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Sony, Microsoft Squabble Over Console Features, But the Real Opponent Is Apple

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the someone-out-there-must-care dept.

Android 315

Nerval's Lobster writes "Now that Microsoft and Sony have unveiled their respective next-generation gaming consoles, the two companies have cheerfully resorted to firing broadsides at each other. Whether the current brouhaha has any effect on sales of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (if hardcore gamers keep complaining, they may even convince Microsoft to knock $100 off the new Xbox and bring its pricing down to the PS4's level), it's also drowning out what many perceive as the real issue: gaming consoles face an existential threat from mobile devices, most notably those running iOS (with some threat from Android). First, there are signs that the hardcore gamer market is soft: console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012, and sales of new video-game cartridges haven't fared much better. Second, PC/console games such as X-Com have begun appearing on iOS; if that trend continues, the console companies will have more rivals to fight against. Third, Apple is developing a game controller for iOS which could make it an even more dedicated opponent — and convince other tech companies to follow in its footsteps. But don't tell any of that to Microsoft and Sony, which seem content to fire at each other."

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315 comments

One of these things is not like the other (1, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | about 10 months ago | (#44065193)

EOM

Re:One of these things is not like the other (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#44065935)

No shit, sales are soft because the consoles are as old as dirt and all we have been getting lately is the same old same, not to mention this is the time of years when sales ALWAYS goes down because hey! Its summer, people actually want to go outside and enjoy the nice weather, who woulda thunk it?

But the ONLY console maker that has to worry about the iPad is Nintendo, they have bet the farm on the casual market who is too busy playing with their pads to care about the Wii U, especially since the big gimmick this time is the Wii U actually coming with a pad of its own and so many being burnt by the Wii being the home of a handful of decent games and a mountain of shovelware.

As for the rest of the market? Some will go with Xb1, probably more will go with PS4 thanks to lower prices on the hardware and MSFT's well publicized douchebaggery as of late, and with the prices of PCs never cheaper and the games so much more affordable some will join us PC gamers on our side of the fence, especially since HDMI makes pretty much any PC made in the last 5 years usable just like a console. Things are slowing down now because duh! Nobody is wanting to sink money into old consoles when new consoles will be out before Xmas.

Cartridges? (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44065209)

Cartridge sales are extremely low, but that has nothing to do with PS3/4 or the Xbox family.

Re:Cartridges? (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 10 months ago | (#44065715)

I must be part of the problem... Last video game cartridge I bought was in 2001 and yet I call myself an avid gamer.

Let me guess: You have no handheld with buttons (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#44065923)

Let me guess: You don't have a Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, or PlayStation Vita. All use cartridges.

Vaporware... (4, Insightful)

mystikkman (1487801) | about 10 months ago | (#44065217)

We can talk about the mythical Apple TV with new console generation level graphics(which will make it expensive) when I see it.

Re:Vaporware... (-1)

ndrw (205863) | about 10 months ago | (#44065473)

I've got an AppleTV that does 1080P and looks pretty good. Throw in Airplay and video push from iPad/iphone/mac and you've got a pretty capable "console."

Re:Vaporware... (2, Insightful)

sosume (680416) | about 10 months ago | (#44065505)

But looking at how Apple behaved these last few years, they will not allow violent or adult oriented games. You can buy games only through iTunes. Succesful games will be cloned by Apple, removing the original from the appstore. And Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will be sued into oblivion for violating Apple's IP.

Re:Vaporware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065857)

Since when has Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony allowed adult games on their consoles? Apple has no disadvantage there.

Re:Vaporware... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44065559)

I've got an AppleTV that does 1080P and looks pretty good. Throw in Airplay and video push from iPad/iphone/mac and you've got a pretty capable "console."

"new console generation level graphics".
it just can't compete in power. it's pretty capable if you count against wii(not even wii u).
I've yet to meet the person who actually plays anything through airplay except as a parlor trick. "it's cool! I can use motion controls from the iphone!", yet people who play 4h+ sessions still play them on pc's or consoles.

the new powermac makes a nice console too but costs a shitload - and you can't just fit the hw into the ipad form factor. if you could, then you could fit 10 of those in a console sized device and the ipad-like device would still end up being behind. the day when such things don't matter - when it's truly the developers imagination that is the limiting factor - might come some day, but not in the next 8 years at least. having ram and cpu to do things with the ram and gpu to render things still limits quite a lot.

the stats that fucking 7(???) year old console sales dropped last year isn't that shocking.. the article sounds like "omg my apple shares are in the gutter I better write something" shit.

now gameboys.. they are dead, but not even they are totally dead and flourish in sales.

Re:Vaporware... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 10 months ago | (#44065651)

What will compete with XBOX and PS/4 is a whole new class of games, proved by #ingress. Those being engaging games that get you off the computer and out in the real world meeting people and seeing things you'd never would have met or seen any other way.

I mean, how many FPS can you play before all the elements start to resemble each other? How many RPGs can you place before you've can predict the decision tree ending long before reaching it?

This is a new class of games that has nearly as many possibilities as one can imagine. ingress is just the beginning.

Re:Vaporware... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065973)

Some of us play games and read books to Escape from the real world into on that suits our preferences. Integrating games into the real world defeats the point of gaming. Some games allow me experience worlds of such beauty that I would never be able to find it's like here on earth, even if I were to spend a fortune on travel expenses, and that all from the comfort of my desk chair. Others allow me to build giant structures out of ASCII art and imagine them in my head, more grand and forbidding even than the Mines of Moria.

