#1 Edited by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

To listen to gaming journalists tell it, the game industry is shrinking and we are in a lull. The lull, they say, is caused by the end of the console cycle and that new consoles will rejuvenate interest in games.

Is that really the case?

The games industry in Japan has been shrinking almost the entire time the PS3 has been on store shelves. Japanese gamers are reporting a decreased interest in gaming as a social concept and an growing interest in western games as eastern games are thought to be boring. Series like Final Fantasy that used to be rumored to effect the countries GDP (with the entire country taking days off work) are now known to be struggling. Some critics like to point at Nintnedo's landmark of Wii sales to say there is no lack of enthusasm for games, but that sales number does not indicate people's overall satisfaction with the unit and Nintendo as a whole. The weak sales of the Wii U are a more apt descriptor of just how many Wii gamers were really satisfied with their purchases.

Will a new generation of consoles really turn the tide on slumping games industry, or is the problem something deeper and not at all tied to hardware?

I'm interested in discussing in what way the console market is different than it was 10 years ago, and what the next year or two will be like.

#2 Posted by Kierkegaard (605 posts) -

Last time, Sony was mocked for calling the PS3 a super computer entertainment device, but their attention to the world outside games and the 360s movement toward social media show that people want game systems to be far more than graphic powerhouses with friend lists.

As Sony has already demonstrated, the next generation must respond with ways to integrate the far more connected, communal world we live in with the systems. Maybe the share button and the streaming will have hiccups, but they point to playing a game as a social event rather than a solitary one. Few games shown so far, outside of Watch_Dogs, appear to dive into this idea, but I see it as a major theme that consoles will look to tackle.

As with any product they make, companies have to justify why consumers should have the new one. My PS3 game collection is larger than my playtime, so I'm not in a hurry. Many may be feeling content. If they can prove that their box integrates easily and serenely with the consumers' existent lifestyles, they will be successful.

More games will be free-to-play, always online, experimenting with what works. I'm interested to see what comes of it.

#3 Posted by Sackmanjones (4780 posts) -

Dat title....

#4 Posted by Demoskinos (15085 posts) -

@sackmanjones: Its impressive actually...making the most of that 60 characters. Haha.

#5 Posted by CornBREDX (5791 posts) -

To be totally honest I can never tell what is going to happen with the industry. This generation we saw Nintendo make a meteoric rise by capturing the attention of popular culture, the rise of streaming content (such as Netflix and Hulu), the non stop deluge of modern warfare type games, the rise of the indy game scene as a significant contender, and the collapse of several well established publishers and developers that helped build the industry.

This generation, for the game industry, has been pretty significant as a whole. It's interesting honestly that consoles have had this extended cycle, as that was not how it was before, but I really think it's shitty that a new generation is needed for companies to innovate (or at least that has been the thinking for the past 20 or so years).

The game industry is really disturbing sometimes if you think about it too much.

Online
#6 Edited by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -
#7 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@kierkegaard: I'm with you in that your PS3 library is bigger than you amount of Free Time.

To me, the biggest boon in this generation has been Playstation Plus. I've played more different types of games through Plus than I ever would have without it. Games like Blitz that I knew I would like but would never actually pull the trigger to buy got a tremendous amount of relative playtime from me. I just spend the weekend playing Demon's Souls and loving it, even if I won't be able to spend nearly enough time with it to get very far.

#8 Edited by Veektarius (4968 posts) -

The biggest change is the emergence of digital download services as a medium for non-AAA titles. There's only one step remaining, where digital distribution is seen as a viable means of distribution for console titles north of $15 and under $40 (new).

#9 Posted by BeachThunder (12270 posts) -

@sackmanjones said:

Dat title....

Had to be done...

Try "How has the market changed since the 360/PS3 launched?"

#10 Edited by Inkerman (1455 posts) -

Online connectivity. While Nintendo still seem to think the Internet is a fad that will go away, Sony and Microsoft proved that online connectivity, whether for multiplayer, updating/game distribution, or non-game content (Netflix) is now a vital part of a gaming console. How a console handles online access and content will be a major factor in how it's rated.

#11 Edited by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

Dat title....

Talk about making the most of it.

#12 Posted by DarthOrange (3878 posts) -
#14 Edited by MattyFTM (14423 posts) -

Fixed the title.

Moderator
#15 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

The games industry in Japan has been shrinking almost the entire time the PS3 has been on store shelves. Japanese gamers are reporting a decreased interest in gaming as a social concept and an growing interest in western games as eastern games are thought to be boring. Series like Final Fantasy that used to be rumored to effect the countries GDP (with the entire country taking days off work) are now known to be struggling.

Where did you get that from? Seriously I just want to know.

#16 Edited by Deranged (1856 posts) -

I might have to be an arse here, but since the launch of the current gen, there has been little innovation on most massive triple-A titles and little attention is given to some of the superb indie developers that toss out fantastic games.

#17 Edited by tescovee (361 posts) -

Ebbs and flows

#18 Edited by EXTomar (4916 posts) -

The Sandy Bridge was "new" back when the 360 and PS3 released which had a shake up in the PC market. Now Intel is on Ivy Bridge which is even smaller and efficient.

Nvidia back then was debuting stuff like the 8800GTX and would then switch over to the modern product schemes we see today. Today the 600 line is prime with 800 next year.

Back around 2005 portable devices where custom built. Today we are seeing muti-core displays with hardened touch screens that are all "stock" instead of one-off and relatively inexpensive. In 2005 consoles represented a prime example of custom architecture where today no platform can compete being so custom against low cost ubiquitous hardware.

Back around 2005 people talked about "cloud computing" but it was still iffy whether or not the risk vs reward was comparable to classic "rack servers". These days it is still iffy only due to support. The reason why this is important is that instead of online systems being limited by "computing power" it is now limited by "network infrastructure bandwidth". In 2005 there was a question if developer could find enough "CPU" to support what they needed. Today it is a question if the network can handle it. This shift to "I/O Bound" resulted in the rise of things like Netflix and Amazon Instant and solidified constantly online games like MMOs and MOBAs.

In other words just about everything has changed since the 360 and the PS3 released.

#19 Posted by thomasnash (586 posts) -

I guess this is too obvious to mention, and I apologise for the amount of unsubstantiated claims I'm about to make, but we're still in the midst of pretty severe economic times, so that's got to be a factor, particularly if rumours of $600 price points of the new Xbox were true. I know a couple of years ago tech was still a growth sector even in the worst periods of the recession, but I would assume that was more down to mobile phones (which are increasingly being viewed as necessities) rather than things like consoles.

Then again, I feel like this generation has been successful more due to steady growth, rather than massive sales up front, so maybe it won't make that much difference. It's very difficult to say, I guess.

I guess the other really obvious thing, that people have already said, is the importance of online as a distribution channel on consoles, but how that will affect the industry I can't say.

#20 Edited by JouselDelka (966 posts) -

Series like Final Fantasy that used to be rumored to effect the countries' GDP (with the entire country taking days off work)

That bit blew my mind

#21 Edited by awesomeusername (4230 posts) -

To answer your title, a lot more douchebags play video games.

#22 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@jazgalaxy said:

Series like Final Fantasy that used to be rumored to effect the countries' GDP (with the entire country taking days off work)

That bit blew my mind

It is not true. They maybe once did it for a dragon quest game back then but otherwise this is just a myth.