With Sony joining the current generation of consoles this year and Microsoft doing the same we will very soon see three consoles struggle to rise to the heights of their predecessors and perhaps even surpass them. Last generation saw Nintendo lead with 90+ million Wiis sold and had Sony and Microsoft duke it out for the second spot, with both the 360 and the PS3 selling upwards of 70 million units. Not bad sales wise eh? With a total sales figure of over 230 million units the last generation of consoles was the best selling one yet and the software sales matched this with billion dollar franchises such as Guitar Hero (R.I.P) and Call of Duty dragging the games industry into competition with Hollywood.
That being said though the last generation was by no means perfect. In their accidental but highly successful quest to capture the casual gaming market Nintendo alienated most hardcore gamers and most third party publishers. This leaves them with the immense task of finding their place in a console industry that no longer dominates the casual market and is largely dominated by huge third party, multi-platform releases. Sony on the other hand suffered immeasurable losses which were in no way helped by the fact that the PS3 had an abysmal launch (oh the arrogance of Sony!) and Microsoft flirted dangerously closely with the casual market using Kinect and lost the attention of many gamers (myself included) for quite some time.
Add to this the rise of mobile and tablet gaming, as well as downloadable gaming, indie gaming, PC gaming and cloud gaming and well, many people predicted the fall of the console industry. Indeed it is widely considered that this generation may very well be the last time we see a plastic box (we haven’t even seen Sony and Microsoft’s yet guys, slow down!).
Wait a minute, the console and games industry is bigger and reaches more people and places than ever and people think it’s on the brink of death?
Nope, not getting it.
Sure game and hardware sales are down but that’s because people are waiting for Sony and Microsoft to catch up with this generation. Sure Game sales are dropping but that’s because people are waiting for games to be released for the Wii U, PS4 and Xbox 720. And sure the PC is on the rise and Valve think the market is really going places but they still have the seemingly insurmountable barrier to entry that is cost. Ultimately the console industry is doing fine. Yes it has problems; it has always and will always have some sort of problem. But is in a state of near death crisis? Absolutely not.
I do not believe for a second that the console industry is as doomed as people say it is and even if the plastic box goes away you can rest assured that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will keep the games coming and that’s what matters for the industry since, you know, it’s the games industry. Even if Sony have consoles inbuilt into their TVs, it’s still a form of console so the industry will live on and I doubt Microsoft is willing to stop just yet and Nintendo pretty much are the console industry because it is what they do, pure and simple.
So calm down, hop on your console, and look forward to whatever comes next. It won’t be that bad.