Nintendo and Sony vs Smartphones and Tablets: Post – Portable Gaming Era

It looks like I have what Jamaicans refer to a “Goat mouth”: I speak and it happens. The reason for my observation? A barebones article of mine on the slow death of Console Gaming titled Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds appears to be coming to pass, as evidence of its demise has now surfaced. In effect the so-called “Post-Portable Gaming” Era. A term coined and used here first folks!

More importantly, the fulfillment of the chilling prophetic words spoken by Hideo Kojima, Creator of the Metal Gear Solid series game saga of video games that began in 1987 at the launch of the new Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker game for PlayStation Portable (PSP) for Konami Corp on April 2010AD in Tokyo.

What did he say that is of relevance to my rant? He spoke thus, saying:  “In the near future, we’ll have games that don’t depend on any platform. Gamers should be able to take the experience with them in their living rooms, on the go, when they travel — wherever they are and whenever they want to play. It should be the same software and the same experience”.

Hideo Kojima has been a developer of video games for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) for the last twenty five (25) years.  Interestingly, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan President Hiroshi Kawano nervously chimed in afterwards, quote: “It’s a bold prediction. We hope he continues to develop for platforms, but we deeply respect his sense of taking on a challenge.”

I love stuff like this happens; prophecy spoken and evidence to support a theory of mine surfaces out of the blue coalescing as one.

This time it is Console Gaming and Portable Gaming maker Nintendo reporting the following bad news:

  • Losses totaling ¥70.3 billion (US$925 million) in the six months from April to September 2011AD
  • Projected losses of ¥20 billion (US$264 million) for the Fiscal Year 2011 to 2012AD

That last bit grates, dear reader, as Nintendo had projected they would make ¥20 billion (US$264 million) in profits. Ouch!

The reasons laid out in my previous article for Console Gaming’s slump can also be transferred to Portable Gaming: smartphones and Tablets. If this were a video game, it would be a fight to the death: Nintendo and Sony vs Smartphones and Tablets, Mortal Kombat style, with Smartphones and Tablets set to give Nintendo and Sony a fatality. Now it’s a little different, though, but the same thing.

Portable Gaming rigs, such as the Sony PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS are experiencing slumps in demand because of challenges from Social Gaming and Cloud Gaming e.g. OnLive, Steam available on Tablets and Smartphones. Ironically, these shifts are in response to Video Game Piracy as laid out in my analysis Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds.

But it more than just that, ma Cherie. Tablets and smartphones such as the Apple iPad and the Apple iPhone can play Games as well as make calls and text, the majority of which are free and a benefit to Developers as encouragingly noted in Smartphones and Apps – Freemium Games are No. 1. The Portable Console makers know it and are trying to catch the smartphone wave as well.

Evidence of this can be seen from the attempts earlier this year by Sony to market the Google Android OS powered Sony XPeria Play smartphone which sported a slide out Sony PSP-styled keypad, reminiscent of the Motorola Droid, also slanted toward Gaming. So far, the numbers in term of sales have not been encouraging.

Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita, despite flirting their own online stores, cannot make phone calls, message or send SMS (Short Messaging Service) or Text Messages – as if you really cared that there was a difference between Texting and Messaging!

To add injury to insult, majority of the new game players are on Facebook in the form of Social Gamers i.e. people playing games on Facebook. Most likely, if anyone is playing any Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita, it is either on FaceBook or downloaded from the Google Android MarketPlace or the Apple Apps Store.

In short, Nintendo is losing sales both in terms of 3DS sales as well as Games sold on the 3DS, a double whammie from which they cannot recover. This is effectively a death knell for Portable Gaming, following behind Console Gaming as per my eulogy Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds.

Similar solution to BOTH Nintendo and Sony: don’t fight it, join it! Cloud Gaming and Social Gaming and making Games available as Freemium Apps is the future Platforms for Console and Portable Games. Great medicine for Piracy too, maintaining profitability among fickle Millennials who are now into gaming on smartphones.

Albeit, I must admit, that Freemium bit is a stretch for Game Developers used to fleecing hardcore gamers US$60 for a Game DVD. But the new growth is in these areas, so the Developers need to embrace Hideo Kojima’s mindset and get with the program.

From an anecdotal point of view, the mere fact that the Apple iPad, the Apple iPhone and the smattering of would-be assassins are making inroads on the Portable Gaming world is an indication that these Gadgets can do it all, as earlier opined in The Apple iPad Effect: Post PC Era Accelerant in Nine Moves.

So the Death of the Portable Gaming rigs is not exaggerated and is as real as prognosticated for Console Gaming and their overpriced titles, even among so-called hardcore Gamers. Predicted first by Hideo Kojima! It is very real, fellow gamers!

This frank admission by Nintendo marks a turning point for Nintendo before their 2012AD launch of the Nintendo WiiU, which I suspect is really vaporware and may end up being an implementation of the PrimeSense 3D Motion Capture Technology, examples of which being Microsoft’s million-selling Kinect add-on. This folks, is the beginning of Post-Portable Gaming Era, a historical moment in time no proven statistically.

Cause of Death: Apple iPad, the Apple iPhone and the conflagration of copycats.

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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.