Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds

Console Gaming is on the uptick by some 26% in April 2011 when compared to the same month in April 2010. So says the Analyst NPD in a report released that also indicated that Online Gaming, Social Gaming and Mobile smartphone Gaming were taking a bit out of the Console gamers profitability.

Obviously, the Console gamers are seeing a blip driven by newer game titles such as “Mortal Kombat 2011” and “Portal 2”. So this statistics from NPD is irrelevant. But the report in the increase appears to be merely due to improved content and hardware. Especially hardware!

Namely the Guinness World Record breaking Microsoft Kinect selling one hundred and thirty three thousand three hundred and thirty three (133,333) devices per day and hitting ten million (10,000,000) devices sold worldwide between November 2010AD to February 2011AD.

Five (5) Games were top sellers, accounting for two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) units in April 2011:

  1. Mortal Kombat 2011
  2. Portal 2
  3. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  5. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters

Guess I know what to start putting on my Summer Gaming List!

Of all the Console Gaming Platforms, Microsoft XBox 360 had the largest number of sales, racking up a decent three million five hundred thousand (3,500,000) Games. Expressed in Benjamins, Console and Portable Games, inclusive of PC Games saw a 24% increase in sales with US$533.6 million in sales in April 2011 when compared to the US$429.4 million in sales in April 2010.

A blip or signs of an uptick just before E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) this Tuesday June 7th 2011AD to Thursday June 9th 2011AD, in the midst of Apple WWDC (World wide Developer Conference) on Monday June 6th 2011AD to Friday June 10th 2011AD.

Console Gaming hardware in April 2011 was also up a modest 20% to US$961.2 million from US$802.4 million in April 2010. May I now call this the 3D Motion Capture Effect or even better, the catchier and risqué Microsoft Kinect Effect?

NPD Analyst Anita Frazier expresses the reason for the uptick best, quote: “The content slate was stronger this year versus last April”.

Like duh-uh!!

So is Console Gaming back, then I presume? Not quite.

According to the same NPD Survey, Gamers are buying fewer physical discs or other Storage Media for Games, when compared to Software downloads. This conclusion based on a Survey of eight thousand two hundred and fourteen (8,214) respondents aged two (2) and up from Tuesday February 15th 2011AD to Tuesday March 14th 2011AD in the US of A.

I know this may be true personally, as I mostly download Games online. I don’t own a Gaming Console and I know friends of mine in May Pen, Clarendon who have Consoles but also have a PC, so they opt to download Console Games emulated to run on PC’s, preferring to exchange Games amongst themselves at school.

Even worse, they purchase CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s of Games on the road for JA$100 apiece. No matter what the source, cracked Consoles Games are virus-laden and are a sure way of having your PC fail.

More business for me as a Computer Technician which is the only upside of stealing property that does not belong to you, as the Games on the legal CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s are virus laden by Console Game Makers deliberately to attack people who pirate Games.

Not to mention updates for some illegal Console Games that refuse to play without the Internet and when they detect the game is on a PC, will attempt to cripple the game. The Gaming Console and Developer Industry and software giant Microsoft have a lot in common, it seems!!!!

The stats tell a better story than I ever can. Of eight thousand two hundred and fourteen (8,214) respondents in the NPD Survey from Tuesday February 15th 2011AD to Tuesday March 14th 2011AD:

  • 75% preferred owning a physical copy
  • 25% who preferred to digital download due to the convenience of shopping from home

Also of the same sample of respondents:

  • 60% spent equally on Console and Portable Game Discs/Cartridges
  • 40% spent less on Physical Game Discs/Cartridges

This preference for Physical Game Discs/Cartridges is not surprising, as people prefer a disc over a download, despite the convenience. Ditto for yours truly; even after downloading software on my hard-drive, I still prefer to burn a physical copy or upload it to my DropBox account.

I don’t trust Hard-Drives or Thumb Drives, which have a habit of failing. A good recovery tool and Data on a scratched CD, DVD or Blu-Ray can be easily recovered.

Again NPD Analyst Anita Frazier chimes in, quote: “Mobile Gaming represents one of the fastest growing segments of the digital Games market, and potential for future growth remains strong as more consumers are using smartphones for Games of all types, including the increasingly popular mobile game apps”.

Looks like the future of Gaming is less expensive Cloud-Based Gaming Platforms, such as OnLive and Steam with significantly lower profit margins but greater Game Security, as downloads, mainly of an illegal nature, will continue to eat into Console and PC Disc/Cartridge sales.

Jamaica too, may be catching this wave of Cloud-Based Services, following announcement by Telecom Provider Digicel on Wednesday May 11th 2011AD and Fujitsu, an Enterprise Server Solution Company on Thursday May 12th 2011AD of their respective Cloud Backup Storage.

On a personal note, can’t wait to see what new features the Nintendo Wii will be packing! Another article, another time!!!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.


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