Hardcore gaming will never die. It may decline, but even after I'm gone and no longer developing games, there will be others to carry the torch.

Re:Vaporware... (-1)

hahn (101816) | about 10 months ago | (#44065663)

You're missing the point. Even if you don't use Airplay, iOS devices have a lot of games on there already that are "good enough" for the vast majority of people. They fill a gaming need that no longer requires a console. And it's vastly easier and simpler to pick up an iOS device and simply tap an app to start playing. Plus, you can game almost *anywhere*. There's only a certain number of hours you can play video games. So if you get your fill playing a game on a bus or a train, you're a lot less likely to want to play even more games once you get home.

Re:Vaporware... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065759)

They fill a gaming need that never required a console in the first place

Here, FTFY. Oh no, Apple steals the VG market by selling Angry Birds and Words With Friends to my dad and grandma! Now my granny won't play all those shooters on XBone and PS4!

Control after you tap the app (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#44065943)

And it's vastly easier and simpler to pick up an iOS device and simply tap an app to start playing.

But once you tap the app, how do you control the character in the game? A flat sheet of glass gives the thumbs no tactile feedback as to where the on-screen action buttons are. Swipes on the left third of the screen can substitute for an analog stick, as first seen in Super Mario 64 DS and Metroid Prime Hunters First Hunt, but how can the player make sure he doesn't miss the jump, fire main weapon, and fire secondary weapon buttons? What's the uptake for clip-on Bluetooth gamepads?

Re:Vaporware... (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 10 months ago | (#44065561)

Okay then, show me an iPad or iPhone that can push next generation console graphics at 1080P. Please note: I'm not saying iDevices can't have decent graphics, they just aren't going to be of the same level.

Re:Vaporware... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 10 months ago | (#44065477)

Actually it's not. You can stream the output from the iPhone display directly to a TV via WiFi and Airplay, meaning any game you put on an iOS device can be displayed via an Apple TV. Combine that with a game controller, and you in essence have a digital delivery game console, that fits in your pocket.

It will be interesting to see what kind of lag that WiFi streaming introduces, but the basics are all there.

Re:Vaporware... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44065571)

the lag isn't that bad.. it's just that the gpu and cpu in the pad just aren't on the same level. they can beat the wii but that was last gen even on the day the wii came out.

Re:Vaporware... (4, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 10 months ago | (#44065601)

Three things to consider. New hardware releases for these iOS devices hit every 12-18 months, with moderate to substantial gains in processing and graphics power. Couple that with cheap digital games costing a fraction of console prices, and simple portability from one iOS device to the next, even when going to an entirely new device, or even from a phone to a pad, and the appeal could definitely be there.

Re:Vaporware... (4, Interesting)

hahn (101816) | about 10 months ago | (#44065641)

It doesn't need to be as powerful as a console level graphics. This same argument was applied to how iPhone cameras couldn't compete with full frame sensor DSLR's. It didn't need to: http://www.flickr.com/cameras [flickr.com] Hardcore gamers make the mistake in assuming that everyone who buys a console has the same requirement for graphics power as they do. It's quite the contrary. I know at least 7 friends as well as myself who have PS3's that sit there and collect dust. We originally bought it for FIFA 2010. Then we started to use it a lot more for Netflix when that became available. And now that all the TV's have Netflix built in (and 4 of us have Apple TV's), the PS3 never gets touched. We were all just talking about this a couple of weeks ago - none of us have plans to get any of the new consoles. They're simply not worth it for us. And I somehow doubt our situation is unique, or even rare.

Re:Vaporware... (3, Insightful)

nickittynickname (2753061) | about 10 months ago | (#44065875)

No, your situation isn't rare. It's just what happens when you get older. You have a lot less interest in video games. By the way, I think you mean point and shoot, not DSLR.

No (1)

John Doe (2938705) | about 10 months ago | (#44065223)

No, it really isn't

Re:No (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about 10 months ago | (#44065467)

yeah submitter is an idiot. Do you want to know why console sales dropped 20% last year? Its because everyone knew a new one was coming out this year genius. Also he reckons ios is a direct competitor because they got xcom a turn based video game? HAHAHAHAHAHA.

... sales of new video-game cartridges haven't.... (5, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | about 10 months ago | (#44065225)

Carts.....

So this was written by someone who understands the gaming market well then? In 1995 maybe.

But the real opponent is PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065227)

Anyone who says otherwise has his hand in your wallet.

Mobile is the future. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#44065233)

Really, go visit an airport, library, park bench, McDs, waiting room, etc. People are playing games on their mobile phones or tablets.

If you still need high power, play it on your desktop. Consoles are throw-away electronics and their time in the sun is diminishing.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to get a jump on early Christmas shopping... I need an Angry Birds bed set, Angry Birds jacket, Angry Birds underwear, Angry Birds bicycle, Angry Birds weed whacker, Angry Birds can opener, Ford Focus Angry Birds Limited Edition, Angry Birds home pregnancy kit, ...

Re:Mobile is the future. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065345)

Nope. Wrong. People play games on phones because you can, but there's no direct correlation between this and console game sales. Totally different demographic. I couldn't give two rips about video games but I'll play a game every now and then at the airport because it beats watching the guy sitting across from me pick his nose. It's a convenient time killer. Of course there are phone based games that are addictively fun to some, but they tend to be very short lived. Console and PC gamers want immersive games that a 4 to 6 inch screen cannot deliver on. They want extremely granular control that a few soft buttons cannot offer. You're premis is quite simply wrong. You're comparing apples to oranges.

