Is Console Gaming Dead?

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A year has passed now since console giants and competitors Sony and Microsoft launched their respective PlayStation 4 and XBox One models. Both products have had their own individual success, with Sony reporting a 200 per cent increase in video games sales, while Microsoft enjoyed $24.52 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2014.

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What a difference a few months can make, however. By April of this year, Forbes reported that global PC revenue had far surpassed that of consoles, signalling a worrying change for both companies.

Of course, this is not nearly as worrying a topic for Microsoft as it is for Sony. Some experts even allege that a $400 million loss to Microsoft on the XBox will have done little to damage their reputation, and in the long term, this will bring about a far better return on investment.

But can we afford to be this optimistic, and indeed, even naive? While Microsoft will continue to thrive for years thanks to their PC market, can the same be said for the Sony PlayStation? With more and more PCs being built nowadays specifically for gaming, we could be soon saying goodbye to the humble console forever.

Moreover, the huge offering of internet games is proving to be something of an obstacle to the modern day console market. While sites like Miniclip have been providing lunchtime recreation for years now, the online gaming world is getting bigger by the day, leading more people to turn to their PCs, mobiles or tablets to get their gaming fix.

Indeed, the internet has more choice too, and gets around a few legislative loopholes which are seemingly leaving consoles to stagnate in the same place. Online gambling, for example, is not currently available on modern day consoles, despite the availability of internet console platforms such as XBox Live. However, the same exciting and themed element can be found at sites like MrSmithCasino, who offer themed slot games which cannot be found on any other medium.

The smartphone market is another huge issue for console manufacturers too – in today’s digital age, the humble mobile telephone is a gaming device first and a communicative device second. Like it or not, you cannot unplug a PlayStation and take it on the train with you – even its handheld counterpart does not have an internet connection.

There may perhaps be no cause for immediate worry to either of today’s console giants, but they should also not ignore the offering of the online gaming market if they are to carry on surviving in an ever-developing industry.

Gill Penham

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