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Ngmoco’s Ben Cousins predicts the death of consoles

Thursday, 8th March 2012 13:45 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Much like movie theaters when the television was introductory to the home, gaming consoles on the decline as customers “move to a new solution” and to Ngmoco’s Ben Cousins the new solution are mobile and mobile platforms.

Speaking during GDC at a track attended by Gamasutra, Cousins believes gaming consoles will slowly disappear as the shift to on-the-go becomes more prominent.

“I believe that mobile devices and mobile platforms are the disruptive technologies that are going to cut a slice through the Western market,” says Cousins, a former DICE and EA executive.

Using Japan’s DeNA and GREE mobile services as an example in Japan, the two outperform console software in revenue, and the same trend is happening in the west. Apple, Google, and Facebook have a combined market of $793 billion compared to the $306 billion combined for the Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo markets.

Cousins said the failure of uDraw was another indication of the shift especially, due to the kids game market being overrun with the shift to mobile gaming.

While he believes mobile games don’t pack the power punch console gamers prefer, “chips are getting cheaper and low power enough” to eventually allow mobile to walk on even ground with console. Plus, with “console gamers spending more and more of their time on mobile devices,” things will change “soon.”

As with movie theaters being decimated by the advent of television, in order to survive, game companies need to shift content over to where the consumers are: just as film studios embraced the flickering box and DVDs.

Games, according to Cousins, must evolve with the consumer, something the industry has experience with: in the 70s and 80s arcades were all the rage but when the 90s hit, the games moved into the home.

It didn’t matter that consoles screens and controls incomparable to the tech in arcades – consumers lapped them up.

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2 Comments

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  1. OlderGamer

    The thing a lot of people seem to not see is that markets often times overlap. Just becauuse I might have a mobile product, doesn’t mean that I just sold all of my console stuff. And no one is going to not buy a tablet if they wanted one just because they have a PS3.

    Demographics overlap.

    And in some cases may well enhance each others sales. How many PSP/Vita owners picked one up BECAUSE they already own a PS3 and want to use them together?

    I think consoles will prolly becomes mobile at some point. Meaning that they can be so small they can travel. Maybe even have screens/controls on them. Yet still hook up to the living room big Screen TV and use wireless controlers. If the Vita did this is would be a huge win for Sony. But I highly doubt anyone is going to replace dedicated game systems with a smart phone or tablet.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. fearmonkey

    Maybe when everyone has an internet connection fast enough to run an onlive service at home, but other than that, I cannot see consoles going away.
    I like that they improve mobile devices every year, but consoles are still my favorite gaming machines, with PC 2nd.
    Mobile devices suck at controls (except Vita), and I cannot see anyone taking them serious.

    What I can see happening before ONlive type services take over is sort of what of what the Wii-U is doing. Maybe have a mobile tablet device the console streams to allowing you to play games on a small device but the console is doing all the work. Sony could do that with the Vita, Nintendo is doing that with the Wii-U, and MS could have that with Windows 8 tablets.

    #2 2 years ago