Re:Mobile is the future. (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 10 months ago | (#44065577)

Not to mention that there is more than just graphics. Console gamers also enjoy hearing the sounds of their games through their multi-channel surround sound systems.

Use headphones (1)

tepples (727027) | about 10 months ago | (#44065971)

Every iTrinket since the first generation iPod has had a headphone jack. Plug in a pair of Koss PortaPro headphones and hear all.

Re: Mobile is the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065625)

Got that one right. Serious gamers are a different breed

Nobody who plays CoD is going to settle for Angry Birds (not even a CoD version.)

The author lost credibility when citing game cartridge sales. Colicovision hasn't been around for decades...

Re:Mobile is the future. (4, Informative)

ravenscar (1662985) | about 10 months ago | (#44065441)

There's a difference between killing time while waiting for something better to come along and making a deliberate investment of time in gaming. I'd say that most mobile games qualify as the former while most console and PC games qualify as the latter. At this point, mobile games don't seem like much a threat to console games. Sure, my kids like Angry Birds as much as anyone else. They'll play it when they're riding in the car, at a family BBQ, waiting for the bus, or some other place they'd rather not be. I've never seen them dropped off by the school bus only to burst in the front door, plop down on the couch, and try to tackle the next level of Angry Birds. I've seen them try to do that many a time with games like Fallout or Bioshock. I say "try" only because I typically won't let them veg out on video games prior to completion of homework and chores.

Re:Mobile is the future. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44065607)

People are forgetting the DS. Kids still play with portable Nintento consoles. If you aren't seeing this then you are choosing to have tunnel vision.

The Apple hype machine (news media included) is trying to hype things into something that they realy aren't.

Re:Mobile is the future. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#44065795)

People are forgetting the DS. Kids still play with portable Nintento consoles. If you aren't seeing this then you are choosing to have tunnel vision.

The Apple hype machine (news media included) is trying to hype things into something that they realy aren't.

My old Sega still works and I have a PS2 laying around somewhere, too. I don't play those games much these days as my hand-to-eye coordination isn't what it once was and I'm leaning more to tactical or strategy games after burning my synapses like magnesium flares on MMO games for a few years.

Re:Mobile is the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065745)

Consoles are throw-away electronics

Unlike tablets and phones?

Re:Mobile is the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065827)

Exactly. My 7 year old console still works fine. Fairly certain my 7 year old Nokia is still around...but I'm not spending ANY time digging it out...

Re:Mobile is the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065783)

No, driving cars is the future. All over America people are driving cars. Microsoft and Sony can't compete unless the next gen consoles can at minimum drive at highway speeds at reasonable gas mileage. Or maybe these markets are totally separate.

Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065929)

You're wrong, as there's still huge swath of population that doesn't do driving, but everyone poops. That must be where money is.

Coincidentally, most of those mobile games that are killing consoles are played on the crapper - I know it for the fact, because it's same for me. Nintendo, MS and Sony should really read the cue here.

Re:Mobile is the future. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#44065813)

I tried playing "Angry Birds home pregnancy kit", but my Doctor refused to believe that a man can get pregnant. Also, AT&T refused to honor the warranty due to moisture.

Re:Mobile is the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065895)

Angry Birds home pregnancy kit, ...

Yeah, sure. Like someone on slashdot has usage for that...

Cartridge? (5, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 10 months ago | (#44065243)

console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012, and sales of new video-game cartridges haven't fared much better.

What the hell would be considered a "new video-game cartridge"?

I know jargon in certain industries gets weird. I mean, I deal with tables, floors, clouds, nets, webs, pipes, and none of those are physical objects. But whoever is using the term "cartridge", in the game industry, in this year, deserves to be ignored as they are obviously stuck in the last century. Seriously, while you're back there warn them about 9/11 and Bush.

Re:Cartridge? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065349)

I'm pretty sure Animal Crossing New Leaf would be considered a 'new video-game cartridge'.

Re:Cartridge? (2)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about 10 months ago | (#44065471)

It would. If the article were not about Xbox and Playstation.

An article focused on Vita and DS sales vs IOS would be more relevant. Given these are all mobile devices competing for space in the backpack.

The real problem is that a locked down consumption device the size and cost of a comparably specced gaming machine simply is not relevent to todays world.

Re:Cartridge? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065359)

And warn them about Obama too. Bush set it up, Obama pushed it to 11 and some dipshit on Slashdot and about 95% of all American voters are still thinking this is a partisan issue.
 
For fucks sake people, get your heads out of your ass.

10 Years (2)

IrishTech (2842343) | about 10 months ago | (#44065261)

It's been 10ish years since we have seen a new console.....maybe that had a little to do with the drop in console purchases, everybody has one?

Re:10 Years (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#44065385)

It's been 10ish years since we have seen a new console.....maybe that had a little to do with the drop in console purchases, everybody has one?

For a while they were the best bet for playing your games on. PCs were OK at it, but expensive and geared to the Office or Home Office. Now even the most humble PC can play pretty good 3D games (not talking 120 fps here, but good enough for the masses) Mobile devices are catching up in performance, but are likely held back by battery life.

You can play games on your dedicated hardware and use it to watch movies on, but the actual need for a dedicated game device is passing by.

Re:10 Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065843)

How old are you? For a while they were the BEST bet? Consoles have NEVER been "better" at video games than PC. By definition they are ALWAYS a few years on the tech that's in your shiny new desktop. You see, that hardware in your two or three year old desktop is what they're putting in the brand new consoles...

