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Is Console Gaming Dying? 496

mr_sifter writes "PC gamers love to obsess over whether PC gaming is dying, but bit-tech thinks it's time to look at the other side and examine if console gaming is really as secure as publishers would have us believe. All three console manufacturers suffered from the recession — this year, Sony announced its first net loss in 14 years; a stunning ¥989.9bn, which includes record losses of ¥58.5bn in its gaming sector. Microsoft also announced its first loss since it went public in 1986 in the second quarter of this financial year, with a $31 million US loss coming straight from the Entertainment and Devices division, which is responsible for the Xbox 360. Not even Nintendo has escaped the financial plague either, with sales of the Wii dropping by 67 percent in the US, 60 percent in Japan and 47 percent in the rest of the world. In addition to reduced profitability, casual games and the rise of the iPhone further suggest the current model is not invulnerable."
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Is Console Gaming Dying?

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  • it's not dying (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:30PM (#30435712) Journal

    <non smart ass answer>The console industry is hardly the only one that lost money this year. Hello, recession?</non smart ass answer>

    <smart ass answer>Netcraft hasn't confirmed it yet, so it can't be dying.</smart ass answer>

  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by kryptKnight ( 698857 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:33PM (#30435764)
    The video game industry isn't the only one posting losses recently, so this doesn't seem like a big deal at all. That and these consoles are four years old, it's not surprising to see sales dip.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:36PM (#30435798)

    This article is inaccurate. Microsoft didn't post a loss, it posted its first REVENUE DROP since it became public in 1986. They still made a pretty good profit in that quarter.

  • by ElSupreme ( 1217088 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:40PM (#30435842)
    +1 informative. MSFT is still hugely massively, obscenely profitable.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:46PM (#30435940)

    Microsoft also announced its first loss since it went public in 1986 in the second quarter of this financial year, with a $31 million US loss coming straight from the Entertainment and Devices division,

    This statement seems to imply that the console losses from the Entertainment Division somehow led to the sudden loss as a company for MS. Except for a few quarters, the division has historically been a money loser for MS. MS has had cumulative losses of $8 billion from the division since the Xbox was started.

  • by ArcadeNut ( 85398 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:46PM (#30435942) Homepage

    PC gamers love to obsess over whether PC gaming is dying? No, Console Players obsess over that. PC Gamers just keep playing :)

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:56PM (#30436104) Journal

    Left Joystick Movment
    Right Joystick aiming/Camera Movement

    A is to select a menu item
    B is to cancel out of a menu item

    These are all pretty standard across all the consoles (Well PS3 uses shapes but if you use their relative positions its the same).

    The thing that scares most people away from consoles is that they have too many buttons. 2 Joysticks, 2 bumpers 2 triggers, a D-pad, start, select, and 4 other buttons? It overwhelms most casual gamers. A keyboard full of controls gets even worse.

    The arguement has and always will remain the same: Computers have more flexibility but also more issues tied with it. The money you save in online playing fees are spent in computer upgrades. Console games are guaranteed to work on your brick whereas your PC game might not support your video card.

    We can circle around all day - neither is any "Better" for gaming, its all dependant on your needs. Some people would much rather sit down, use two thumbs to make masterchief Shoot, putting little to no thought into cursing at 10 year olds on Xbox Live. Other people want to be able to micro manage and feel their adrenaline pump as they perfectly maneuver their forces into the enemy base.

  • Re:Smaller developes (Score:3, Informative)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:11PM (#30436276) Journal

    Define Smallest?

    I alone could submit a game to the Xbox Live Arcade - for a small investment. Whether it makes it up there or not depends on how good it is - but the fact remains a single person can make a game for the 360.

  • by thule ( 9041 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:20PM (#30436404) Homepage
    ...are recent games! Mario Kart for Wii and New Super Mario for DS has sold very well.
    Top 20 console games of all time []
    1. Wii Play (Wii – 24.43 million)[68]
    2. Wii Fit (Wii – 22.5 million)[68]
    3. Nintendogs (DS – 22.27 million, all five versions combined)[69]
    4. Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green (Game Boy – 20.08 million approximately: 10.23 million in Japan,[45] 9.85 million in US)[19]
    5. New Super Mario Bros. (DS – 19.94 million)[68]
    6. Mario Kart Wii (Wii – 18.36 million)[68]
    7. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES – 18 million)[108]
    8. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (DS – 17.41 million)[69]
    9. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2 - 17.33 million)[114]
    10. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (DS – 16.81 million)[70]

    Except for the single PS2 game and Super Mario Brothers 3, DS and Wii games seem to be selling very well. It will be very interesting to see how well New Super Mario Wii sells. It has been out for three weeks and is currently clocking in near 2 million units.
  • by pwfffff ( 1517213 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:32PM (#30436590)

    If it runs like a slideshow, try turning down the freaking settings. You know, so it matches the Xbox graphics. Those things don't magically get more hardware over time, they just keep the games looking crappy.

  • Re:Larger problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by RedK ( 112790 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:26PM (#30437192)

    Sony isn't about to let the PS3 go when they're counting on it to push Blu-Ray (their proprietary format)

    I don't know how the rest of your post got +5 insightful, but this comment especially should've gotten you a couple of troll mods. Blu-ray is design by committee. It's not Sony's proprietary format even though they started the project to work on it and were most aggressive in pushing it (through the PS3). Sony doesn't own the format and if Sony died tomorrow, you would still have Blu-ray on the market.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:00PM (#30437656)

    Microsoft didn't post a loss this year. They posted their first-ever reduction in revenue... those are two different things, and the author of this article is a retard for not knowing the difference.

