A few articles have popped up recently on WSO about the newly-announced PlayStation 4. If you follow video games, you'll know that this bad boy will make or break Sony's struggling video gaming division, which has suffered over the past six years as Microsoft's Xbox 360 beat it in sales, game selection, and online security.
Well, the PS4 announcement was certainly impressive, at least for "my" generation of gamers -- feels weird to say that. People who are now 22-24 and grew up with the last three generations: PS1/N64, PS2/Xbox/Gamecube, and PS3/X360/Wii, are sure to be looking forward to the PS4. But what about the new bloods who have grown up with only this generation alongside iPad and Android tablet games?
Full disclosure: I haven't really "gamed" since freshman or sophomore year, and I own an Android tablet that I don't use for gaming.
Every time I'm at an airport, or somewhat sadly, a restaurant, I see teenagers glued to iPad screens playing games. Most of these games, at least judging by looks, appear to be extremely linear -- like Temple Run -- with no real world or game development during their course. "Play the game to pass the time." In the console world, anecdotally-speaking, these kids play Call of Duty: _insert description of current or next CoD game here_ or Madden _insert year here_. It seems that demand for games that don't simply "pass the time" is waning in favor of games that are not necessarily plot-driven.
My question to you all is, where do you think streaming games fits into all of this? There has been an increased effort to force the Netflix model into gaming by some companies, which will appeal more to your average "let me just pass the time" gamer who might be connecting in from an iPad or even their iPhone. What this means for the next generation of consoles could very well be what Netflix meant for your old DVD player: obsolescence. With game trade-in values as low as they are -- sometimes as low as 20% of retail value -- it makes sense that people don't want to spend $60 on a game that lasts 10 hours and shelf it for eternity. Couple that with the fact that games have become increasingly shorter and more cinematic, and suddenly the prospect of paying a flat monthly fee to stream games instead of purchase them becomes much more appealing.
Where could the next generation consoles fit into this world? In 2012, the ten top-grossing apps for the iPhone were games...most of them costing no more than $1.99 (and many, of course, have free counterparts). Tablet and phone technology are already extremely impressive -- you can easily play N64-quality, and then some, on your iPad, which is incredible. As it becomes even more capable, do we eschew the old-school RGB-connected consoles that require a TV or monitor (who even has either of those these days...?) for a complete transition to mobile gaming?
Did you game as a kid or in college? Do you continue to game? If no longer, what would it take for you to get back into it? Do you think an army of mobile applications can overtake the Big 3 of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft?
Thanks for reading.