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Peter Vesterbacka says console games are too expensive at $40 or $50 per game, and take too long and too much work to upgrade

Angry Birds is easily one of the most popular games on the mobile market today, but the game's popularity isn't the only thing swelling these days. The maker of Angry Birds has recently announced that console games are "dying" in favor of mobile games. 

Angry Birds has been wildly successful since its release in December 2009 for Apple's iOS. With over 200 levels, special holiday editions and a low price of only 99 cents, consumers have been receptive to the game's witty and addictive themes. In fact, the game has just passed 100 million downloads, and Rovio Mobile, the computer game developer that created Angry Birds, recently announced $42 million in new funding. 

With all this success, Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Rovio Mobile, predicted the end times of console gaming at a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin. According to Vesterbacka, traditional console games are much too expensive at $40 or $50 per game, and are "difficult to upgrade" while mobile games are easier to develop and release. 

But some have argued that mobile games are more casual while console games provide a more substantial gaming experience with cutting-edge technology and extensive plots. Even Tero Ojanpera, the panel member from Nokia, said console's still had a place in the gaming industry.
In response, Vesterbacka says he is tired of people calling mobile games "casual games," and that gamers can be just as addicted and involved in Angry Birds as any console game. He even mentioned a time when he saw an Angry Birds player throw their phone across the room in frustration when they could not complete a level. 

While Vesterbacka has admitted that no one has really figured out the mobile gaming business model quite yet, he believes Angry Birds has proved that there is plenty of potential opportunity in the business, and Rovio's secret to success is to experiment. It is important, says Vesterbacka, that Rovio does not get too comfortable with any specific business model in order to stay fresh and on top of its game. 


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sorry
By kleinma on 3/14/2011 10:08:10 AM , Rating: 5
I'll take my 360 any day over angry birds, which got old in about 10 minutes for me. One thing mobile gaming doesn't have down at all compared to consoles is multiplayer, which is how the vast majority of players spend their console gaming time. Maybe Rovio should try to make a multiplayer game or a game with actual AI. I don't care how many zombies there are out there playing angry birds, it will get old and in a year no one will play it at all.




RE: sorry
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/14/2011 10:20:56 AM , Rating: 3
It's been the complete opposite for me. I got Donkey Kong Country Returns, Gran Turismo 5, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

I've chalked up maybe 30 mins in GT5 and a solid 30 mins in DKCR. I haven't even cracked open the seal on Hot Pursuit. However, I've racked up hours and hours and hours playing Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons (Christmas, Valentine's Day, and now St. Patrick's Day).

As crazy as it sounds, I enjoy those two 99 cent games more than the console games.


RE: sorry
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/14/2011 10:24:54 AM , Rating: 1
Forgot to add, I got the console games for Christmas.


RE: sorry
By GuinnessKMF on 3/14/2011 10:57:45 AM , Rating: 5
All I got out of your post was that you spent a lot of time on the toilet over the holiday season.

Simple mechanics can be a lot of fun and it doesn't require some crazy graphics/plot/controls to be entertained, but sometimes that extra depth is desired, anyone who claims something as "dying" is just shortsighted, there's always those who want difference experiences.


RE: sorry
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/14/2011 11:01:59 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, I'm not personally saying that the console market is dying, just that I understand why the "casual" smartphone market is growing.


RE: sorry
By Mitch101 on 3/14/2011 11:14:10 AM , Rating: 3
Is it dying or are people willing to throw $0.99 away but have to think about a $49.99 purchase.


RE: sorry
By kleinma on 3/14/2011 11:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
I have probably logged more hours playing trials HD, bomber man, and several other $5-15 xbox live arcade titles than the $50-60 disc based games. consoles are not all about expensive games anymore. I save my disc games for the ones that I know I will really enjoy (like GTA4, Red Dead, Resident Evil 5). Otherwise for the disc games that I know I will like but not love, I wait it out and buy them when they are down to 25-30 bucks.


RE: sorry
By MrBlastman on 3/14/2011 1:22:02 PM , Rating: 3
I think you're onto something.

I'm not a console gamer at all, but I can give my PC gaming perspective. While my bread and butter gaming time is Team Fortress 2, which I spend the most with--I bought it when it was beta along with Portal about three years ago, I find I'm very, very reluctant to spend 50 dollars on a game anymore. In fact, I just beat System Shock for the first time (the _first_ system shock, System Shock 2 is next) last week--what a blast, I must add, even if it was in Dosbox.

