Console Wars and the Future of Gaming
The video game industry has always been a market in which only two or three consoles could survive at a time. This has led to the market being very competitive. But, why is there so much hostility amongst gamers and their consoles? The answer is most likely how the consoles are marketed.
Console Wars: A Brief History
The start of the console wars might be Sega’s entrance into the North American home gaming market. Sega employed a very aggressive ad campaign that included the phrase “GENESIS DOES WHAT NINTENDON’T.”
Sony ended up putting an end to this war, because Sega was not able to compete with the PlayStation 2. Around the same time, Microsoft entered the gaming market starting a second console war that endures to this day. However, the future of cross-platform animosity might be coming to an end with the advent of cloud gaming.
According to a survey by the market research firm DFC Intelligence, 46% of video gamers play games on the computer. PC gamers are often thought of as hardcore gamers, but the reality is half of the people who play games play them on their computers.
One reason that PC gaming is so prevalent is that most people have a computer. The computer might run like a potato, but for games with low requirements that can be enough.
For hardcore gamers, PC games offer a lot more control compared to other forms of gaming. Games can develop a community of modders that will develop more in-game content. This can provide hundreds of additional hours to the player, and most mods are free. A young developer gets the chance to prove their talent and the community gets to enjoy their creations.
Computers can also be upgraded slowly over time as the need arises. Adding additional RAM or SSD memory is not difficult in most cases. So, consumers don’t need to buy a completely new computer when one part is obsolete.
PC games also have a variety of pricing structures and marketplaces. Steam, GOG, and the Epic Game store are all competing as marketplaces for PC games. However, there is nothing that would prevent a person from using all three services. This means, even if there is a title that is an exclusive release on a particular marketplace, players can play it on the same computer.
There are also a lot of free multiplayer games for PC. Many online multiplayer game developers can make a sustainable income by selling cosmetic items in a cash shop. Free-to-play games are controversial with hardcore gamers due to their pricing strategies. But, they do allow people to try the game before spending any money.
The Future for PC Games
Historically, the trends for PC games have always been toward bigger rigs, faster clock rates, and higher resolution. Virtual reality is a feature that many industry professionals thought would have been commonplace by now. However, most now expect VR to be a long-term industry and a Ready Player One future is still at least decades away.
On the other hand, most insiders now are thinking that the next big thing is cloud gaming. Cloud gaming would make it so PC requirements are a thing of the past. In theory, a good Internet connection would allow you to play any game on any device.
According to the same survey by DFC Intelligence, only 8% of people worldwide identify as active console gamers. The console gaming industry is very dedicated and is more popular in Japan and the North American markets. Consoles are easy to use. All the customer needs to do is plug the console in and start playing. They don’t need to know about their system’s specifications or worry about if their GPU’s drivers are up-to-date.
Console games are optimized by the time they reach consumers and the game selection is very diverse. Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation consoles have been the major players in the console wars since the early 2000s. Each generation, the new consoles are essentially the same in terms of processing power. The two companies, therefore, try to distinguish themselves with console-exclusive games and services.
Nintendo, on the other hand, doesn’t want to be in direct competition with the other two consoles. The Switch provides a handheld gaming experience that can double as a party system that provides fun for the whole family. This sets it apart from other console competitors and in some ways PC gaming as well.
One major shortcoming of the current Nintendo Switch model is its lack of BlueTooth. However, this can be fixed by buying a BlueTooth adapter that can fit in either the 3.5mm headphone jack or the USB-C port.
However, the key problem for consoles is that their capabilities lurch forward every time a new console is released. Near the end of a generation’s lifespan, consoles underperform. Game developers often focus on the new system and players need to wait for the new system to be released. This issue is more obvious for the PlayStation and Xbox than it is for Nintendo. After all, Nintendo never uses graphics as the main selling point for their consoles.
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According to a survey conducted by NPD, 65% of Americans play games on their phone regularly. This is an increase of 12% since the COVID-19 outbreak started. People are spending more time at home than ever before, it is no wonder that a majority of us are playing games on our phones.
Mobile games are easy to pick up and play and some of them can be very addicting. Most mobile games are free, but this is one of the key sticking points for hardcore games. Despite the fact that these games are often free, they also generate more profit than traditional AAA games. They are cheap to make and this means that the developer doesn’t risk very much if the game is a flop.
Hardcore gamers are afraid that the studio will focus too heavily on free-to-play games. These games have a heavy emphasis on restricting the player to force them to pay to get past these restrictions. These kinds of games make a lot of money, but can be frustrating for a player that doesn’t want to be constantly spending small amounts of money. This frustration can be seen on full display when Blizzard announced Diablo Immortals for mobile.
So, are mobile gamers “real gamers?” Of course, but not everyone is looking for the same experience. It should be noted that mobile games are becoming more and more sophisticated. ARK: Survival Evolved, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Black Dessert: Mobile are some examples of mobile spin-offs of existing franchises on other platforms.
While the mobile experience is different, it is something that serious gamers can still respect. If you want to maximize your mobile gaming experience, you need to try the HiTune T2 Wireless Earbuds. Their 60ms latency is so minimal that you won’t be able to detect it. They also feature a gaming mode that will help you maximize your experience.
The Stadia platform
Cloud gaming is something that is becoming a hot topic on gaming websites and magazines. Most claim that it is the future of gaming, however, Stadia is the only cloud gaming platform that is available and it has underperformed.
How Does Cloud Gaming Work?
Despite some road bumps along the way, Google has stood by the Stadia and continued to support it. Although some games had input lag or were unavailable on higher graphical settings. Google has steadily made improvements to their technology.
With the release of Cyberpunk 2077, most gamers were rightfully disappointed. However, something that got overlooked is how well the game ran on Stadia. This is a good indication of the future of this technology.
Ideally, Stadia and other cloud gaming services will be the ultimate gaming device. According to an update Google published, the company is happy with the technology and is confident about Stadia’s future. The Stadia can now stream games to iOS devices as well, so the future of cloud gaming looks optimistic.
The Future of Console Wars
Most industry analysts are predicting that in the next ten years, cloud gaming services will replace traditional consoles. The prospect of being able to use your tablet or phone for a AAA gaming experience is very tempting. It could also mean that gamers won’t have to update their rigs every time a new game has a high spec requirement.
Still, a total replacement of the current gaming platforms isn’t going to happen. PC gamers have invested a lot of time and money into their game libraries. Console gamers are also extremely loyal, so hardcore fans of a specific console may wait until a cloud gaming platform is available from that brand.