This week, Sony have announced their new console gaming platform- the PS4- but is this new generation of gaming machines entering an already saturated market? It’s long been known that Sony, and many other console developers, sell their machines at a loss initially to make their profits in other areas such as annual subscription fees for online gaming so can Sony hope to make any profit whatsoever from their new machine?
Gaming has changed since the launch of the last generation of consoles- namely the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. The rise in the number of handheld tablets and super-fast mobile phones plays a huge part in this as more and more people play games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds whilst on the go. Mobile apps are proliferating at a rate never seen before and small developers can make a bundle if a title ‘goes viral’ like the last two examples which leaves traditional gaming companies scratching their heads as to how they can compete. Sony are already focussing on diversifying their gaming portfolio to include handheld, mobile platforms- perhaps an admission of a certain future for its high-spec consoles.
The price tag for a new games console is around the three hundred pound mark and unsurprisingly many casual gamers will baulk at forking out so much for something that they may feel is redundant anyhow. If you’ve already got a smartphone or a tablet and can pay under a pound for a new title why would you bother in paying three hundred pounds and up just for the machine? Indeed, computer games fanatics will always pay top dollar to get their hands on the latest machines but the casual gamer, who last time around was wooed by the Wii, is unlikely to cough up the cash for the cutting edge.
There’s no doubting the power of some console titles- games that have spanned and defined generations of gameplay still draw huge crowds and have fans queuing overnight just to get a glimpse. This is definitely one of the consoles’ major pulls- no mobile app can boast the remarkable fan base that titles such as Sonic, Mario and Halo have. But these pseudo-cinematic masterpieces of gaming cost a bundle to develop and the range is still somewhat limited- the mk808B with Bluetooth makes sure that your tv isn‘t hampered so. It’s estimated that each console can carry around eight hundred titles in its range in comparison to an almost unlimited number available through mobile download.