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Mobile Gaming Will Kill Consoles? Not Likely

So this is happening again. A few articles about how mobile gaming is on the rise and will kill console gaming, a few videos on youtube with people who believe that and list off why they think so, and everyone ignoring that every reason they're giving is either a repeat of history, or defeats the purpose of mobile gaming.

We've heard it all. How smart tvs are going to come out with integrated gaming hardware, or a set top box will, or something other than a dedicated gaming console will come out and destroy consoles with help from mobile devices that are "as powerful as a GTX 780" or some other such nonsense. It's funny how people who say this are either too young to know, or completely forget, that those "threats" to console gaming are as old as console gaming.

Anyone growing up in even the NES era has seen the countless devices that could play game content and weren't consoles. Hell, mobile gaming was a threat to console gaming since before Gameboy came out. Now I know what some of you are going to say, "that's not the same thing because they weren't nearly as powerful as mobile devices today." True, but history has shown us that power doesn't mean anything when it comes to gaming (except to PC gamers).

There is big money in dedicated gaming consoles. There has been for decades. It's cheaper than mobile gaming because a mobile device that can boast an attempt at playing quality, console-esque games is, funnily enough, more expensive than a console that can do better justice for games than that device. Consoles are more practical, as you don't have to worry about how fragile they are in comparison to a mobile device (and face it, they're fragile as sh*t), nor do you have to worry about battery life for anything other than your controller, and you aren't straining your eyes when you game on a tv or even a monitor.

This segues into "you'll be able to hook up your mobile device to a tv via hdmi and connect a controller to the device as well." No one sees an issue with that? That defeats the purpose of "mobile" gaming and yet still carries the same problems as it. Do you want to hook up your phone, with its limited battery life, to your tv and take the chance that you'll be able to get a decent gaming experience that's worth your time?

Side Note: I once heard a long time ago about some engineering principle or law that applies to small devices. I can't for the life of me remember what it was, so I'm posting this side note for anyone who may know what I'm talking about and could post it in the comments. In any case, don't quote me on this because it's been a long time. What I heard is that with small tech there is a ceiling in terms of capability vs. power (as in battery life) and that unless a new source of energy is discovered or invented, that ceiling for small mobile tech will prevent any advancements one day. I could be very wrong about this, but it was on TechTV back when it was good so you know how long ago that was.

Continuing on, I'd like to reiterate how history is ever present in this issue. It's amazing how many people ignore that "all-in-one" devices aren't some kind of new technology that just sprung up out of nowhere. How many of you had a tv with a built in vhs/dvd combo? How wonderful was it when the VHS part broke and rendered your whole tv a piece of junk? This idea that an all-in-one mobile device is somehow better than a dedicated device is, like I said, not a new concept. It also ignores the huge problems associated with incorporating more and more tech into one device and expecting it to work the same as, or better, than something designed from the ground up to do one thing and do it well.

There will never be a phone or a tablet specifically designed for gaming. Oh sure, they'll have gaming capabilities, but they won't be focused on gaming. Count on mobile games never matching the quality of consoles or PCs in some fashion. Whether that be graphics, A.I., physics, tactile feedback, immersion, whatever. When technology is designed from the first chip up to do one thing well, it always does that one thing better than something that was designed to do everything and have all that tech crammed into one device. We've seen this before people.

Mobile gaming may come into its own in terms of gaming, cloud streaming may be a cool feature many many years from now when someone forces ISPs to loosen their grip on bandwidth and infrastructure is vastly improved, but console gaming is still worth a lot of money and is still far more convenient and practical than either of those two so don't expect them to be dying any time soon.

PC gamers, you know what I'm talking about. How many times have you all heard the same about PC gaming and the infinite number of reasons/excuses given for that? Has it happened yet? Exactly.

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SilentNegotiator1693d ago

"Bu, bu, but Infinity Blade! Everyone is going to give up their console for an iPad!"

DragonKnight1693d ago

Perfectly sums up all the garbage I've been seeing lately about this. +Bubbles.

s45gr321693d ago

Please explain, I don't understand your statement are you being sarcastic.

SilentNegotiator1692d ago

....YES, I am being sarcastic.

So many dull journalists took a look at Infinity Blade and claimed that mobile gaming was ready to start taking over console gaming.

And thanks to the fact that the 7th gen was just meeting its peak at the time, these same journalists think that they were right just because 7th gen consoles/games are selling less (as the 7th gen ends) and Wii U isn't doing well.

dedicatedtogamers1692d ago (Edited 1692d ago )

If you look at the long-term trend (over the last 10 years or so), mobile gaming is indeed cutting into "traditional" gaming. But it isn't console gaming and it isn't dedicated handheld gaming to any large degree (with the DS and PSP, we just finished the biggest handheld generation of all time).

