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!
Tags: blogs, bluray, community manager, dvds, families, february 2009, future, game play time, hd tv, japanese media create, mmorpg, movie studios, news editor, npd, playstation 2, PlayStation 3, playstation portable