The bell is tolling for console gaming, according to WildTangent CEO Alex St. John, who has predicted that the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii will be the last successful consoles to come onto the market.
Speaking at the Casual Connect conference in Seattle, St. John predicted the extinction of game consoles by 2020, saying console makers will no longer be able to handle the massive investments required to create and market successful systems. Further, he said, a desire for gaming beyond the confines of the living room will fuel a rise in more portable options.
"We are looking at the last generation of consoles right now," St. John told his audience. "I am going to predict to you that the PS3, the Wii and the Xbox are the last generation of consoles that you either see or that anybody regards as successful in the market."
He added that Nintendo's success with the Wii was due exclusively to its innovative controllers, but then compared that to coin-op arcade machines of many years back, which attempted to fight the onslaught of powerful home systems by adding new controllers and other devices. The console business is "starting to behave like that dead arcade business," he said.
St. John predicted the future is in PC gaming, specifically laptop systems that are becoming more powerful than consoles, offering a completely portable gaming experience on par with the best consoles. His comments echo statements made in a recent interview with Edge-Online, in which he said, "Consider how laptops have changed the market. You have PCs now that can compete graphically with consoles, if not with with 360 and PS3 then with Wii. So kids can play anywhere, or they plug in a gamepad and plug into a TV for that 'immersive' experience. People in our generation might cling to the idea of the console running BioShock, but laptop gaming is going to dominate the market for this next generation."