Re:10 Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065411)

especially as people anticipate the new consoles coming in 2013.

Re:10 Years (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 10 months ago | (#44065435)

Not 10 years..... just under 7 years....the PS3 came out in late 2006 you know.

Re:10 Years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065597)

The WiiU was released in late 2012.

consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065269)

Hardcore gamers are not on consoles, they're on PCs. Consoles have always had fairly dumbed down gaming experiences compared to what is available on PCs [youtube.com].

When consoles became a "big thing", it was the non-hardcore gamers who went there, and the hardcore types that stayed on the PC. Consoles didn't have the right kinds of controllers, the games were more dumbed down, etc.

So, about this:

First, there are signs that the hardcore gamer market is soft: console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012,

... those are not the hardcore gamers, those are the "middle-core" gamers.

Re:consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#44065407)

Hardcore gamers are not on consoles, they're on PCs. Consoles have always had fairly dumbed down gaming experiences compared to what is available on PCs [youtube.com].

When consoles became a "big thing", it was the non-hardcore gamers who went there, and the hardcore types that stayed on the PC. Consoles didn't have the right kinds of controllers, the games were more dumbed down, etc.

So, about this:

First, there are signs that the hardcore gamer market is soft: console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012,

... those are not the hardcore gamers, those are the "middle-core" gamers.

Consoles succeeded in a vacuum. When your Apple or PC couldn't really play like the glorious dedicated devices in arcades you needed a console. Now you don't. Computer hardware, even the cheapest, can do pretty well for MMO, 3D experience (not great, but good enough for most and bet on it most don't shell for an $800 video card.)

Re:consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 10 months ago | (#44065425)

Consoles have always had fairly dumbed down gaming experiences compared to what is available on PCs

Dumbed down?

There are console games with plenty of complexity, you just don't realize they exist because most PC gamers know diddly squat about what's out there. They only see Halo and Madden and don't see anything else.

Oh sure, they don't make crazy ass flight sims that you have to have to be an aeronautical engineer or have an actual fucking rating in the aircraft in the game to actually play for consoles. But how many people actually play stuff like that these days....the market for that grows ever smaller as the obsession of the niche bearded Janes-reading engineers for ever more hardcore detail and complexity drives away new players. There isn't much of an entry level for flight sims or hex wargames anymore....the elitist jerks drove everyone else out.

Re:consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065517)

Dumbed down?

Yes! Look at what they did to Dragon Age on the console compared to the PC. Look at driving games, where console gamers think Forza is a good simulation. Look at flight simulators. Look at almost any genre, and consoles are a dumbed down experience compared to the best of the PC world. Even the controllers are dumbed down, compared to a keyboard and mouse. Console gamers need auto-aim bots to be even remotely competitive with PC FPS.

That's fine: the middle-end gamers are where the money is, because that's the largest crowd. Just don't pretend consoles are for hardcore gamers. They never have been. Even in the 16 bit days, console games were simpler experiences compared to PC games of the day. There's nothing wrong with preferring simpler games.

Re:consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44065627)

Oh sure, they don't make crazy ass flight sims that you have to have to be an aeronautical engineer or have an actual fucking rating in the aircraft in the game to actually play for consoles.

You don't see that as a problem?

But how many people actually play stuff like that these days....

Dunno, ask the guys who make X-Plane.

the market for that grows ever smaller as the obsession of the niche bearded Janes-reading engineers for ever more hardcore detail and complexity drives away new players.

No way. Those are the kind of players who want to play realistic combat flight simulators to begin with. Anyone else would rather play something like Crimson Skies, or at worst, Aces High; realistic physics but you don't have to actually know how to go through all the motions of flying a plane.

What would be awesome would be if you could use additional consoles to power additional displays, and maybe weather processing or other reasonably non-realtime tasks could be farmed out to them as well. Not quite clustering, but not quite just using them as display controllers either. The problem is, consoles don't embrace arbitrary input devices, so it doesn't actually make any sense, it would just be cool.

Re: consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065757)

As someone who does mostly pc gaming (the genres I tend to like tend to be on pc or multiplatform - just feel like I have to say that so you don't think I'm one of those obnoxious pc elitists), I think a lot of the complaint about consoles "dumbing down" games has less to do with that and more to do with the horrendous ports we've gotten in the past several years. Just a week more spent on the port to scale the UI properly and remove the pictures of xbox buttons *cough* Skyrim *cough* would do wonders to those perceptions and complaints. Different input devices require differwnt interfaces, but I wouldn't expect the execs pushing these ports out on such a short timeframe that they barely get the bugs out let alone optimize them to understand that. *Insert cheap Wimdows 8 comment here*

Re:consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (1)

Sique (173459) | about 10 months ago | (#44065433)

When consoles became a "big thing", it was the non-hardcore gamers who went there, and the hardcore types that stayed on the PC.

Consoles became a big thing in 1977, when Atari debuted the 2600. And this was incidentally the same year, when the first computer, which called itself "PC", was available.

Re: consoles do not measure "hardcore gamers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065669)

Your argument factors out the serious gamers who got sick of having to upgrade their hardware with every new game purchase and switched to consoles.

Apple, no fucking chance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065277)

People playing 99 cent time wasters aren't the same demographic as those spending $400 on a console to buy $60 games. If Apple come up with a PC type small box that runs games, and give billions to several devlopers, they will enter the gamers' market, their twee stuff on their iStuff is not taking a single cent away from xbox, ps3 or nintendo, other then child titles and all that useless fitness stuff women buy.

two reasons (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 10 months ago | (#44065289)

Yes, some sales less is due to mobile gaming. However, some is also due to the effing advanced, decrepit age of the current console generation. Anyone care to guess how much? I bet steam is taking their share too.