I've spent far more time, lately, actually, playing games I spent less than 20 dollars on. NOW, to be fair, all of the games I'm going to list were 40-50 bucks when they first came out, however, with a baby in the house, I can't afford to pay for games when they're new.

Stalker, Shadow of Chernobyl (with the complete mod)--5.00 on Steam.
Arx Fatalis (amazing game), I think I paid 5-10.00 on Steam.
Mass Effect (can't play the second one, the FOV is a stupid 70 that consoles use), I paid 20.00 for on Steam.
Sim City 4 (yes, I get the urge to build sometimes), 5.00 on Steam.
Fallout 3 (close to beating), 20.00 retail.
Rise of Flight, 30.00 retail--BUT, bought all the planes when they went on sale for 50% off.

Seeing a pattern yet? All of these games I bought on sale on Steam. They're all great games and I've beat them all--I just buy them when Steam has it's semi-annual sales and play them later, at a deep discount. In fact, the one game I paid full price for--Dragon Age, I still haven't beaten. I also have StarCraft 2, but, alas, I have no time to play it due to my baby waking up unpredictably--it's hard to pause an RTS game when online.

Then, there are some other budget titles I've bought, such as Braid, Trine and Bionic Commando Reloaded (awesome) that I still have yet to beat, but, all of which I spent less than 5 bucks apiece on.

So, generally, for 50 or 60 bucks, with the way I buy games, I usually can get 6 - 12 games easy for the same amount of money I would spend on one new title.

Then you have to factor in all the old games I'm still playing, like Falcon 4.0, System Shock, X3, EECH Enemy Engaged, DCS: Black Shark etc., Wing Commander (YES, people _still_ play it), X-Wing Alliance (mods for X-Wing and Tie Fighter), Ultima 6/7, and... Freespace 2 (most modded old game there is and looks quite current now).

So, no, gaming is not "dead" or "dying" on modern systems such as Consoles -or- the PC. What has changed is our method for buying these games. Face it, the economy is down and people don't want to spend so much money, so services such as Steam have been an amazing avenue that we now procure our hobby through. It saves us incredible amounts of money to get the same experience.

Now, to be fair, these bigger titles need revenue and since Steam does not disclose as they are private, I have no idea how much money flows through them. However, I'd have to wager that these developers still need people to buy on day one to remain profitable. So, what we might possibly see is fewer A-List titles, or, more titles that focus on gameplay than graphics (because really, who cares about a game that just looks pretty but you can't do anything with it--that'd be like dating a hot woman that a. Never talked and b. Never, ever put out--who'd want that, it would get old, fast).

I seriously think the Angry Birds guy needs to re-assess himself. I think handheld gaming has its place, but, at least in its current state, can't hope to completely replace harder-core gaming. Handheld gaming is what it is, casual gaming for the time being.


RE: sorry
By Alexstarfire on 3/14/2011 2:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
I can understand it too for phone and mobile devices, but when I'm at home I'm not interested in a casual game. Since a console is generally confined to one location, since you can't play it mobile, it doesn't make much sense to have these casual type games on there. Sure, every console has some of these games but it'd be silly to have a console dedicated to them. Mobile devices, on the other hand, are just about the opposite. Doesn't make sense to have a lot of serious games.


RE: sorry
By spread on 3/14/2011 10:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've racked up hours and hours and hours playing Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons (Christmas, Valentine's Day, and now St. Patrick's Day).


Wow. That's a lot of Angry Birds. Sounds like more of an addiction, or you must have a very boring day.


RE: sorry
By Drag0nFire on 3/14/2011 10:40:41 AM , Rating: 2
Is it really because you enjoy the 99 cent games more, or is it just more convenient than your PS3?

I've played through many cheap iOS games, probably spent a few hours on each. Though I've enjoyed many of them, I've mostly played them for the convenience. It's easy to play them on the go while waiting for a bus or taking the train to work.

I am consistently amazed with what the iOS developers can do with a limited price/revenue, but given a choice between an iOS game or a pc game, I'll choose the pc game almost every time.