Wanna know what it's cutting into?

PC gaming.

A very large portion of the early 2000s PC crowd played the very same sort of quick mini-games that are now popular on mobiles. PopCap games ring a bell? How'd they make their millions? And now that crowd has migrated to their phones.

Pragmatically speaking, mobile phones are portable PCs (no coincidence that entry-level laptop sales have seen year-over-year decline since the iPad was first introduced). They perform the same "job" that most people use/used PCs for, and that includes gaming. It is the "casual" PC market - not consoles - that is being killed by mobile phones.

SilentNegotiator1692d ago

Definitely an interesting take. One that I don't hear often.

s45gr321692d ago

Wow never thought about that

darthv721693d ago (Edited 1693d ago )

Maybe "kill" is the wrong word but if a company can take the idea of doing more with less then it will be Sony.

Consoles are getting smaller or at least have the potential to get smaller due to the internal designs. The big part of a console is the physical media drive.

By eliminating that you can reduce the overall physical size of the unit. But then how do we play the games??? we play them through downloadable methods or streaming.

As I said, if a company is able to do more with less it would be sony. Think of the vita tv as a test market for what could be the future of gaming. Microconsoles arent new but they lack the real brand recognition behind them to get the consumer support.

Sony could very well be seeing how well the vita tv does before investing more heavily into their infrastructure for delivering games via their own service. their service will grow and evolve but it is really dependent on consumer response.

if there is an overwhelming positive response to the idea of downloadable games we could see less and less physical releases. with less physical releases comes the idea that there would be no need for a physical media drive.

So mobility has, in a way, sort of brought to the front the idea that has always been in the back of peoples minds for years. Taking console quality entertainment but making it fit in the palm of your hand. Whether that means playing games on a phone or tablet (which are getting more powerful) or playing the games on a microconsole (like the vita tv and possible successor) the inevitable future seems to be we will be able to do more with less.

So mobile gaming is not out to kill console gaming but the idea of a convergence of the two is not that far out of the realm of possibility. The success of such an endeavor is really at the mercy of the right company to make it happen. For that i dont really see apple leading the way or MS or even nintendo. I can see sony though, they have the know how, they have the content and they have the connections AND they have the name/brand that people trust.

in the end, lets not close our minds to the idea but keep them open to the possibility that it can be done right by the right people.

DragonKnight1693d ago

Seems Andrew House agrees with both of us.

"As shown during the presentation at Tokyo Game Show, the future House envisions isn’t one in which consoles are pitched against smartphones, but one where there’s a “fusion” between the two."

PopRocks3591693d ago

Oy. The markets are hardly similar. People who buys games on phone generally are not big gamers. Just because phones play games does not mean they are games for big gamers (although I've noticed that some mobile games try to cater to that crowd).

There will always be a market for dedicated gaming devices. The 3DS and PS4 pre-orders have already proven this.

Ghostdogg1692d ago

Mobile gaming for me is a great way to pass time other than that I will do most of my gaming on console or PC

s45gr321692d ago

I,I agree in regards that mobile gaming room service to pass the time. With that said I am very disappointed that more and more console games are getting less and less and less videogame content like mini games, alternate paths, hidden passages, hidden levels. The other downside to console gaming is console gamers are paying more and more like dlc or microtransanctions, online passes, the club membership to play online. Is ridiculous, people that buy mobile games for their phone only pay $1.00 or nothing. PC gamers pay nickels and dimes for the same games that are available on consoles with better performance visual fidelity, and mods. So I ask myself what is the point of paying online gaming when lag still running rampant, disconnections still occur, plus the servers are owned by third party game developers meaning if EA, Activision, Capcom, Namco and company decide to shut down the servers that is it no more online gaming for that game. I also ask why pay $60.00 plus tax for games or $110.00 (if you live in Australia) when the gamer has still to pay to play online, DlC and microtransanctions. Console gamers are getting con by these corporations; they just don't want to admit it

Ghostdogg1692d ago

I definitely agree with you on that i remember when you got a game (well a good game any way) you get all this extra content for free as sort of like a thank you for buying my game. Now it is more like" I know you just spent 60+ dollars on my game now buy this "dlc" to make it a complete package even though its locked on the disc." That's right I'm Talkin about you Capcom

s45gr321692d ago

Yikes the blogger on the defensive, anyhow I ask is it possible to sell a console with 10 cores and 10gbs of ram at $400.00 no is not. Consoles have reached the limits of hardware. The whole point for Sony and Microsoft investment on cloud computing technology was to move from selling hardware into selling a service. Basically, to execute and succeed on what Onlive failed and that is able to stream games directly from your television set. That will happen five years from now.
Now a smartphone is basically a micro computer at the palm of your hand or what people like to call phablets. Okay I have the LG motion smartphone it has a 3.5 in screen. It does have a dual core processor surprisingly though it can run Netflix, Crunchyroll, etc. Even more impressive is the fact it can read pdf files so with it I have my college textbooks, my personal novels, magazines, even able to edit my word documents. That's the power of the smartphone something that my PS3 is unable to do it. Consoles are a luxury item and not only that but consoles are only good for gaming. Still lack behind cellphones when it comes to non gaming tasks who knows five or two years from now we might see mobile gaming on par with consoles.........

