I grew up in the time of massive console wars, where people were fervently pitting Xbox against PlayStation. Nintendo was kind of in the background of this debate, but nobody seemed to think of them as a competitor to the other two. However, with all of the advancements from the beginning game systems to today, it makes me wonder where the gaming industry can go from here.
Is the gaming industry stagnant?
During the console wars, the main draw in was price points, graphics potential, and game selection. But many of these are becoming obsolete. Graphics between consoles does not differ much anymore, and games are becoming more and more realistic that it does not seem logical to continue to make systems merely to increase graphics.
Game selection is another issue that is going out the window. While some games are exclusive to their relative system, most games on each system can easily be played on Steam or otherwise purchased online. This makes exclusivity on the consoles less and less relevant. Beside the fact, that Steam has a “Console” version called Steam Link or SteamOS.
So all of this said, what else is there for consoles to do to innovate themselves and not just die out? Well, two different things are on the horizon that can make for one more console, and that is VR and Interchangeability.
VR and Interchangeability
When it comes to VR, everyone is talking about, but not many people have it. This can help to create real-world immersion in a game and can be used and augmented by Sony and Microsoft to make better games. Competition can rise base on a thing like a price point and exclusivity. However, as I have mentioned before, there is no reason why VR cannot also be used on the PC like HTC Vive for Steam.
But there is one thing that can be done to put the other systems above the PC, and Nintendo has already accomplished it with the Switch. The Switch is a piece of marketing genius, as it takes a handheld, and a system, and combines them into one. They use a variety of controller possibilities, that can help the player seamlessly transition from playing on a TV to playing on a handheld.
However, this only delays the issue just one more step. Nintendo made a handheld and a console all in one, so what can they possibly do now? There doesn’t seem to be much else that consoles can do to stand out and make themselves known.
The Dark Days of Consoles
A PS5 or an Xbox Two may not ever come to fruition. We seem to be reaching the plateau that games can reach, which means that console development is stagnating. So what does this mean for the bottom line of gaming companies? Well, it doesn’t look that bright. As more and more games are going the route of the PC, the only other potential factor is that consoles are typically cheaper than a good gaming PC.
Gaming companies such as Sony has announced that they are potentially planning on making a next-generation console, but without any innovation to be seen, companies like Sony and Microsoft may soon become games publishers to stay alive.