Game consoles are coming under fire from a whole host of new platforms and technologies; from smartphones and tablets, to social games and browser titles, to cloud gaming, consoles are competing for entertainment time and dollars. But that doesn’t mean the era of the console is coming to a close, observes gaming legend Will Wright.
The creator of The Sims and Spore observed to that consoles will always have a home for gamers, even if their importance becomes minimized.
“I think there’ll probably still be dedicated game machines going forwards, sitting on a shelf next to your HDTV. I think that they’re going to be catering to a very specific kind of player, which probably isn’t that different from what they were catering to before. It’s just that a lot more people are now playing games, and they’re not playing it on that device.”
For Wright, the biggest change is that games have become much more social and mainstream.
“I think that the social factor has become much larger, and also what I would call the interstitial factor, which is that rather than people doing what you might call session-based gaming, where I’m going to go sit in my room and play Halo for an hour, I have the opportunity to pull out Angry Birds and play for two minutes while waiting in line at Starbucks. I can use games to fill the empty slots in my life, a bit more ubiquitously,” he described.
“I think over the last five years or so it really is the diversification, not just of platform, but alongside of that, of the players, the demographics. Games really used to be something that were targeted to 16-year-old boys. Now we have people of all generations, genders, walks of life, playing games, a lot of them on their cell phones, or on Facebook, or whatever. I think that the explosion in platforms has also driven a very healthy diversification of our audience,” he added.