With so many new advancements in tech, like cloud gaming and mobile gaming, the PS5 and the Xbox Series X just might be the last traditional video game consoles. Here’s why.
It may sound hard to believe, but video game consoles have been around for about 50 years now, and they have been in a constant state of evolution for all those years. In every sense, these consoles have changed and adapted to their respective generation of gamers. Of course, so are the games that were made for them.
If there’s one thing certain if you keep close attention to the way the game industry has always been changing is that it’s nearly impossible to find something that stands still. And by this, we are not talking just about the hardware, but also the software part of the gaming industry.
Of course, something we have to consider is that video games are everything but unique to video game consoles. There are many ways to play video games other than just on a gaming console. And these alternative ways to play have always been a threat to the video game console market.
In recent years especially we’ve seen how this threat takes a lot of control of the market, even pushing out some major names in the industry from certain markets.
Now, why are we even talking about the threats to the video game market? Well, it’s because now, for the first time ever, they do pose a real, tangible threat to the way we’ve been gaming for decades. And we are here to talk about this, and how the days of traditional gaming consoles could be numbered already.
So, let’s start by going a bit over some of these threats and how they affect our beloved traditional gaming consoles.
The world is constantly changing
So, to see what could qualify as a threat to consoles, we have to define what we mean by traditional gaming consoles first. So, for all purposes remaining in this article, we will define a gaming console as a device especially made to run video games developed especially for said device, and it needs to be connected to a TV or monitor, as well as an energy outlet. Sure, it can be a quite long definition, but making sure we’re on the same page is quite important for this.
So, going by that definition you can see one thing already, and it’s that this time, it’s a much smaller market than it’s been in years, know that you only really get two possible console options, either the Xbox Series or the PS5. Yes, we know the most popular current one we have not mentioned yet, and there’s a good reason for that.
The Nintendo Switch is surprisingly one of the most intelligent video game consoles we’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s very underpowered compared to what Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles have to offer, and sure, it may not be on the same level. But it knows that, and it doesn’t even try to compete. By going completely hybrid, Nintendo is really close to having protected itself from one of the biggest threats to video game consoles right now: Mobile gaming.
Sure, it could seem as if the mobile gaming market is a niche one, and that it is very much directed at a much more casual audience. but the truth is that it is the biggest possible audience you could go for, as everyone needs a smartphone these days, and most people will carry one anyway. If you factor mobile gaming in the gaming market numbers, Apple easily becomes one of the most successful economically-speaking gaming companies in the world just by their revenues with gaming software.
Mobile gaming has the most gamers out of any other platform, and it’s actually out of fear of this industry that Sony decided to completely retire from the handheld gaming console market, completely killing off the PlayStation Vita halfway through its life cycle. Sony saw the threat and decided it was futile to keep competing against such a massive market.
However, handhelds now seem to be a key part of the future of gaming. The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid gaming console by Nintendo, and it’s also one of its fastest-selling consoles of all time and the current best-selling video game console in the market. We all know that the Switch combines the best of both worlds, all the comfort, ease of use, and the capability of being used in many ways and even being multiplayer out of the box, with all the good things of having a home console.
But if you’ve kept an eye open these past months, you’ve probably noticed one of the biggest threats ever to video game consoles as we know them, and it’s one that’s been around since the beginning: PC gaming.
The Future of Gaming
Now, we know you may be thinking that PC gaming is not a direct competitor of console gaming, and you’d be right. But the latest developments in ways you can do PC gaming are indeed a serious threat. Not only are computers currently much more powerful than they’ve ever been, but there are more ways to do PC gaming than ever before. We are talking about devices such as the new Steam Deck and the Aya Neo series.
These are handheld console-like devices physically, but they are actually very capable and quite powerful computers, and just like the Nintendo Switch, they can also be plugged into a display, and just like that they become home consoles. But not only that, but they also pretty much become fully blown computers, even capable of running Windows. This means that you have all the advantages of a handheld console, combined with a desktop computer and a laptop. It’s all these possibilities that make it a huge threat for the consoles as we know them.
Sure, if you have a good internet connection, there’s also the possibility to use cloud gaming. This way you could play really demanding games from your phone or low-end computer even.
Overall, what we mean by all this, is that in order to survive, probably the best thing to do for Sony and Microsoft with their home consoles would be to take the hybrid route. After all, who wouldn’t want a new PlayStation handheld console (or a portable PS5), or it could be the first time we ever see something like a mobile Xbox? Heck, they’ve already got Xbox TVs.
The future is coming, and it’s a matter of not if, but rather when are they going to do the big change to survive.
Tell us, do you think traditional video game consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X will die?