Prior to the Xbox One and PS4 debuting in 2013, there was a lot of doom and gloom talk surrounding the console market, but ever since the systems have been released, the proof is in the sales. While the Wii U has struggled to grasp a firm share of the market, the PS4 and Xbox One have not, and in fact, they have been shattering sales precedents from a generation ago.
One of the individuals who was at the forefront of the doubts regarding whether or not consoles were no longer a viable solution for companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo has begun talking about the future once more. Wedbush Securities Analyst Michael Pachter recently spoke about a world without consoles, but still with games.
“What happens when you lower the entry so nobody has to buy a console? If Activision sells 20 million copies of Call of Duty to people with a console, how many people would buy it who don’t have a console? I’m guessing 20 million more.
“To make it easier for the Europeans in the room, how many more people would play FIFA if a console wasn’t required? Another 20 million. How many people would play Grand Theft Auto if you didn’t need a console? 100 million. It’s crazy numbers. This just makes so much sense. It is going to happen,” Pachter said at DICE Europe, reported by GI.
It certainly is asking a lot for folks with families and kids to spend $400 and $350 on a new system when they’d only play a handful of games. Not only that, but those folks have other expenses in life that take priority before a gaming console, and if a console’s cost was eliminated and all that was left were things like a controller and the game, then sure, more people would probably pick up games.
The biggest franchises in gaming such as the ones Pachter is about to mention will probably always be around because of the audience they have. While Pachter’s theory works for those major brands, what’s to say it would work for indie developers, who are an essential part of this industry.
“There’s plenty of 30 or 40-somethings who would like to play FIFA or Call of Duty, but they can’t. They’re not going to buy a console for one game, and I’d say that’s true of every single [console] game made. There’s a market of probably several million people who would never buy a console to play the game, but would absolutely buy the game,” Pachter said.
As much as people don’t want to admit Pachter is right in this instance, he does make some compelling points as to how games are going to be released once we are finished with the PS4 and Xbox One’s generation. All of this does rest on the question of whether or not the technology is there to support the theory because if streaming services, televisions or whatever alternative platforms will sells games aren’t ready for this type of support, then none of it is possible.
Even with all of this said, what’s to say both can’t exist at the same time? Picking up games through a TV or alternative platform would in theory be a great thing for getting new gamers into the industry, while consoles could still be a main stable for gaming to launch new games on, just like is done today. No matter what though, it’s a bit early to be talking about the demise of a console ecosystem that has never been stronger than it is today.