EXVirtual1692d ago

If consoles have reached their limits. then how are the much smaller smartphones going to completely outclass them in terms of specs without the use of quantum physics?

s45gr321690d ago

The key here is consoles cannot cost more than $400.00. Which is one of the major reasons as to consoles reaching their hardware limits. Second is the fact that consoles are terrible when it comes to non gaming related tasks. A smartphone on the other hand there is no limit to the cost of the phone which gives engineers to micro size the parts inside the phone without worrying about passing a price ceiling ($400.00). Second a smartphone is technically equivalent to your OEM from over clocking your gaming PC, to reading your College textbooks, magazines, manga, movies, etc along with a desktop equivalent browser and that's just on a dual core smartphone. Imagine on a 8 core smartphone.
In a lot of ways looking at the vita which is capable of running PS4 games. All Sony needs to do is release the xperia play mixed with the PSP gaming library and voila new gaming tablet.

DragonKnight1692d ago

"Yikes the blogger on the defensive, anyhow I ask is it possible to sell a console with 10 cores and 10gbs of ram at $400.00 no is not."

Going straight to the ridiculous and implausible argument shows a weak argument is about to arrive.

"Consoles have reached the limits of hardware."

No they haven't. To make such a claim is to also say that PCs have reached the limits of hardware and you'll be laughed in the face for saying that.

"The whole point for Sony and Microsoft investment on cloud computing technology was to move from selling hardware into selling a service."

No it wasn't. It was an addition, not a transition. Neither Microsoft nor Sony have made any claim that they'd stop selling hardware, and they won't considering the level of control it gives them to do so.

"Basically, to execute and succeed on what Onlive failed and that is able to stream games directly from your television set. That will happen five years from now."

Keep the dream alive. You won't see it in 5 years. At least not in a mainstream availability capacity. The bandwidth and infrastructure doesn't exist and isn't affordable.

"That's the power of the smartphone something that my PS3 is unable to do it."

*golf clap* So the PS3 can stream Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, etc... but because it can't read your .pdf files it's the end of consoles right? Yeah ok.

"Consoles are a luxury item and not only that but consoles are only good for gaming. Still lack behind cellphones when it comes to non gaming tasks who knows five or two years from now we might see mobile gaming on par with consoles........."

And? Why should consoles do literally everything? I can tell by the fact that you stated you go to college that you're a young'un so you probably haven't experienced this yet but, when you make technology do more and more things, you take more and more risks. We won't ever see mobile gaming on par with a dedicated gaming device. The most mobile can equal to is possibly graphics, but you'll never have the same experience until you take the mobile out of it. Even dedicated handheld devices don't match console gaming in a complete experience but they are the closest that mobile gaming will get to because they are dedicated to it.

History is repeating itself. This isn't the first time people have been saying an all-in-one device is better than a dedicated one because of everything it can do. Then, when those all-in-one devices have lesser experiences and greater risks of becoming useless when a miniscule aspect stops working, we'll see another emergence of a dedicated device proving what we already know.

Garrison1692d ago

It's funny that you mention that "Consoles have reached the limits of hardware."

Which is completely true. They have reached the limits of what a 400 dollar console in the year 2013 can do. That's all.
Same which every console that has ever launched in the history of videogames, that console launches with the best hardware it can at the time that it exists on according to the price it wants to achieve.

The whole point of cloud computing is to provide streaming services which are great and who knows if they will replace "some" consoles should companies decide to go there but never the whole of console gaming.

The cloud still works on hardware itself, gpus are being used to make gakai and onlive run on them. And as long as other people want and can afford something better or different than what you've got then there will be a market for it. Which is why even with a dozen streaming movie services blue ray sales are just fine.

Saying that gaming machines are behind cell-phone tasks is like saying my toaster is behind on social media apps. I don't think console gamers think about editing their college documents when they turn on wii u's to play Mario.

dredgewalker1691d ago

The problem with smartphones is the same with pc's. They don't have a unified architecture so most games don't perform at more optimized levels. Consoles don't have that problem and doesn't need superior hardware most of the times.

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