Is Console Gaming Dead or Dying?

April 5th, 2008 Sam

Hello fellow Total PlayStation readers and welcome to what I hope is the first of many weekly blogs about all things gaming, Blu-ray, and Sony related!

You may know me as Senior News Editor Warren Stallworth, the same guy who brings you daily updates on all things PlayStation. Well, it’s a little known fact that I’m also something of a Community Manager around these parts and part of that community management is putting a little something on this here blog page every now and again. We’re shooting for weekly updates, Saturdays being the most opportune day of the week to jot down some thoughts. I plan to stick to that schedule and give you guys something to read while you’re busy blasting, racing, or questing with each other on the weekends.

I wanted to open with a little something about myself but I figured that would be boring to read. I’m just like any other gamer out there: started gaming at a young age with my console of choice (Nintendo Entertainment System was my drug back then), toyed a little bit with online gaming before the MMORPG explosion, and fell in love with Sony around the middle of the PlayStation 2 era. I like to write (obviously) and I like gaming, so I figured I’d try combining the two and that led me to TPS.

Now that introductions are out of the way, we can get to the real meat of this entry: the future of console gaming. I’ve recently been having discussions with fellow gamers about how much gaming they get to do in a typical week. My peers are all over the age of twenty-five, so we have families and other obligations, and many times gaming gets pushed into the background. Some of my peers haven’t played their consoles (old gen or new gen) in weeks or even months, while others get an hour or two a day. Since graduating college or high school, none of us have been able to do marathon sessions like the old days.

As for myself, I play games for review. With my busy schedule, I typically play one game a week and unwind with a little World of Warcraft on the weekends. I still don’t put in any marathon sessions and I have a back catalog of games that truly are a closest of shame. I’d rather not think about all of the RPGs I’ve started and never finished.

Allow me to go off on a tangent for a moment; what I have to say is relevant to our discussion, I promise. It’s no secret that Sony won the next generation format war. Blu-ray is king… well, if you don’t count DVD. This works in Sony’s favor, since HD TV adoption rates will pick up sometime after February 2009 and folks will be looking for a fancy HD Disc player to hook up to their new fancy HD TV. Granted, if the PlayStation 3 doesn’t come down in price, that won’t be flying off the shelves the way PS2 did for those folks who wanted a DVD player, but at least Sony will do well for themselves with standard Blu-ray players. But therein lies the problem… if PS3 isn’t the AV equipment of choice for next generation players, will the mass market snatch it up the way hardcore gamers do?

Why is this important? Because, as a mobile society, we’re spending less and less time in front of our TVs and more time on the road with friends, commuting to work, or traveling. We’ve traded in our land lines for cellphones and our desktop computers for iPhones and laptops. Wouldn’t that also mean we’ve traded in our consoles for portable devices? Maybe.

A quick glance at Japanese sales charts quickly reveals the reality of that statement: Nintendo DS has sold more in its short lifetime than PlayStation 2 sold over the course of its seven years. The greatest console system of all-time was beaten out by a portable system that still hasn’t run out of steam. People are getting their gaming fix in smaller, bit sized pieces. Granted, that’s Japan and not the United States or Europe, but when the North American NPD’s reveal that Nintendo DS handily sells upwards of 500k a month during the slow season, something has to be up.

What of the PlayStation Portable? It’s selling. In fact, it’s picked up steam in Japan as the multimedia player of choice. People aren’t spending time in their homes watching media, they’re on the subway or out and about doing it instead, which means they aren’t buying PlayStation 3’s to either watch or play that media.

There are other factors involved and we would be here all day if I listed them. But portable gaming is becoming more important than console gaming. I believe this generation, regardless of how any company wants to paint it, will be far smaller than either of the previous two. To the vast majority, consoles just aren’t that important anymore.

But of course console gaming isn’t dead and that’s not what this is about. Did movie theaters die when home video tapes were introduced? No. But it changed the way Hollywood pushed film. More movies are either going straight to video or spending less time at the box office so the studios can capitalize on DVD sales. It doesn’t marginalize the box office, but it makes it seem a little less important than it was in our grandparents time.

