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The end of consoles, and soon

by Johnathon Swift on 01/22/13 04:09:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


You can see it, hear it, almost feel it around far seeing industry types.

The traditional game console is dead; and everyone but MS, Sony, and Nintendo wants it that way.

"This is the last console generation." Is a quote you'll hear, enthusiastically, from many developers. Customers eagerly fund the Ouya, a slightly ridiculous concept (a tablet without a screen and battery?) in hopes of a way out, among other projects. Game pundits ooh and ahh at the Occulous Rift far more than the prospect of new consoles.

Hardware manufacturers have begun scrambling around like mad trying to find it, the thing that will replace the traditional console. They all use their already attained knowledge to present "the way forward" for games. They introduce cloud gaming racks, or protocols, or try to partner up with telecoms for it.

Others search for other means. The "hardcore gaming tablet". Making Android compatible controllers, or adding controller grips to tablets, or making odd things like Nvidia's "Project Shield". An ugly little thing that shows that while Nvidia doesn't know "The way forward" any better than anyone else, it certainly knows its out there.

But one thing is clear, the traditional console, or at leas the console business model of a closed environment with the hardware manufacturer taking a cut of all the games sold, is on its way out, and soon. There's no reason for anyone but the traditional console manufacturers to want it.

Customers have been abused with the likes of Xbox Live Gold, poor interfaces, and closed environments for too long. Developers have no reason to want to heel to large royalties and fees and restrictions and wait times of the traditional console if there's a better way to go. Hardware manufacturers have somehow collectively realized this, and have been scrambling around top to bottom to find that Iphone like device and moment, that one thing that will catalyze into the new thing, while the old model withers and dies.

The end of the console is coming, and no one's got a reason to play nice and let the 3rd Xbox and 4th Playstation ride out there time in luxury before finding it; to say nothing of the Wii U's already disappointing launch. The old guard better be wary, but I doubt they'll be wary enough.

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