Lol wut? (4, Insightful)

Wookact (2804191) | about 10 months ago | (#44065299)

Apple is planning on taking on Microsoft and Sony. Lol with what a tablet? There is just no way a tablet alone can take on a dedicated gaming device. The deck is stacked clearly in MS and Sony's favor on that. Lets see dedicated devices do not have the same size constraints, do not have to deal with battery life, do not have to deal with powering a display, do not have to deal with mobility, do not have to deal with sketchy wifi/4g coverage.

I suppose someone will chime in suggesting they mean the Apple TV which could be a valid point, except the market penetration of those are MUCH smaller, and the fact that they do not have any AAA titles that rival the competitors.

Controller or not, there are no Apple devices that compete directly with xbox and ps.

Re:Lol wut? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065453)

They don't compete directly; the point is the future may be 10-20 million "hardcore gamers" and a billion on phones and tablets. Especially outside the first world. Game companies follow the money/customers. Apple is selling over a half billion dollars of games every month.

I think I saw a gamasutra article listing market sizes as mobile > console > social > PC

If you are not a multinational company, if you are funding / developing a new game, it is increasing going to be Mobile. Regardless of how the ranking of XB, PS4 and PC turn out, they will all be trailing mobile.

Re:Lol wut? (5, Insightful)

Wookact (2804191) | about 10 months ago | (#44065515)

You miss the point. Comparing tablets/phones to dedicated gaming machines is kinda like comparing bicycles to cars.

Re:Lol wut? (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 10 months ago | (#44065635)

No. It's like comparing tablets to PCs.

Everyone thinks that Apple products are going to displace both PCs and game consoles when in truth the Apple products are very limited. As soon as you want to "get serious", you will likely want a better and more specialized device.

This goes in general for any number of things that phones are supposed to be killing right now.

Re:Lol wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065531)

Dedicated devices also don't need to deal with fragmentation, yet - the closest we get is the odd peripheral (Kinect, Move, plastic guitars, etc.)

Re:Lol wut? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065727)

"Lol with what a tablet?" Is what people like you have been saying since the ipad was introduced.. Yes the device you predicted would "never sell".

Apple has been eating the casual games market for years now. It does not have to be a "hardcore" gaming platform to eat lots and lots of sony, MS's, and nintendo's profit. Sales of iOS devices, and sales of games on the apple store tell a scarey tale to apple's competitors.

Ask any kid what they want for xmas. Along with the new consoles, an ipad will be up there with them, if not on top of their list.

Apple could enter the "serious" games market at a whim if they wanted to. The first (properly executed) iphone/itouch with gamepad controls would be an instant killing blow to Nintendo. You know it. I know it. The industry knows it. The game phone concept is a tough nut to crack. Nokia failed at it miserably. If anyone can actually pull it off, it's apple.

Re:Lol wut? (3, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | about 10 months ago | (#44065965)

I suppose someone will chime in suggesting they mean the Apple TV which could be a valid point, except the market penetration of those are MUCH smaller, and the fact that they do not have any AAA titles that rival the competitors.

The market penetration is low because, right now, it's just a vehicle to play iTunes content on your television. They do not have any AAA titles because Apple hasn't opened up the SDK yet. Apple TVs run iOS internally and are roughly as powerful as their mobile devices.

Now that officially-blessed game controllers are coming to iOS 7, all Apple really have to do is open up the SDK, which will be very similar to the current iOS SDK, add internal storage, and put an App Store application on the Apple TV. Suddenly there's a ~$199 console on the market with a horde of iOS developers able to port their existing games very easily. The App Store is far easier to publish on than traditional games consoles and there's a lot of iOS developers who are champing at the bit to put their games on Apple's new game console.

Is it as powerful as the next-gen consoles? No. Can it play lots of enjoyable, cheap games with decent graphics? Yes. It doesn't have to be the most powerful console to be the most profitable console.

Not yet... (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44065303)

18 months ago, Apple as a serious threat to the established console makers looked plausible. It looks a lot less so now.

iOS is becoming a much less credible gaming proposition with every day that passes. Why? Shovelware IAP-laden crap which barely even qualifies as "games". Ok, occasionally you get games like X-Com or Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition which try to swim against the tide; but even there, they're never anything more than slightly inferior ports of games available on other platforms.

Finding anything worth playing on iOS is getting harder and harder. Square-Enix and Cave put out a few titles worth a look - but even Square-Enix have gone down the route recently of pay-to-win shovelware.

At the same time, the low-priced offerings on the consoles - and on the Playstation Store in particular - have soared in quality. If you want a mobile device right now that can play high quality indie games, sold at a reasonable price, then you don't want an iPhone or iPad, you want a Vita.

Indeed, though the Vita's failure as a "PS3 in your pocket" is now almost complete (barring the occasional decent game such as Littlebigplanet Vita or Soul Sacrifice) the machine's sales seem to be trending upwards on the back of a decently priced but rigorously quality-controlled low-budged and indie scene.

Re:Not yet... (2)

Andrio (2580551) | about 10 months ago | (#44065383)

Yeah, I agree.