So I pose a question to all of you: how often do you play your console systems and how often do you play your portables? Let us know and have a pleasant weekend!

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53 Responses to “Is Console Gaming Dead or Dying?”

  1. Balls Says:

    sonys gay…XBOX woot

  2. NoseyJohn Says:

    I play quite often, after school, i go straight to my Wii (Im a mixed console fan, so no flames…) and my PSP. Patapon had me playing till night!
    So i say, console gaming is alive and kicking for me.

  3. Console is alive and well Says:

    Im pretty busy now a days, but I play once a week.

  4. Bart Says:

    Im not gonna read your blog but ill answer the title.
    Is Console Gaming Dead or Dying?
    NO. There are actual facts and statistics showing that console are currently selling alot more then pc games. Look up the referenced yourself though.. i dont have time

  5. Taylor Says:

    i game as much as i can, whenever i can. but i manage a life XD

  6. CT Says:

    I think it depends on who you ask. People who like console will most probably say no its not dying. People who have handheld gaming systems ex: Nintendo DS, PSP, Gameboy etc probably bring their systems with them everywhere. They probably might consider consoles as less important than their handhelds. Talking about blu-ray/sony ps3, considering blu-ray has won the battle against hd-dvd, a lot of people i know who don’t have feeling about consoles are thinking (or bought) about getting a ps3 as a blu-ray player. I think this will help a little in sales of ps3. Others who just care about gaming, can probably choose between any consoles and i am sure they have strong opinions.

  7. Jando Says:

    “Im not gonna read your blog but ill answer the title.
    Is Console Gaming Dead or Dying?
    NO. There are actual facts and statistics showing that console are currently selling alot more then pc games. Look up the referenced yourself though.. i dont have time”

    Bart thats funny, because if you read his blog you would’ve seen he wasn’t really comparing consoles to PCs…at all.

  8. rhinoplaster Says:

    I know that personally my gaming time has gone down the older i get. When I was younger I would spend hours on end gaming, but as I get older and have more commitments(wife, house, job etc) I find less and less time to play. I still play a few times a week, but find that its more a matter of finding the time(and money). Having said that I cant see myself stopping completley because its still something I really enjoy.

  9. Aramax Says:

    Hi Warren.

    My name is David, and beside the fact that I own 6 ( 8 if my brothers and sisters decide to drop their old console on my doorstep like they usually do. ) I rarely play anymore on these console and I must say that, “Yes”, console gaming is dying if not already dead and the graphics are to blame.

    As time went by more and more time was spent on making all the games 3D but no one stop to think about how this would affect the games… most of the games I play on my Playstation 2 today I dont even call games. I refer to them as interactive movies/cartoons and they all look alike beside different stories and characters. I dont think it’s fun to have to wiggle a stick around to carefully aim a gun at something and my television is not a virtual reality mask so I can’t see what’s happening on both side while I play. Add to that the fact that I have trouble making my character stand on little platform I just made him jumped on because I can’t actually control all of his actions, just those that were preset into the game, and that makes my character do really stupid things that I never asked him to do. But the games have nice graphics…

    I play these sort of game for about 1 hour and I get bored with frustration and find doing the dishes actually more fun. That was a first in my life and this is why classic games are part of my life like butter on bread.

    My recomendation is “Dont make 3D games anymore” seriously. Unless you find a way to add a virtual reality mask for the player to see all around and a mind reader device to tell the game exactly what actions the player want to perform and where he wants to aim and shoot it’s useless to even try.

    If you dont believe me just play the first version of Tomb raider and compare it to any other platformer ever made and try to see if there’s any major difference in the gameplay.

    Hope this was helpful.

  10. cassy Says:

    i play sega quite a few hours weekly, and ps2 daily lol

  11. gunsage Says:

    Um, seriously? Well, I work 9 hours a day, go to a training center after work to work on certifications, etc. Lately, I haven’t had as much time to get on my consoles. Further, I don’t have any of the new consoles yet. I do have a PSP and DS and I play them at work. :p I often go out to do DDR and play various PC games, but not online. On my days off, I will try to sandwich in a few hours of gametime for console titles.