RE: sorry
By Mitch101 on 3/14/2011 11:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
You bring up a good point I cant game as easily with my XBOX when mobile as I can with a Phone or Tablet. Or as people in my office seem to do on the toilet. I know this because the volume is accidentally up and I can distinguish it over your clearing your throat trying to cover up that your playing a game and didn't realize the sound was on.


RE: sorry
By nikon133 on 3/14/2011 3:52:56 PM , Rating: 2
That is definitely strong factor. I never play games on phone while at home, but do play while, for example, shopping - or, to be more accurate, wait for my lady to shop. Even if I am really getting, well, over-saturated with Angry Birds and handful of other same mechanics games, they are much better fun than browsing n-th boutique shelves.

But once I am at home, it is PS3 and PC exclusively, much as gaming is concerned. Big games with good stories can really suck me in and make me thinking about the game even after I have finished playing, be it for the day or for good. Good game can offer so much to tickle one's imagination. What can AB offer? Same sort of repeated control movement throughout the whole game, no story, no imagination. Once I stop playing, I'm hardly aware I was playing it at all. Birds are angry at pigs and go Kamikaze? Really? That is future of gaming???


RE: sorry
By Breakfast Susej on 3/14/2011 10:42:15 AM , Rating: 5
I wonder more and more as I read opinions as well as observe my own behavior if it is not a facet of how the mind's ability to process information is changing in the face of the internet.

When I was younger I really enjoyed delving into these long and drawn out games, playing through them in multiple ways. Now I am lucky if I can focus my attention on them for 30 minutes at a time.

I buy games on steam that I play a grand total of an hour of and never finish on a regular basis.

Is it a wider symptom of so many people of my generation having their attention span modified by processing all of their information online(as I have seen theorized by other sources.) Or is it just the nature of getting older and finding it harder to immerse oneself in these sorts of pass-times?

I don't really know the answer, maybe it's a combination of both. Maybe it's something else all together that I fail to see.


RE: sorry
By Mitch101 on 3/14/2011 11:27:21 AM , Rating: 2
Are most of those one hour games just rehashes of the same games we played over an over. I suspect that is my issue with many first person shooters. New Maps and Guns = new first person shooter = 1 hour gameplay before moving on.


RE: sorry
By TSS on 3/14/2011 12:30:57 PM , Rating: 3
It's not attention span. It's the games. I'm a hardcore gamer, i've spent countless hours in games. Last thing i did was beeing 36 of the world on the leaderboards in bullitstorm on skillshots.

But even so i have only completed 1 full run in multiplayer. Because the game has a completly random and automated matchmaking system. Even though you can set preferences and have a level, i get matched up with lvl 1's and 3's and so on. Rarely do i see another 40+ (and i'm 60).

"so go play with friends" people say. OK. my 3 real life friends don't like chaotic FPS games like bullitstorm, i do. So i'd play with online friends right? But because of the random match making system, i don't actually meet other hardcore gamers to add to my friends list.

There are no dedicated servers, so players host. And even when you host, you cannot kick or admin anything. So if there's somebody deliberatly shooting the team challanges and you can't complete a round, you can't do anything about it.

I had so much fun in Q3, UT and CS. Just boot up the game, look in the list for a low ping, high player count server, double click and 10 seconds later you'd be playing with likeminded people and admins who'd watch over the server. As long as you obeyed the rules you had a blast. And, if you made it to the top of the scoreboard you where the bomb.

going by the Bad Company 2 example i boot up the game, server browser glitches, have to patch, browser works but doesn't display ping (so we'll work on names then), connect to server, loading ages, spawn, parachute spawn bug, die, respawn, move to a ledge for sniping (and i actually can snipe in games), kick off the other 7 snipers who aren't actually hitting anything but shooting alot of bullits, watch as the others refuse to run up to the point unless it means in a straight into enemy fire, zoom in on a target only to watch it duck as mortars rain on my head. Upon respawn i get headshotted by a cheater, with no admin in sight.

I'll stop here because i can honestly keep typing for 3 whole days explaning exactly what's wrong with games. This entire post has been retyped 3 times from much longer versions, all equally correct. It's the games, 1000% sure.

The only thing i wonder now is how big the tragedy needs to before people will get it.


