We’ve talked a lot about the coming demise of dedicated gaming consoles as mobile gaming takes over. And long-time video game industry analyst Michael Pachter seems to share the same views. In a talk at VentureBeat’s GamesBeat 2015 conference, Pachter talks about how essentially, consoles don’t need to exist. But don’t freak out. Your favorite experiences won’t necessarily go away. Pachter says:
Now let’s fast forward 30 years later … we all have a monitor in our home. We all have a CPU and a GPU. It might be a tablet. It might be a laptop. It’s going to be the iPad Pro. It’ll be the Surface Pro. So once we have that, all we’re really missing is the controller and then wait for all that stuff to talk. And the way that stuff will talk is Chromecast. The AppleTV. So it is very easy to replicate the console experience with a CPU and GPU combo that is pretty damned competitive with current generation consoles. We won’t be there with the iPhone 6S, but we’ll be there with the iPhone 9.
The entire article is worth reading for his thoughts, as I think he’s pretty spot-on. He talks about how “if you want to play Call of Duty, and you don’t want to buy a console because you can’t justify the investment to play one game, we’ll sell it to you a different way. It’s coming. That is happening." Which is true – the big experiences aren’t necessarily going to go away, just the way that we play them will.
Though, I also think that it might be an interesting transitory next few years. Companies are pretty clearly gearing up for a free-to-play shift. You see more elements that started to pop up in mobile games a few years ago – currencies, RPG-style character management, mission systems, microtransactions – coming to prominence in console games. Destiny in particular feels like it’s a stepping stone to “games as a service" that we’ve seen with something like Clash of Clans (Free) which is constantly updated and upgraded.
It’s an interesting time for the gaming industry, for sure.