There have been a lot of predictions with the future of console gaming. People have debated back and forth about its power and whether it’ll stay or not. Some think that PC gaming will eventually overtake it and eliminate it. Some think that there are too many bad games (shovel ware) and that console gaming will kill itself. Some rumor that console gaming will be good forever and, even with change, will never go away. Still, others think things will be all digital in the future and console gaming, as in having a dedicated box for whichever company, will be gone forever in that sense. So, what is the future of console gaming? What will the landscape look like in 10 years? 20 years? Even 30 years? There are a few things I believe will play into how it all looks and goes. Two topics in particular.
I think digital/streaming is the future.
I don’t think we’ll ever see consoles totally go away, as far as playing a unique service that has exclusive games and such. Sony can stream games via the PS Now and soon Microsoft will stream games to the Xbox One via Xbox Game Pass and you’ll find games on each that are exclusive, that won’t be found on the “enemy” streaming services. THAT is the future of console gaming I think. We’ll never see only PC games/smartphone games/etc but we won’t always have dedicated boxes next to our TV’s, at least I don’t think so. The future is being set with both Sony and Microsoft in this regard, and you can almost be sure this type of thing will be the future. But why? Why will it be this way?
Because smartphone games are really taking off, earning more money than the console division of gaming now – smartphone gaming earned 41 billion of the industry wide 91 billion made in 2016. I doubt we’ll see those make less than console gaming from here on. Why? Smartphone games are quick and easy to pick up, and hundreds of millions more people have those than consoles. Oh and guess what? Sony and Nintendo (alongside Sega, Atari, Bandai, Square Enix, and many more) are there too. Mario is now a smartphone game. The big console creators and game developers are making games for this world now, and folks may reason that they don’t need the new Nintendo if they can simply have Nintendo games on their phone.
I believe it’s obvious that console gaming will change, due in no small part to the success of smartphone gaming. But does that mean machines will disappear in a few years? I don’t think so. VR is starting to take off right now, slowly but it is, and the best experiences are on PC/consoles. Not that phone ones are awful but the console ones are better. Resident Evil 7 in VR on PS4. ‘Nuff said. There will be a market for these things for years to come, and the Switch is in great shape this is because it’s portable like a phone/tablet while being a powerful console so sure, it’ll be a long time until console boxes are totally done away with, I think. But I still think it’s very likely to happen and the waters are very much being tested right now. Sony and Microsoft are testing this now and will be doing more in the future, you can count on that, and hopefully Nintendo does before too long too, if all else fails to prove they can make the big change if and when it’s needed. In the meantime enjoy your PS4, Xbox One, or Switch! They’ll be here for years to come. But have a mind on the future as well.