    Furthermore, occassionally I’ll get an hour in on days I don’t have off. I don’t think console gaming is dead and honestly, the thought’s never entered my mind. I think the arcades are dying, which is saddening, but console gaming is long from being over.

  12. tom Says:

    me and my PS2 are best m8s. i am currently playing timesplitters 2

  13. Doomsday Dragon Says:

    I still game many hours a week. My time playing console games has dwindled to almost nothing because I play online these days.

    However even if I was not playing online my console time would remain the same. The reason is because the quality of games has gone straight to hell and I find fewer and fewer games worth the cash or time invested.

    My PS2 collects dust and I haven’t touched any of the other systems I own in years. I have no plans of buying a PS3 Xbox 360 or Wii ever.

  14. Raven Says:

    Current consoles have very few games I like, I’m still playing my PS2 and I’m even going as far back as SNES

    The real question should be “Are games today less entertaining?” Most companies seem to focus on visuals more than they do gameplay or story or even fixing “bugs” in games.

    Lets take Oblivion for example, looks great, the world is huge but the main quest is short and very boring and you dont have to go far from the roads to find the locations needed, the battle AI is simple, It lacks various monsters, weapons, armors, shields, clothing and general items, the only reason(In my opinion) to replay it would be to try the other races and classes or if you have the PC version and add mod’s to it.

    Now lets compare that to a game like lets say Disgaea(first game to pop into my head), yes its a PS2 game, however it focuses on gameplay more than graphics, the map’s are small however there are many monsters as well as map modifiers and it requires strategy, there are tons of items none of which are the same, the game is hard it takes some time to play and it has good replay value since there are multiple endings and the game rarely plays the same.

  15. Bdlsmooth Says:

    The only game I play on my PS2 is GH3. I play a ton of games on the computer, though. Especially Battlefield 2142.

  16. MisterHighway Says:

    I became a big time gamer late in life. I grew up in the late atari/early NES days and have gamed all my life. But after getting a PS2 I found myself gaming more and more. But as others have stated, the older you get, the less time you have to game. I luck out a bit due to my job being seasonal, I have a couple months off a year that I use to catch up on gaming. But in the average week of working 65+ hours, full time college, other various day-to-day tasks, I have very little time to game except for on the weekends. And even that I take advantage of that time during the summer to get out and do things outdoors. Is gaming dead? Not even close. But it’s priorities have changed. And I do agree with the user who commented about how games are “beautiful” but shallow. Too many games are being put through the Hollywood machine and we need to get away from that.

    my two cents,

    [MisterHighay]

  17. Tom Says:

    i am always playing my consoles i go to school and when i come home i am straight on my ps3 playing hours on end and today (april 12 08) i have been playing ps3 for about 10 hrs straight

  18. hectizzle Says:

    i would prefer to be alone with my consoles than to be about with friends. this sort of lifestyle has improved my memory a greatd eal, but lowered my ability to concentrate. make your own mind about that one.

  19. Chordus Says:

    I still play my console (Wii) 1-2 hours a day, as do many others that I know. In fact, I know lots of people with consoles, and very few with DS’s. Remember: while you and I are moving on in life, plenty of children and teens are taking our place.. I expect that consoles will remain immensely popular until something truly new and revolutionary comes along.

  20. Eika Says:

    I still play my console, and I know several others who do. I don’t play as often as I used to, but this is because I’m on a limited income and I can’t afford the new consoles or games, and have a very limited library, so at the moment it’s a ‘been there, done that’ deal. When I manage to have money on the same day Gamestop, Wal*Mart, or some other place has a wii or another next-gen console then I’ll play far more because there’ll be something new.

    Portables are fine, but only for long car trips and the like. I’ll take my PS2 and Gamecube over them any day.

