Gaming Consoles on the way out. Mobile devices to replace big, bulky units in as little as 5 years?

by Mike
Posted December 15th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

rrod2Are gaming consoles, the very thing that has kept many a geek enthralled for years, on the way out? Is their relevance slowly disappearing as mobile devices become more and more powerful with scalable options and outputs that are ever increasing?

To highlight this simple though looming question, look at the iPhone. While on the device itself the hardware isn’t too spectacular compared to current gaming champs such as the Xbox 360 and PS3, the iPhone is quickly pushing the idea of mobile gaming ahead quicker than it has ever moved before. If someone asked you years back when the original Playstation was released if they ever dreamed that within 15 years someone would be able to play the same games on a phone, chances are you’d laugh and discount them as crazy. Yet here were in 2009 with very playable Playstation One games running on emulators aboard jailbroken iPhones.

But simple on device hardware isn’t going to kill traditional consoles alone. What about those late night parties and weekend frag fests with your friends? If everyone stayed in their room and kept their nose in their own little device, who would have fun gaming anymore? The expanding options to connect phones to TV’s is coming. Looking ahead to 2010, several phones are rumored to be coming with HDMI-out. Watching movies via your phone will be easier and more fluid than ever. If the same phone has the graphical muscle and supporting games to make the most of that muscle, such connections will ultimately make the traditional gaming console obsolete.

iphone-gameJust think, in as little as 5 years, a LAN party could involve nothing more than 20 people showing up at a gaming event with nothing more than themselves and their phone. Again, it’s crazy to think about because even now, LAN parties require some pretty meaty laptops. Ok, so maybe 5 years to the day won’t see gaming laptops reborn inside of phones, but I bet you if we stretch that limit to 10 years the outcome will more substantial. Besides the expanding power of mobile devices, one can also look towards the increase in game downloads, streaming, and other types of cloud services that are beginning to render physical media obsolete as we speak.

The addition of high definition outputs on mobile devices coupled with the push online is only making a market ripe for the taking of any young and forward thinking entrepreneur. Even traditional consoles are relying more and more on cloud based services and features. Though such consoles will always suffer from one big flaw — the cords that tether them to the walls. With battery technology of the near future coupled with the increasing advancements in mobile graphics and computing technologies, the day of the gaming console may be nearing the end.

I’m not trying to drum up mass hysteria and panic by putting a date on console gaming’s death. Though the brains behind such projects as the Xbox and PS platform should be looking at mobile gaming with at least one eye intently trained on it. Whether they like it or not, mobile devices will one day become the go to hardware. Will the golden oldies reinvent themselves or will they suffer the same fate as several other aging industries (namely US auto and newspaper industries) have faced?

What do you think, will the Xbox 720 and PS4 be the last of a dying breed?

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4 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • HamMalone
    December 23, 2009 at 12:54 am

    P.S, You’re title infers that you have some sort of reference to back it up. Wheres the facts?

    • Mike
      December 23, 2009 at 6:05 am

      It’s assuming people (ie: the type of people who would read a blog such as this) know the market and what is currently on the bleeding edge. It’s no secret or mystery that content of all types is increasingly moving to a digital form. It’s also no secret or mystery that smartphones are becoming more and more like miniature computers with every new handset release. Coupled with the first two facts, a third thing that is highlighted is the adoption of various output ports on mobile handsets.

      The iPhone and iPod Touch as one example allow video out via composite. Nothing spectacular resolution-wise, but it is a sign of things to come. A more forward thinking example can be seen in the Creative Zii — an Android powered phone with 1080p support and an HDMI out.

      When all three are taken into account, it isn’t hard to gather that the market will increasingly move away from the traditional console/dvr/dvd player etc. as mobile devices become more able to handle the various forms of content.

  • HamMalone
    December 23, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Technology advances rapidly, this is hardly a new thought. Too much time on your hands?

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