Not That Hardcore Franchises Will Be Remotely Important
Look, here’s the truth, and it’s something Nintendo has known for a long time: simple games rake in cash by the bucket. The more complex your game, the smaller your audience. EA has probably made more off of Plants Vs. Zombies than it will ever see off of the entire Mass Effect franchise. Part of the reason EA and Ubisoft are so gung-ho about free-to-play and freemium is that their mobile divisions are propping up their stock price while consoles stagger.
In Japan it’s even worse. There is a distinct possibility, for example, that Capcom’s investors will force the company out of the console business entirely simply because their mobile games make money and their console games don’t.
Ever wonder why Resident Evil 6 is enormous? Because it’ll either save Capcom’s console division… or be the last RE game we ever see.
It Will Be The Last
It’s pretty clear that disc-based gaming is on the way out, even among the people making the devices that play disc-based games. Sony and Microsoft aren’t feuding over console exclusives: they’re looking for streaming video exclusives. The next Xbox and next Playstation will actually be two models of device: a lower-end one for the streaming and casual market, and a higher end one for the hardcore market.
The one after that will resemble a Roku box and likely gaming will be a fun accessory to other functions.
In some ways, the market will have come full circle. And this doesn’t mean gaming is dead or that gaming won’t keep advancing. Far from it. In fact there’s a lot of potential for gaming to explode in ways that it would never have.
But part of that means ditching consoles. Consoles are expensive single use devices with a built-in time to be junked. The future consumer is just not going to accept that, not in a world where Google ports your apps to your new Android phone and everything that streams Netflix will also stream OnLive.
This is a good thing in the sense that consoles are technologically outmoded and clinging to a business model that really is detrimental to creativity and creates other problems.
But it’s also kinda sad to see that piece of our childhood that we grew up with go. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to kinda miss the Console Wars. Who’d have thought they wouldn’t end with a victor, but with somebody else entirely wiping them all out?