  21. sin Says:

    i have to disagree with the proposition that console gaming is dieing. while from the viewpoit of a purley playstation point of view, it looks bleak at the moment, the industry as a whole just seems to keep getting bigger.
    im 25 myself and a large majority of my peers play games in one form or another on a regular basis. granted, most of them own 360s.
    i wouldnt worry about cosole gaming just yet, chances are that your paradigm or that of the people around you may have shifted to one thing or athother causing the persieved decline of the “hobby”.
    keep the dream alive and all that =)
    PS- im dyslexic, so sorry about the spelling ^^

  22. Christina Says:

    I still spend a fair amount of time on my consoles. I sometimes argue with friends about the superiority of consoles versus PCs. They argue that the PC is a better platform, but frankly, how would they really know? They don’t even play any games other than WoW these days. I would accept their arguments if they actually bothered to buy any other games for the PC that also can be played on consoles.

    I prefer console gaming. Lately, I’ve been playing on my 360 and my Nintendo D.S. My PS2 occasionally still comes into the picture, but I don’t own a PSP or a PS3. I still <3 the PS2’s variety of games, and I haven’t even come close to playing all the games on my wishlist yet.

  23. To Raven Says:

    Wow, seriously? Do you have any idea how many hours and hours of gameplay you can get out of the sidequests? It’s an amazingly deep and rich world. The main plot is admittedly short, but that’s because they made the world incredibly expansive. While Disgaea…well, I thought it was pretty boring, personally.

  24. sin Says:

    platforms and individual games aside, a console is a console. i have to say i have my opinions on which are better, but those would better serve to be kept private i suppose (to stop the rush of fanboy rants and whatnot). the one thig that brings us all togeather though is a love for all things “pewpew”… for want of a better word XD

  25. Bob Says:

    No, gaming on consoles is not dead. This argument is biased.

    You’re asking if gaming on the playstation 3 is dying, and the answer is yes. Its a giant pile of garbage.

    Gaming on other consoles however is on the rise.

  26. Sam Buck Says:

    I faithfully play my Super Nintendo once or twice a week, and that is all I need. Thank you.

  27. ha ha Says:

    this article is totaly bull shit videogames are getting bigger and better

  28. andy Says:

    Both of my ps2’s broke, my xbox is in pieces, my n64 is on my computer, my ps1 is lost, and all my older ones are in storage. I have no next gen consoles, so the only operational one is my gamecube :(

  29. jenni Says:

    i don’t think consoles are dying, but i think the world is getting more comfortable with portables. the ds is the first portable i’ve owned, and it doesn’t take away from my console time, it just adds gaming time while i’m at work, on the train, etc. i still play my console as often as ever (about 5 hours a week) but portables have added another 2-5 hours of gaming to my week. if i had a psp, i’m sure my time on a portable would be even greater because of its ability to play media.

  30. Ben Says:

    This article is funny. “we’re spending less and less time in front of our TVs and more time on the road with friends, commuting to work, or traveling” Oh yes of course, and because of this we are all getting thinner and fitter as well. The figures back this up. Couches all across the world are empty because we are all on the road.

  31. butts Says:

    Console gaming died when dreamcast died.

    PS2 was a shitty system. Deal with it. Also, DS is made of non-games and fail. Japan sucks these days.

  32. Anonymoooose Says:

    more sales does not mean more money for the companies that made the consoles. Considering that Microsoft and Sony puts themselves about 900-1000 bucks in the hole for every console they SELL, the profit is in the games, which is why they went up in price by $10, even then, unless every gamer buys a whole bunch of games which according to this article, is unlikely, the net profit is actually a loss; considering that Microsoft has spent over one billion dollars to correct hardware flaws in the 360, lost even more money replacing faulty systems, and made poor sales in foreign markets, they may not even make another console, and since the ps3 sales did abysmal in the USA, if a PS4 comes out, it may not even be debuted in the US or Europe. It will probably remain in Japan, like the Dreamcast of old, or, dare I say, the first Handheld console attempt Sony made before the PSP.

    Handheld gaming looks good, though. So I guess I have to agree with some of the stuff in this article.

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