Mobile games just aren't involving. Most of them are just shallow time wasters. There's never any real story, the gameplay can be mastered in about 5 minutes, and worst of all (to me, anyway) is that there is no immersion. You're never presented a world where you can just lose yourself in. Kind of how you can lose yourself in a book or a movie. The only mobile game that I ever found myself getting lost in was Survival Craft, and that's just because it's Minecraft on your mobile device (Note, Survival Craft is more like the PC version of Minecraft than Minecraft Pocket Edition is)

Re:Not yet... (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#44065401)

iOS is becoming a much less credible gaming proposition with every day that passes. Why? Shovelware IAP-laden crap which barely even qualifies as "games".

I believe the Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo parlance for that is "DLC".

And you can bet that as DLC has exploded, that both the Xbox One and PS4 will be having this business model.

PC games are, as well - everyone seems to be moving to the freemium-type business model

Re:Not yet... (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44065455)

No, DLC is not the same as "pay to win", at least, not as it's usually used.

There's a lot of DLC out there that's perfectly good value. Look at the Borderlands 2 DLC packs, or some of the Bioware DLC packs. DLC done right is basically what was, in ye olde days, called an "expansion pack", but split up into a few chunks. So rather than pay $25 for a single expansion, you pay $5 five times for roughly the same amount of content, delivered episodically. The value to the player is the same, but the publishers have decided that keeping a faster cycle of expansions to the core game makes people more likely to buy their content. I have bought every non-cosmetic piece of DLC for Borderlands 2 and Mass Effect 2 and do not regret a penny of it.

See, without that DLC, I still had a full sized game to play. The DLC for each game amounted to an old-style expansion pack, for about the same price. It's extra content that fleshes out the game and extends the play experience.

Pay-to-win is very different. With pay-to-win, the entire game is, in theory, available to you - often for free. The problem is that unless you fork over money, most of the game will require utterly implausible amounts of time to access. That might be time spent running in circles doing random encounter battles or the like. Or, even more cynically, it might be "real world time elapsed" - an entirely artificial time constraint where it doesn't even matter whether your device is switched on. That time has to pass - unless you press the "pay now" button.

What this means is that the game mechanics are redesigned to strip out "skill" and "fun" and replace them with "pay or suffer". The game is no longer designed to make the player enjoy it (in the hopes he'll pay for future games from the same publisher), it's designed to get him to pay more to accelerate his progress.

The freemium/pay-to-win bubble is already bursting. Expect to see a lot of companies who have invested in it go to the wall over the next year or so. Some of the smarter ones are already getting out.

More like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065421)

rumors of the next gen Xbox and PS have been going on for the last 2 years, and its been 7 years since the 360 and PS 3 came out. of course console sales are going to slow. You have a massive 2nd hand market for consoles that does not report numbers (pawn shops), you have these rumors of a new console coming, and you have market saturation even at these prices. Hell, in that time parents have begun letting their kids use THEIR xbox or ps3 becuase nothing new came out to replace them.

Sales are down? Of course they down, no market can continue an upward trend forever, and the console market is all about volatility. Technology marches on, consoles begin to seem dated at the same rate your home PC does, so a 7 year old xbox is like a 7 year old PC except you cannot upgrade it. And buying a new one gets you nothing but the exact same machine you already had. Some might call this built-in obsolescence but its simply the reality of gaming consoles. There is no upgrade path for a single-purpose device, just like with your iDildo or cell phone.

Re:Not yet... (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 10 months ago | (#44065437)

The biggest limitation is the controller, or rather the lack of one. A touch screen is no substitute for a gamepad in any kind of action game.

X-Com and Baldur's Gate are both ports. Ditto all the Square stuff. No-one is willing to invest money in original AAA titles for mobile platforms.

Re:Not yet... (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 10 months ago | (#44065489)

Ain't that the truth.

And again, this is why the Vita is quietly turning from a horrible disaster (which is what it looked like at launch) into a bit of a stealth success story. It can cope with twin-stick, motion and touch-screen controls (and both at once where merited) and now that the initial pressure from Sony to use every kind of control in every game has passed (thank god... touch-controls didn't quite ruin Uncharted on the Vita, but they tried hard), devs targetting the Vita can pick and choose the controls that work for their game.

Not the same market (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065307)

How many times will people think that the iOS gaming and the HD console gaming is the same market? this is bullshit. yes there is some overlap, yes there is a bit of cannibalisation because time is a limited ressource, but no one can compare the experience of a AAA game on a PC or next gen console with what you can get on even an iPad.
even if it's streamed on a TV, even with a controller. the hardware is incomparable, the promise of the experience is completely different.

let's stop with this "new apples are disrupting oranges!" please.

Re:Not the same market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065567)

Depends on how broadly you define market. You may rarely think of your choice as CoD or Angry Birds.

But for companies, it is a choice: they can spend money to develop a pc game, console game, cross-platform or mobile.

So the relative quality of the games is somewhat influenced by what the game companies chose to spend their money to develop. The CEOs know the stock analysts who value their company read all the articles about huge growth in mobile and slow/declines elsewhere. The decision makers know what those analysts want to see them do.

Re:Not the same market (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065887)

Right.

And when a farmer sees how neighbour's apples are in high demand he says "Fuck wheat, we're doing it too!", blazes his field and starts planting an orchard.

Re:Not the same market (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44065581)

but it's just sprites on the screen! same thing! it's just that the carts are virtual in the ipad!.. ..yeah, this type of shit article comes up at least once in a quarter for the past 5 years..

Re:Not the same market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065629)

It should be incredibly obvious based on the relative size of the smart phone market versus the console market. If there were a bunch of people ditching their consoles for Angry Birds, why is it that the drop in console sales is nowhere near as big as the Angry Birds sales figures? Is it maybe because the two trends are almost entirely unrelated because they pertain to different markets?

