Consoles ruled the gaming world from the beginning, starting with the introduction of Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. Down the line came the most popular Atari, Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox. The first ever handheld game happened to be the Mattel Auto Race in 1976. Later, Nokia came up with Snake in 1997, which got hugely popular with Nokia owners.
Entry of handhelds and Smartphones
Handheld consoles, Nintendo DS and PSP hit the market in the year 2004. Later, in 2007, the first iPhone was released by Apple, subsequently opening its iPhone App store as an update to iTunes in 2008. The release of the iPhone into the market made a huge impact on the mobile game development industry. Competitors grew and a large list of successful games like Angry Birds, Temple Run, Candy Crush, Plants & Zombies etc. were made to entertain the mobile game lovers.
The market demand is gradually changing its course in support of more mobile gaming devices. Some of the mobile hardware nearly match the power of gaming consoles that deliver players with quality gaming experience on mobile. A lot of big gaming studios and indies are up to mobile game development these days. Furthermore, what users love the most about mobile devices are its cheap price and easy availability as compared to gaming devices such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo. Additionally, factors such as portability and connectivity are also in favour of mobile games.
Answering an important question
There is no doubt that mobile games will hold its popularity and fame in the near future as well. The question now turns out to be, will gaming consoles survive this fierce battle with mobile gaming? There has been a lot of discussion going on around about whether mobile games will replace console gaming or not.
Recently, Nintendo launched Militomo, it’s mobile game app and Sony has come up with ForwardWorks, it’s very own gaming studio. Now we can genuinely suspect whether the big bosses in the console gaming industry fear that the mobile market will push them out!
Has mobile gaming actually surpassed consoles?
While it is true that mobile gaming has grown immensely over the past years and have affected the sales of consoles like Vita and 3DS, one could not hold the view that it had surpassed console gaming all together. The thing that many don’t understand is that, though mobile gaming and console gaming may overlap in several areas, both of them are focusing on two entirely different markets, at least for now.
For e.g., there are many new arrivals in the field of mobile gaming, that can’t be mimicked by a console game such as location based games and gyroscope-aided games. Conversely; gesture detection, motion sensing etc. are still very alien to smartphone gamers. After all, hardcore gamers would always like to play their games on consoles, as the raw power and display size of mobile devices wouldn’t beat consoles in anyway. But casual gamers need their devices to play games on their commutes and short breaks.
The main things that give console games an upper hand over mobile games in the present environment are majorly battery life, storage availability, and the bigger screens. But with VR glasses, cloud storage and other improved alternatives coming into the scene, mobile games are not going to be held back.
Very recently, the trend has been shifted to multi platform games. This could mean that consoles and mobiles may collaborate with newer technologies like wearables such as Apple watch, Android Wear, and Google Glass and will continue to change how we play games. Imagine yourself starting to play a game such as FIFA 15 on your Smartphone, and continuing to play it on your console and moving on to play it from your PC – that is what cross platform gaming is all about.
What would be the future of consoles?
The future of console games cannot be exactly predicted for now. Strictly speaking, whether the console games will evolve or die is something that time needs to show us. But if the console games do die, that will be because of some revolutionary discovery in the field of mobile game development. Otherwise, the possibilities and capabilities of both console and mobile are very immense. One may overpower the other, or they may augment each other.
If we consider what happened in history, the chances are high that new genres of games and introduction of new technologies may replace existing ecosystems. Or the console games may even undergo extensive facelifts through some serious R&D steps and incorporate new ways to satisfy it’s cutomer preferences. Taking into account the current trends, we can conclude that mobile games wouldn’t replace console games, but each of them will explore two different niches.