RE: sorry
By kleinma on 3/14/2011 2:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
It is also a matter of community. Back when I used to play endless hours of Counter Strike (and CS source when it came out) we had our own server and a strong community of at least 50-60 people who were always playing (plus the dozens of randoms). So much that we used to have people waiting like an hour for a spot to open up to get into the server (lucky for us admins we had slot reservations). We enojoyed playing so much because of the people we were playing with. I didn't even ever know any of them personally, just cool people who were into the same game.

Even with the improvements to xbox with the party system, it is still cumbersome to try to have that same experience. So when I play COD black ops, I have to hope and pray I get decent people on my team who try to play the game as a team, and not a bunch of numb nut idiot kids who are just trying to rack up stupid points and rewards. I play for the enjoyment of playing, not for the end game.

I think the xbox live player matching system needs try to group people of similar ages somehow, that would likely improve the online experience.


RE: sorry
By Breakfast Susej on 3/14/2011 3:26:05 PM , Rating: 3
Well you know, I'd like to think it's the games too, I mean I used to be just as into it as you. I still remember playing quake 1 death-match alpha test for the first time on my 486 over a 14.4 modem with a friend.

I played all the FPS's of the day, Quake, Quake2, Quake3, UT, was pretty good at them too. I remember that feeling when you got on a roll and all was right with the world and it felt like you were on fire, you just couldn't be stopped and you topped the scoreboard and it felt awesome. There was always the casual good hearted trash talk among the lan buddies.

Man so many good memories from the lan days. Gaming till 3, 4, 5am. Downing cases of caffeine, pigging out on pizza, taking breaks to head over to the living room and watch whatever movie was on and joke around... Good times.

But now it just isn't the same. First off I game till like 9pm and feel like a whiny old man and want to go to bed. And well, who LAN's anymore?

I had a talk with a friend from high-school the other day and I came to the realization we had become those crusty old gamers we used to laugh at, when we were death-matching it up in quake and they were talking about their atari.

I'd like to think it's the games, but man, I don't know for sure.


RE: sorry
By just4U on 3/14/2011 10:46:18 AM , Rating: 2
I face palmed with your comment Brandon.. Or rather face desked.. All the while thinking soooo.. what does that do for computer gaming.

I understand convienence and mobile games are kinda on the go but for them to say that console gaming is dead in comparison to mobile games is just a shake your head type deal.. it's silly.


RE: sorry
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/14/2011 11:00:50 AM , Rating: 3
I think it relates to a few comments up above (regarding our brains' migrating to a web-based instant gratification model). I rarely even boot up my PS3 anymore. The only time I really do anymore is if my wife and I want to watch a Blu-ray movie.

So that means that by the time I'm actually in the mood to play a PS3 game, I put the disc in and get ready to play and BAM -- a system update has to be downloaded (since I rarely boot it up...my fault really). Grr, OK, I'll wait on this damn thing to finish. Start the game -- BAM an update has been found for your software.

Then I start playing, and I find myself not really interested in the experience any more. I don't know why because I used to be a HUGE PC gamer (I wasted way too much time throwing spinning discs in Tribes and Tribes 2... SHAZBOT!) and probably the most time I've spent wasting hours on console games previous to Angry Birds was with Saint's Row and Grand Theft Auto 4.

Maybe I'm just getting older, maybe it's an instant gratification thing, but I find it much more relaxing and "fun" to just lounge around and play Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, or Worms (SERIOUS time burner) on my iPhone in my free time.


RE: sorry
By just4U on 3/14/2011 8:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe it has to do with being older. Just has to do with interest and perhaps time constraints. I am in my 40s and I bought the PS3 for a select few games otherwise it's just a glorified dvd player. I do however, do a fair amount of PC gaming (again ... very specific titles)

I'd think the same would hold true for mobile gaming. You see people with a few minutes to spare (on a computer) and they load up a flash based game.. next logical step is for it to go mobile..

It's just really premature to put the nail in the coffin on Console (or even pc) gaming. These little games on mobile devices have been around for a dogs age.. they have their place and are a little bit more profitable since mobile devices have gotten better but that's about it.


RE: sorry
By chmilz on 3/14/2011 10:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
The real truth lies somewhere between the two previous posts.

