support in a lot of PC games incl. FPSs.

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I think it's really wishful thinking.

Just looking at sales figures of console vs. pc I highly doubt there would be a demise of the console within 10 years.

I'm not sure about sony, but from what I read even a year or two years ago the 360 is basically almost a break even venture. The parts that make up the console have become more affordable to produce.

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This is rediculous given that 90% of pcs will not run most computer games other than some MMORGs. Microsoft is working on a new console that will be digital rather than based on an expensive piece of hardware, that is the future direction of gaming.

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Consoles will always exist for the simple fact that they differ from PCs - you can sit back on your couch and have some entertaining fun with friends. That is why I bought me a console, it just is so relaxing to lie down and game a bit. Couch is much more comfortable than a chair. I have a console for relaxing entertainment - a PC for some serious gaming. This is why both things will always be there. Not to mention the different gaming-styles connected to each platform, there are things that work on one, but not the other.

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I think MMO's, especially WoW, have imbalanced PC gaming figures unfortunately. Making it difficult to really see what's going on. It's great that people are playing that, or even Age of Conan, but when most of your market is playing 2 or 3 subscription based games, or the Sims, that's not much variety. I know there are lots of other PC games too, but I just feel like WoW warps the equation too much for these type of arguments. It's been said many times before you can skew stats to favor any argument. So, fewer people put in more hours then many people putting in a few?

As for consoles, their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. It's a closed platform which is good for stability, but never gets upgraded. They are in that catch22 of keeping the price of the hardware low enough for masses to buy it, but also trying to meet new/faster technology. The current crop is a pretty good balance of tech performance to visual impact, but is not quite as good as previously thought either. So, it's more limited in what can be done.

Given the popularity of gaming right now, I can't see them not progressing. Personally I'm very hopeful the next crop is true 1080p @ 60fps standard and more ram, but I think they are going to milk 360 and PS3 for all they can before introducing something new.

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I think the console developers could learn a great deal from the C64 and ZX Spectrum days, when they first came out games were rubbish, but later on as they got the hang of it games came out which were amazing considering the resources they had to use, problem with consoles is as soon as theyre getting the hang of it another console gets released and the old one is more or less abandoned.

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