According to BGR.com, the video gaming market is in a continual slump with no end in sight. Video games are simply not selling as well as they did in the past. Worse, many video game console manufactures may have a limited grasp of the reality of the current gaming market. The result is an increasingly out of touch base of video game manufactures that may be heading over the market cliff.
Today’s gaming market is in a potentially great change from large, expensive blockbuster games sold via DVD and Blu-ray discs to smaller games consisting of a multitude of gaming content downloads or DLCs. Casual gaming has taken off for smartphones and tablets. Games are no longer produced for one console or system but are developed for multiple systems. The gaming market is switching to a new model where games are ever evolving entities that can be updated, expanded, and transformed by a gamer’s wishes and wallet.
While companies such as Steam, Apple, and others helped produce a viable market for games consisting of a number of downloads paid for by customers, the older, more traditional gaming market is still being promoted as a viable platform by Sony and Microsoft. Furthermore, the continued growth of gaming on the mobile gaming platforms continues to grow while the traditional video gaming market shrinks. The question begs to be asked, are video game console manufactures just not getting it?
While both Sony and Microsoft have implemented DLC type pay for downloadable content, both are still betting on the continued viability of large, expensive games that cost upwards of $60 TO $70. While the production of million dollar games that require sometimes years of development can be stunning to view and expensive to buy, they are often cost prohibitive to recoup development costs. Many video games drop in price after their initial launch. Competing with less expensive and smaller games, many development studios are seeking to develop less costly games that can recoup costs at a greater rate.
Today’s gaming market seems to be showing this trend. Many gamers are buying so called “casual” games that can cost less than $10 while others are seeking out games that are made out of DLC or content blocks to add to a game already purchased. Many gamers are now purchasing pieces of games and adding on content as they play through the game’s storyline. The result has been a growing market for smaller, piece mail games that can be expanded and transformed with new updates. Instead of large games purchased all at once, today’s games are appearing to be more like complex organisms that continually grow with new cells in the form of DLC mods or updates.
The fact that Sony, along with other manufacturers, are still seeking technologies to limit the use of video games on their consoles ultimately presents a company simply out of touch with the gaming market. With the rumored Sony PS4 and Microsoft’s possibly named Xbox 760 in the works, both companies appear to be stuck in the last decade’s model of gaming. Both companies continue to promote the development of large games that cost upwards of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to produce. The continue change of the gaming market away from big blockbuster type games may well leave the next Xbox or PlayStation simply too much gaming hardware for games that are distinctly smaller than those of past years.
Worse yet, both companies are spending an extended length of development for their next generation machines. By over-extending the time frame of their current systems, both Sony and Microsoft may be waiting too long to wring out the most profits from their present systems. Both companies have experience a loss of video game sales according to the article ““Video game sales decline for the 11th consecutive month” on BGR.com. As the gaming market continues to change and grow in new directions, both manufactures continue with the belief that they can simply change the market according their wishes and their gaming hardware. However, without a large consumer base interested in their console’s games, both companies may be creating machines without a market.
Perhaps one historical example was the 3DO M2 game system. The M2 was an upgraded, next generation video game system to surplant the 3DO developed in the early 1990s. Manufacturers such as Panasonic simply waiting too long to bring the console to market before the competition moved beyond the intended market for the M2 system. At the time of expected release of the M2, the video game market had begun to change from from 2D to 3D games. The M2, developed with advanced 2D visuals, was longer cutting edge upon its expected release. In the end the Sony PlayStation had taken over the market while the M2 was shelved.
The big video game console manufactures might want to look at several new video game consoles such as the Ouya. The Ouya is a crowd funded console being developed with hundreds to thousands of developers. Based on the Android OS, the small video game console will run smaller, less graphically intense games such as those found on today’s smartphones and tablets. The console is also not alone in this new console market. Another Android based video game console called the “Game Stick” which is being developed by Smart TV according to Anthony DeAgnello on Digital Trends. The Game Stick which also will run similar games as found on the Ouya. Both systems have garnered significant press with their development tools and impending releases.
What makes both the Ouya and the Game Stick so provocative? Both are betting on the changing gaming market that has turned more towards smaller games being produced on the iOS and Android operating systems for tablets and smartphones. With the explosion of the gaming markets for smartphones and tablets growing exponentially, many companies are looking at ways to bring this type of gaming to the living room TV.
Today’s major console manufactures may want to keep an eye on these systems. Regardless of their success, the mere fact that millions were crowd funded by independent donations for the Ouya reveals a great deal of interest in such systems. The Ouya and the Gaming Stick, or their counterparts, might well be the next generation of video game consoles.
Ultimately, the gaming consumer may have the last word.