    In fact, considering all factors (and Vista), Microsoft has been weathering this recession much better than most companies.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by RichardJenkins ( 1362463 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @08:44PM (#30438246)
    I heard from a reliable news source [] that the movie industry just had their biggest year ever, in the middle of a recession.
  • by feepness ( 543479 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @10:22PM (#30439326) Homepage

    I like consoles because I know that even in 5 years, if a game is released for my xbox 360 (or wii, or whatever), then it'll work on that console

    Yeah, but with regards to the 360, whether the console itself will be working is a major consideration.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 14, 2009 @11:02PM (#30439718)

    hey, it's the Great Recession...just about everything is losing money

  • by Hacker_PingWu ( 1561135 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @11:28PM (#30439916)
    All this talk in this thread and others about "compatibility and driver issues," and "consoles just work" and the like are all lunacy.

    If your PC stops running the games you buy now more than two years from now, you're seriously doing something wrong with your PC! And if you're referring to playing new games on a 2 year+ old system, you're doing something even more wrong - buying old parts for twice as much or more as they're worth in belief they're modern. In some of Apple's desktops, this is often enough the case. :rolls eyes:

    If you looked over the specs for parts, and spent a good half hour planning out your decision (probably something everyone should do when making a purchase of a few hundred dollars or more) you wouldn't get these issues. Hardware/software incompatibilities happen with upgrades, but they're usually infrequent, and even more frequently easy to fix and easy to avoid beforehand with just a little planning.

    The ability to 'just buy the game...and get playing...' exists for PCs as well. Building your own system is *simple* and unless you make a huge mistake with different hardware brands being incompatible or your own users settings in your software and OS, you won't have the '...various hardware and software compatibility issues to worry about.' You are equally able to buy a game, install it and 'just play it.' With the advent of direct download services and delivery clients such as Steam, you can click several times and get to playing.

    A PC is greatly more complex with more potential use than a console, and in kind has more options and settings to mess with. If you don't want or like to fiddle with that, that's fine! Nobody *should* ridicule you for feeling that way. But that's different than trying to justify the superiority of an functionally inferior product with a comparatively simplified User Interface because it requires less knowledge and effort to use. That's when you get a line of people arguing with you, like in this thread.

    You're making a claim that an overall more expensive, less functional product with a shorter life cycle than an overall less expensive, exponentially more functional product with a comparatively longer lifespan is superior overall, because it doesn't require effort, learning and sometimes problem solving to learn to use. If you don't understand why that attitude would incite argument or deserve ridicule, you're all the more deserving of them.

    If you don't want to deal with complexity, then say so. PC users often take the technical competence they gain over time for granted - it's similar in a sense to auto repair & maintenance, home remodeling, etc. etc. etc. in that it's much less expensive to do things, and you can do more, when you know how to do it yourself. But not everyone wants to be bothered with it, and if you're in that camp you WILL pay much more for your tune ups, your repairs and replacements, even be price-gouged, at the hands of someone with the know-how.

    The larger point people try to make aside from protesting functional lack of options/simplicity == functional superiority, is that unlike auto maintenance or home remodeling, basic computer use is very simple & quicker to pick up - and is so pervasive in society and will continue to be so that you had better learn. For all of the cost of buying your geek friend lunch, a $60 weekend course at a community college, or a few hours starting from scratch, you can learn to use all that extra utility a PC provides.
  • by Fallingcow ( 213461 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @01:48AM (#30440850) Homepage

    Do you think anyone will be able to maintain your console games 10 years from now?

    Of course you'll be able to play current console games 10 years from now.

    Using an emulator.

    On a PC.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:26PM (#30450060) Homepage Journal

    It's rather sad that you realise in the first half of your post that a direct PC/console comparison is stupid, and then continue to make the same stupid comparison further down.

    You can't compare a console to a PC, but you can compare their ability to play games. A console is, by definition, nothing more than a gimped PC used for dedicated gaming, they are this, and nothing more.

    The generic nature, the nature of the fact PCs can have an unlimited amount of addons is what cripples them in terms of gaming performance, the various generic buses capable of handling a plethora of different addons is what acts as a bottleneck in relation to buses dedicated to transferring game related data between game related hardware.

    I've never actually seen this problem. Generally consoles have the advantage (performance wise) for about a year after their release, ignoring Nintendo's products, after that PC hardware catches up at the same price points. Oddly, this year is generally the same time when the consoles are selling the most under cost, since the price of hardware would bring them at, or above, the price of a similar speced PC. Right now I'm running a $500 Dell with an old video card ( ATI 4650; $50 at Fry's), and can run just about any game at max settings, and get a decent frame-rate. I don't see any performance degradation, obviously, since it performs better.

    The only question involved is taste. Which do you prefer. The PC holds a slight edge (especially if we tack on a few extra bucks, and you have the technical skills to actually use it), but consoles also work fine as well. I really don't care what people want to waste their time on, I just don't like self-justifying arguments to back up their decision.

    For instance, while I do think that my PC has higher gaming capabilities, I really want to drop money on a 360 (if only they weren't plagued by hardware issues) because of their exclusives. I also own a Wii, just for the drunken fun factor. All things are matters of preference.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.