Console Games "Dying" In Favor of Mobile Games, Says Angry Birds Creator
March 14, 2011 10:05 AM
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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
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
, predicted the
end times of console
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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3/14/2011 1:22:02 PM
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.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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