While it's always possible that consoles may become a thing of the past, the odds of that happening aren't good, at least after Sony reported 10 million PS4 units being sold in to consumers. The situation in Japan, however, is bleak and the console market there is all but dead.
The Western markets are healthy and fully engaged with both the PS4 and Xbox One. PlayStation Europe head Jim Ryan said he is not one who subscribes to the theory that the decaying console market in Japan is any indication of something that will happen in Western markets.
"No, I think taking market trends in one part of the world and extrapolating them, particularly when it’s Japan or the Far East, is usually not a wise thing to do. And I just look at the momentum that we have in the Western world and… your point about the release schedule over the summer is fair. But the roster between now and Christmas and then into 2015, many of which are the games you whined on about slipping the last time we met," Ryan said.
This is sort of one of those myths that exists. Some people in an interview will say the home console market will die, and they even said that prior to the PS4 and Xbox One launching. We all know how that has turned out for both systems since they both debuted last November. The PS4 is on a frantic pace for selling systems and with the holiday 2014 lineup ahead, things are going to heat up even more.
The myth we tend to hear about consoles dying away comes from one off interviews where some person will try and predict the future. It tends to just be a headline and nothing more, and in the case of this new-generation, the industry has proven just that.
We are getting close to the end of the major summer drought of games, but will we ever see a summer time period busy with new game releases? Ryan spoke about this and then mentioned that it's up to each publisher what they wish to do with games and the amount of risk involved.
"I agree that in an ideal world there certainly would’ve been more games released over the course of the summer. And it can be a successful, and dare I say profitable, time for publishers to release games.
"The publishers are all independent businesses and will release their games when it makes sense for them. I will just say that with the next generation, budgets are now so big that people simply can’t afford to release a game if it’s undercooked," Ryan said.
One of the ways that could be used to help fill the summer dry spell is for developers to schedule betas during the time period. We already saw that happen with games like Destiny and The Crew, not to mention Evolve's brief alpha that went on. Sure it's not a fully released game, but it's better than nothing. The gaming industry continues to evolve and it'll be interesting to see what we're talking about this time next year.