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Death of Consoles and rise of smartphones- For real?

Death of Consoles and rise of smartphones-  For real?

Monday July 13, 2020,

5 min Read

It’s around 30 years now that Nintendo released its popular handheld console ‘the Game Boy’. Almost two decades since the Super Famicom was launched? And what about the first-generation PlayStation? From PlayStation 2 to Xbox, there are so many names we could say – and you’d still think we’ve merely begun scratching the surface. A melange of nostalgia and excitement rushes through, just by their mention.

But what if we were to tell you, they’re all dead? Or probably have become a thing of the past?

For decades, video game developers have been using blockbuster titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Madden, and Halo to be profitable – simply after selling those consoles at a massive loss. Today, cell phones and social media are reshaping the very fabric of gaming. Consequently, franchises like these are not enough to sustain growth expectations of console businesses.

The number of users accessing the internet from their mobiles have crossed the number of users accessing it from computers. As advanced network and connection technologies make the Internet more accessible to every mobile user, the gaming industry needs to focus deeper into the benefits that they offer.

With around 2bn gamers across the globe today and more than 45% relying on their smartphones, it’s safe to say that the pylon holding up the world of gaming is smartphones – and it is time to say goodbye to consoles. Petabytes of data racing through gamers’ smartphones, however, have firms scurrying to gather the most audacious patterns possible – to derive actionable insights and deliver what audiences like the most.

Take homePlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG) sold over 16mn copies in a few month’s periods. With more than 1.5mn concurrent players, it has become the bestselling game for 3 consecutive years. Let’s talk about the future of gaming, shall we?

 Well, the couch-gaming experience, as we call it, was dead way before, here are a few ‘trends of the past’ –

·        Wii Sports sold around 83mn units globally and was the bestselling console game in 2018 – and today, Nintendo has revealed a 17% cut in its Wii U game console.

·        Consoles sales increased by 6% in 2016 despite no latest consoles being introduced.

·        Until 2012, mobile gaming industry struggled for sales and credibility – in spite of iPhone and the App Store!

·        By 2015, millions of devices in Europe, Japan, and North America started relying on in-app purchases – this was the time when Puzzle and Dragons and Clash of Clans picked up popularity, generating millions of dollars regularly.

·        The 2015’s IDATE DigiWorld report revealed that the revenue of handheld consoles would go down by 28% in 2018 – and it came out to be right.

·        By 2017, around 25% of Xbox One users were using it to stream TV shows and movies.

Around 45% of gamers prefer smartphones over consoles, if a recent study by mobile-based agency Tappable has to be believed. The report further states that the ease of use and convenience are two major drivers behind the success of mobile phones-based gaming. And not to forget – the graphical ability, variety of games available, in-depth stories, virtual and augmented reality, and processing power just add more flavors to the experience. Who knew these factors would be enough for people to bid goodbye to their favorite consoles – Well, such is life, folks!

While at it, for all of you, presenting the current trends in the mobile gaming industry - Don’t get excited already! –

·        United States tops the list of mobile session shares with 20%, followed by the Indians with around 15% of shares.

·        The gaming apps revenue is expected to grow by 46% in 2020 from around 42bn USD in 2016.

·        The trend of 360-degree games will increase. While brands including Bin Weevils, Moshi Monsters, and Angry birds have already seen a boom – Disney Infinity, Nintendo’s Amiibo and Sky landers are going to lead the way.

·         Around 74% of app revenue come from gaming apps – which is expected to grow by 2021, opposed to the non-gaming apps.

·        Around 4 bn people are expected to be playing just mobile games in 2020.

Well, if these figures didn’t surprise you, we don’t know what will.

Gaming, in its entire life cycle, has never been this close to the customer behavior.

This reminds us of Google, which is on the way to launch the ‘Netflix of Gaming’, called Stadia. It’ll let developers build games on the web allowing players to choose actions on the same platform negating the need of consoles or computers. While many of the Chinese and western PC games are now being re-imagined for mobile, the Indian market is trying to, find its voice too with the advent of social media and mobile based games. 

“Technology should adapt to people, not the other way round.” - Sundar Pichai at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Removes the last shred of doubt that the all-pervasive presence of mobile gaming is only set to grow at faster pace than ever before.