It's almost like console sales today are actually worse for multiple reasons (like hey, how about that economy? You think maybe people spend less on luxury entertainment items when unemployment is up?), among which smart phones with minimal gaming capabilities aren't enough high on the list? Yeah, me too.

Re:Not the same market (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#44065919)

It should be incredibly obvious based on the relative size of the smart phone market versus the console market. If there were a bunch of people ditching their consoles for Angry Birds, why is it that the drop in console sales is nowhere near as big as the Angry Birds sales figures?

Because, duh, some people play both.

The real issue is that console gamers mostly bought the console because 'it just works', so now the console makers are loading up the consoles with all kinds of DRM crap to ensure 'it just doesn't work', they're screwing over their core market. The tablet or phone is more likely to 'just work' in the future.

dedicated gaming consoles is a niche market (2)

u19925 (613350) | about 10 months ago | (#44065331)

Just like PCs became faster and replaced Unix workstations at many places, the low end devices are becoming faster and are threatening the dedicated gaming consoles. Mostly all you need is a good quality controller and you can fairly use high end PC to replace your gaming console. Newer Wi-Fi standards are becoming faster by the day (to easily connect controller to PC) and also virtual controllers like Kinect can easily be ported to PC, so that shouldn't be a bottleneck. The game publishers will be more than willing to support open (relatively speaking) platforms as they don't have to invest huge amount upfront and don't have to pay per game commission to console makers. As of now, I am not planning to upgrade my gaming console. I will wait and watch whether it is worth or not.

Re:dedicated gaming consoles is a niche market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065565)

Just like PCs became faster and replaced Unix workstations at many places, the low end devices are becoming faster and are threatening the dedicated gaming consoles. Mostly all you need is a good quality controller and you can fairly use high end PC to replace your gaming console. Newer Wi-Fi standards are becoming faster by the day (to easily connect controller to PC) and also virtual controllers like Kinect can easily be ported to PC, so that shouldn't be a bottleneck. The game publishers will be more than willing to support open (relatively speaking) platforms as they don't have to invest huge amount upfront and don't have to pay per game commission to console makers. As of now, I am not planning to upgrade my gaming console. I will wait and watch whether it is worth or not.

Next gen gaming systems not only shares a lot of commonalities with x86 PCs -- including both hardware and SDKs (i.e. they're a lot less proprietary than you indicate) -- but (unlike their desktop counterparts) presents monolithic target platforms, which allow developers to create games for specific hardware configurations. Electronic Arts, among others, has already pointed out that they don't plan on upgrading their desktop-based engine until average hardware specs are up to par with those of their next gen (i.e. PS4, XBO) counterparts: http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/06/18/fifas-ignite-engine-wont-come-to-pc-until-average-hardware-specs-are-higher/

Re: dedicated gaming consoles is a niche market (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065785)

Ehh, After Sim City EA Can Keep Thier sHinny new Engin On What Ever Platform They Want. I Wont Miss It On My Beast Of A Gaming PC. Now When Valve, Id, And Crytek Drop Pc Support For Their Latest And Greatest I'll Be Pissed.

Not facing an existencial crisis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065341)

This is the most ludicrous suggestion. Just because there is an interest in the smaller games for a mobile market, that doesn't mean there has been a drop in interest for full fledged games, that most consoles run on. 60x$1 apps != 1x$60 app. It's not even in the same ballpark. Mobile games have taken a small chunk of full-game revenues, but that doesn't mean that full games are going to disappear.

PC has had it's own gaming culture for decades, and neither PC's nor Consoles have come close to eliminating each other. The only way Apple could take out the Xbox or PS is to create their own gaming console, and that certainly wouldn't eliminate the console gaming market, just changing it from one system to another.

FFS: Mobile is not everything (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 10 months ago | (#44065361)

I keep seeing everywhere how mobile is going to take over every industry, everywhere. Each and every time I see it, I marvel at the ignorance that stance engenders. Don't get me wrong, I think mobile is great, but there are limitations to the format that make the idea of an all mobile computing environment ridiculous to consider.

It boils down to the physical format; small screens with touch input are great for some tasks, but who really wants to sit down and fiddle with their phone/tablets, when their 50" TV is there with actual physical controls?

It's absurd.

The year of mobile gaming (2)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 10 months ago | (#44065363)

Mobile gaming is always just about to take off and has been that way for like 10 years. It's just happening. It can even stop the 3DS from continually growing and it's a direct competitor to it.

Wrong xcom version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065369)

When iOS gets http://openxcom.org, then we will be royally fucked...

humana what? (1)

prelelat (201821) | about 10 months ago | (#44065395)

This article makes no sense, the console market was expected to have a drop off in anticipation of the next generation consoles. Console sales and game sales typically drop.

A controller for iOS this sounds about as good as the Ouya or how ever you spell it. It's a great idea but adoption is far and long off and it's not going to replace the console market any time soon. Don't get me wrong the idea behind this and the Ouya are good concepts but the developers aren't there for AAA titles, the quality doesn't quite match the consoles for 300 more, you get a real video card, blu-ray player, and nice online game community. Seems worth the extra cost for a gamer casual to hard core. Before the next Console comes out? Maybe but Sony and Microsoft have nothing to worry about with Apple for the start of this console generation. Why even bring it up? This is just a piece just to drum up page views and nothing more.

