The Future of the Holy Trinity of Game Consoles

The Holy Trinity of Game Consoles, meaning Xbox (Microsoft), Playstation (Sony) and Wii (Nintendo), have reigned for many years now. But will that reign last?

1) There are new consoles on the horizon
Gamestick (Android): http://www.gamestick.tv/
Ouya (Android): http://www.ouya.tv/
Steambox (Steam): rumored

Android is already quite popular on mobile, but how well will it do in the living room? I think it can't compete against the 3 big consoles, but it can fill the gap those consoles have. Mainly casual, social and cheap games.

And *if* the Steambox does finally come out, well... that is going to have a massive impact.

2) Sales of the Wii U are less than expected
The Wii had its time, but the Draconian method of Nintendo will be their undoing. Nintendo needs a need business plan, instead of releasing the 50th Mario game.

3) The new Xbox is receiving negative publicity (for each new tidbit about it)
Yeah, the Xbox360 did well... The next one won't.

I think the Playstation 4 is going to be the winner this generation.

What do you think of the future of game consoles?

I don't know if I would call it the "Holy Trinity," considering this is the first generation where Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have been the only major competitors in the console space. Sega was in the race last generation with the Dreamcast, and this is only the second console race that Microsoft has participated in. Calling it a "Holy Trinity" implies that it's some longstanding thing, when it really hasn't been.

Also, everything we've heard about Steambox (and the similar things made by other companies) is that it isn't really a console, but a pc that emulates certain aspects of the console experience. Playing on a TV with a gamepad is not the aspect that separates a console from a pc.

Anyway, on-topic, I don't think any of the current console manufacturers are going anywhere. Remember, the only reason Sega dropped out of the race is because it had two consoles that were colossal failures in a row. None of the consoles of last generation were a colossal failure, and none of them look like they will be this generation.

I do think Nintendo's going to suffer from the limited hardware (especially the hard drive) and gimmicky controller of the WiiU, but I think that they're strong roster of first-party ips will keep them going. Also, it's not like the WiiU has done horribly so far, it just hasn't been quite up expectations, which is completely different.

The more interesting battle will be the one between Sony and Microsoft. Sony is in a position where they can overtake Microsoft if they play things right. If they can come right out of the gate showing that they're committed to providing the best experience for gamers and developers, and show that their online functionality is on par or better that Microsoft's for free, then they could be in a very good position, assuming Microsoft doesn't start doing something radically different from what they've been doing.

Microsoft has some serious disadvantages. For one, the fact that Xbox Live is a paid service that is chock-full of ads isn't doing them any favors. Their recent focus on the more casual market with Kinect is probably going to bite them in the ass, because the casual market isn't terribly sustainable and "hardcore" gamers don't like that shit. That said, they do have one big advantage that cannot be discounted: their huge current userbase. They already have a huge market that is using their product and probably more willing to put up with their bullshit. Of course, this didn't help Sony too much this generation, so who knows?

Anyway, my overall prediction is Sony>Nintendo>Microsoft, with PC gaming continuing to grow, and possibly overtaking console gaming late next generation (although it is far, far too early to say with any certainty). Alternate gaming experiences, such as living room PCs or Android consoles, will probably make their own niche, but probably not pose a serious threat to the way the current market operates.

 

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