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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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Ignoring Reality
By DtTall on 3/14/2011 11:06:31 AM , Rating: 2
People act like these small games are something new. PopCap and sites like it have been around for a long time. They fill a niche for entry level gamers, serve as a reprieve for hardcore gamers, and are fun (just like I enjoy playing some games on Sega Genesis or Nintendo).

I actually view these smaller games as expanding the market of good games while shrinking the market for stupid bad console games (namely almost anything named after a movie).

The Kinect sold like crazy. The Wii flew off the shelves. The Halo series continues to bring in large amounts of money as do a number of other quality series (Assassins Creed or Mario anything for instance). And these provide a great multi-player experience.

I'm not saying there is no room for him and those type of games (as I said, they can be great fun) but I don't buy into the idea that they are eliminating console games just because they are higher quality and more expensive. As far as I can tell Saturn and Chrysler didn't kill Mercedes, Lexus, or Audi.

RE: Ignoring Reality
By Breakfast Susej on 3/14/2011 11:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
One thing that also may be overlooked in the matter is the reality of actually creating new audiences to gaming. I would offer that many of the people playing games like angry birds have never, and would never sit down in front of a console in the first place.

Much like facebook making "gamers" out of people who you wouldn't ever look at and say, "that person is a gamer". It can be studied with phenomenons like World of Warcraft, which exploded in popularity right around the time it changed to target a more mainstream audience.

None of it necessarily means as you say, that the audiences for the previous mediums have gone anywhere. They are still there, playing their console games, their pc games, etc. It is simply that a new market has been tapped.

As you say, casual games were indeed always there, popcap games etc. What wasn't there was something with a massive user base like the android marketplace and the apple app store to push those casual games out so effortlessly as there is now.

To sum it up, I would agree that neither console, or PC games are going, nor do they have to be going away for casual games like angry birds to have their own marketplace.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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