Console gaming has really taken off in recent years. From humble beginnings, through to market dominance, a few crashes and a remeergence as a force to be reckoned with, there’s money in them there plastic hills! But every business reaches a ceiling at one point, and that’s the feeling that EA founder Trip Hawkins has, as he believes that the market for such home entertainment will one day become a ‘hobby business’.
Speaking to IGN, Hawkins said that “The console market is always going to be with us, because there’s always going to be a hardcore segment, a segment that likes innovation. But it’s going to become a smaller market, and it’s going to be more like a hobby market.”
You look at airplanes, most of us just want to be a passenger, but there’s a hobby market for people who are really into aviation and want to take flying lessons and maybe someday have their own airplane. I think that’s what’s happening to the console market.
But there are billions of people now playing games. The gaming industry is finally becoming mass-market. It’s across two billion PCs and four billion mobile phones, and within a few years a billion tablets. In terms of total audience size, we’re getting into really big numbers.
Hawkins also believes that thanks to streaming content and a wide array of electronic devices, console gaming will become more and more specialised as time goes on. “Games are going everywhere,” Hawkins said, “Plenty of people are playing for social reasons and playing when it’s convenient. It’s a trend towards mobile- and browser- and cloud-based games.”
You contrast that with what happens when you have to either purchase or download a specific app that runs native on a specific device and you only ever play it when you have that platform in front of you.
In the old days I’d go down to the basement to play Grand Theft Auto. But the Facebook gamer is able to play at work, at home, in a hotel on a PC. They can get access to a browser just about anywhere. People are thinking about convenience first.
It’s not too hard to believe, is it? Console gaming has evolved in leaps and bounds over the cycles, and eventually, more dedicated gaming might be a smaller aspect of it at the end of the day. We’ve got the technology to play a game practically anywhere now, but the most important thing that has yet to really be studied though, is bringing the atmosphere with you while you game.
Because as much fun as it is to farm some coins on my iPad in Plants vs Zombies, I’d gladly swap a cramped air cabin for a couch with which to rest my fat arse on.
Last Updated: October 12, 2012