Angry birds is a simple game, and easily playable for a few minutes here and there, amounting to hours over time. A console game is more limited, requiring the player to sit down and focus on it, which can be tough for the time strapped gamer.

However, no mobile game to date can compete with the AI, story, complexity, or immersion of a good console game. Not by a long shot. But the flip side is that console game cost $100M to make, while the app cost $5K.

In time, competition will deliver a great middle ground where you can get, on any platform, a great game for $10, or a fun mindless game for $1.


RE: sorry
By SkullOne on 3/14/2011 11:02:46 AM , Rating: 2
Totally agree.

I don't have the time to play many of today's games. I make the time for certain ones but even then the game will take me 2 weeks to finish instead of two days.

I got married about 18 months ago and that killed a lot of my game time. Now she's pregnant which further hurts the little game time I have. We just bought our first house and we have some work to do there which means very little game time in future as I have a man cave to build. Once the kid arrives all bets are off if I get any game time at all.

This is why I enjoy things like Angry Birds. I can play a level or two here and there and allow myself a few moments of relaxation. I can stop the game whenever I want without losing the last 30 minutes of work. I don't see console gaming as dying but I clearly see the appeal of mobile gaming.


RE: sorry
By nafhan on 3/14/2011 11:05:50 AM , Rating: 2
I've also racked up hours with Angry Birds, but it's not because Angry Birds is an incredible paragon of gaming that some people seem to think it is. Rather, I'd say it's marginally fun, and I've got it with me all the time . More importantly, time spent playing cell phone games has mostly just kept me from being bored while I carpool/wait in line/etc. It's done nothing to my console/PC gaming time.

In other words, cell phone games are for filling a niche (a HUGE niche) that gaming hadn't gotten into before. There's no way they will move into console gaming territory without similarly expensive budgets and prices.


RE: sorry
By Aloonatic on 3/14/2011 11:48:51 AM , Rating: 2
I quite agree. It's like saying (a year after their release) that the huge increase in the number of tic-tacs eaten by people is a threat to the cooked dinner.


RE: sorry
By PrinceGaz on 3/14/2011 12:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've got it with me all the time ... In other words, cell phone games are for filling a niche (a HUGE niche) that gaming hadn't gotten into before


That's odd, because I thought Nintendo had been doing a pretty successful job of selling games (and other software) you could play anywhere on their portable devices long before smartphone game apps like Angry Birds came along.


RE: sorry
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/14/2011 12:32:25 PM , Rating: 3
Adults don't walk around with a PSP or DS in their pockets at all times. However, they do carry a smartphone 24-7.


RE: sorry
By nafhan on 3/14/2011 3:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
This.


RE: sorry
By Hiawa23 on 3/14/2011 12:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
Games like angry Birds don't appeal to me. I would gladly take my PS3 Xbox 360 over anything mobile. I think they are 2 different markets at play when you compare consoles to mobile, so I am kind of surprised they are comparing the two. Mobile games should be cheaper as I thought they were meant to be easy to get into, short, & simple which to me is different than alot of console games. Maybe, that's just my thinking.


RE: sorry
By psonice on 3/14/2011 1:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
It comes down to the person. I haven't fired up any of my consoles in over 12 months. I've played lots of iphone games though. Difference is it's simply in my pocket, ready to go.. when I get home I've generally played a couple of games during the day and just don't feel the need to sit down for more.

One thing I've really learned (and this goes for nintendo's stuff too) is that the only important thing is that it's fun. Graphics and controllers and so on are a bonus, but if it's fun, that's all you need.

Oh, and you're wrong on multiplayer - games like angry birds have this 100% right. I don't play it myself (played crush the castle, and didn't particularly like the angry birds version) but I've seen a few people playing it in the office. It's oldschool style multiplayer, they compete on how many levels they've done with 3 stars. Instead of sitting alone infront of a screen, they're having a laugh with friends + colleagues over it. It's like the classic combination of mariokart, 4 controllers and a crate of beer, except without the beer :)


RE: sorry
By sleepeeg3 on 3/14/2011 7:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
This from a man who stole the idea for Angry Birds from Crush the Castle - a PC game.


RE: sorry
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/15/2011 12:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
There's a free pool game on the Android Market that lets you play against someone. It even has a chat room. That game has become addicting just because you can play against another human lol.


"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs














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