Apple? Really? (3, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 10 months ago | (#44065409)

The iPad and iPhone gaming market exists, but it's limited. It's a casual gaming device to satisfy you as you wait for your flight. The "hardcore" market is soft for a couple of reasons. Keeping the current gen system around for 7 years was a bad idea. Increasing development cost too rapidly was a bad idea that Nintendo warned Sony and MS about. Now we have good games like Tomb Raider, but Developers and Publishers are spending far too much to make them. The adjustment will be the companies who are bad at business will die. I'd put money on Square dying given how they turned success into failure. Not even stratospheric Kingdom Hearts sales will save them if they keep overspending. Keep in mind not a single KH game has exceeded 6 Million in sales, but I bet they budget for exceeding 6. This is what is killing the market. Not the witches poisoned Apple.

"console sales in the United States dropped 21%" (2)

BTWR (540147) | about 10 months ago | (#44065443)

Isn't that because the current generation is 7 years old? You're actually shocked that fewer people are buying computers designed with 2005 technology?

Ever been to a PSN datacenter?Apple does not have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065457)

One of the main things game publishers look for are analytics and Apple neither has the expertise nor the patents for that.

Re:Ever been to a PSN datacenter?Apple does not ha (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#44065619)

One of the main things game publishers look for are analytics and Apple neither has the expertise nor the patents for that.

half of every iOS apps traffic is analytics. it's not through apple, but it's there. put your phone to a wlan ap you control once and watch the magic of your every press on the apps being sent for evaluation to make them more captivating...

analytics isn't the problem. the fact that they're different markets is the problem. iOS as a gaming platform is competing with playstation vita.. not playstation 4.

Gaming consoles face an existential threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065461)

Gaming consoles face an existential threat from mobile devices, most notably those running iOS (with some threat from Android).

No, they don't.

Apple != Gaemz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065479)

Apple's over THERE, buddy. How could you get it wrong, you just left one of their booths. No, not the one with $2000 laptops, the with the FINAL CUT PRO 10% OFF banner.

At first I thought you were being intentionally misleading when you pretended that ports of Solitaire and Tetris justified a "REAL games are moving to iOS" but then I remembered incompetence before malice.

Pointing out an iOS game controller doesn't impress me, it makes me laugh. If it wasn't for your bubble, you'd realize you could've had a USB controller in your hands DAY ONE. The abuse is blatant and pathetic. Those who bend over and take it are worse. Those who call it market superiority are worse yet.

Apple aside, the quick buck hit-and-quit is an admittedly easy market, selling diamonds in freemiums is two notches away from printing money and production is $500 for some interns with a weekend. But like you, all I have for Zyngaville and the Attack of the Clones is scorn.

Now go throw sheep or +1 somebody or whatever it is that keeps you facetweeters out of my sight.

Portable gaming devices are not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065591)

Every heard of the Gameboy? Handheld gaming devices are been around forever. We're on Vita and 3DS now. These are much more powerful handheld game machines than your smartphone and have many more big titles, yet they are hardly a threat to consoles. Smartphones are just now doing what handhelds have been doing for many years. What is true is that smartphones are a threat to handhelds. I have no idea how the author leapt from smartphones to console. The whole article is poorly written and makes wild conclusions based on little or no facts.

Right so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065617)

"Console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012, and sales of new video-game cartridges?" Cartridges? What console is that then?

Apple is losing mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065699)

Apple is already losing its dominance in mobile. Just look at the sales numbers for Samsung and you'll see that even in its primary market Apple is going to have a tough time competing. How then is Apple going to conquer an entirely new market when it can't hold on to the one that is suppose to be its bread and butter?

Mobile games are popular (1)

twistofsin (718250) | about 10 months ago | (#44065821)

Mobile games are popular because they are time fillers. If I expected the same quality I get from my PS3 or PC when I play an ipod game I'd be severely disappointed. I don't though. I just appreciate the ability to whip the device out and obliterate dirty pigs or slash monsters and fruits with my fingers when I'm waiting at the doctors, dmv, end of my lunch break, etc.

Let's put this in perspective: Has anyone ever accused Nintendo of sabotaging their console market with their Game Boy/DS products? No?

Well I don't see why Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo should be worried about Apple then.

Consoles may be dying; not gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44065883)

I don't believe for a minute that the "hardcore" gaming market is going away. Console gaming may be dying, but I believe that's because "hardcore" gamers have gotten smart. Computers can do far more then consoles can, are expandable, and are useful for far more things.

I consider myself a hardcore gamer. I probably spend 4+ hours a day gaming. NONE of it is on a console. I can't stand console gaming. And before you say I haven't given it a chance -- I own a XBox 360 and a PS3 and a Nintendo Wii (the first gen). I just don't enjoy playing games on any of them. I've purchased games on PS3, only to dislike the experience so much that I went out and then bought the same game on the PC because I hated the controls. I far, far prefer having a keyboard and mouse vs fumbling my way through a Xbox 360 or PS3 or Wii controller.

Want more proof? Take two "real" gamers -- one on a PC, one on a 360 or a PS3. Put them on the same game, and let them play on the same server. Given all other skills as equal, the PC player will beat the crap out of the console gamer. PC Controls are far more fine, and you have far more control over your character. You also have 100+ keys that can be individually bound to specific actions, vs the ~20 simultaneous controls you have on a console controller. PC gamers immediately have access to 5x the controls of a console gamer. There is a reason most vendors lock out PC players from playing on the same servers as Console players -- the Console players gets their asses handed to them every time. The analog "fine" controllers on both systems are a joke.

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