October 20, 2007 // 11:55 am
- Today I came across a very, very funny article in which Gerhard Florin, a senior executive at Electronic Arts, said game consoles as a platform will soon become obsolete. This is why that will never happen.
When I say "that will never happen," I mean it will never happen unless we discover some crazy new technologies that revolutionize the way we game.
With that said, Florin had this to say regarding the future state of gaming consoles in a recent BBC piece:
We want an open, standard platform which is much easier than having five which are not compatible ... We're platform agnostic and we definitely don't want to have one platform which is a walled garden ... I am not sure how long we will have dedicated consoles - but we could be talking up to 15 years.
Consoles will never become obsolete because PC gaming is way too expensive, and traditional controllers do not work as well as their console counterparts. If you want to have a relatively good gaming experience on a PC, you have to spend about three or four times what you would spend on a console. Even worse, after maxing out your PC with all the latest and greatest tech, guess what? You have to do it all over again a year and a half later.
Consoles, on the other hand, will give you a great gaming experience for $500 or less and that experience only gets better over the next five to ten years.
What about those that prefer controllers over the keyboard and mouse experience? Controllers in the PC world are a novelty, and the only way you can have great gaming experience with most games is to give-in and use your favorite mouse and keyboard combo. Granted, there are games like flight simulators that work with joysticks and such, but they are scarce.
The EA boss then suggested that games will eventually be downloaded and played over cheap, open (in terms of development), server-based set-top boxes. Why will that never happen?
For two reasons, which cater to both the console companies and the general public: Console creators want to make money, and they do so by producing successful consoles that in turn sell very profitable games, accessories, and downloadable content such as games, videos, extras, etc. The general public would also avoid a cheap, server-based set-top box because we're a stubborn bunch, and we like things the way they are. Heck, it takes government action to get the mass public to switch to digital TVs as opposed to our beloved analog sets.
EA, as a developer, would love everyone to switch to PC gaming or perhaps have their open platform idea to take off, but they're dreaming. It's much easier to develop for one platform, but it just doesn't work. It's like Linux devs asking Apple to stop developing Mac OSX because they want everything to work over a single, open platform. And getting Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft to stop producing consoles would take a massive, massive effort over a long period of time, but hey, bribes always work, right?
Besides, who would choose a cheap, generic set-top box over a the Playstation 4 or Xbox 720? Hah!