EA founder claims console market is becoming niche

By Dave Cook, Friday, 12 October 2012 10:11 GMT

EA founder Trip Hawkins has explained why he feels the console market is shrinking down to a ‘hobby business’, while the PC and mobile sectors will continue to boom.

Speaking with IGN, Hawkins – who founded EA in 1982 – stated, “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,” he continued, “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,” he stressed, “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.”

Another reason Hawkins believes consoles will become niche is that people can play games on more devices and through more content streams than that box in your living room.

“Games are going everywhere,” he 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.”

What’s your take? Is Hawkins on the money with this, or are consoles just going through a transitional phase?

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