Don't Worry, Consoles, Physical Media And Handheld's Aren't Going Anywhere

It seems like there is a lot of negativity and doubt going on in the gaming industry at the moment. I personally don’t understand it, but I would like to put in my two cents on some of the subjects. It seems anyone can be an expert on the gaming industry these days, so being that I actually review games and write opinion pieces on games, I might be a bit overqualified. We’ve heard everything from the rumor mill, from consoles are about to die out, physical media is a thing of the past, even the handheld market is apparently nothing but doom and gloom. The way the so-called experts are making it sound, were heading for a worse video game crash then the one in the 1980’s. Fear not, I’m here to guide you through some of this thick cow dung and we’ll sort out some of the fact from fiction.

I’ll start off by addressing the rumors that consoles are on the way out, some reports say this will be the last console generation altogether. While none of us actually knows the future, there have always been gaming consoles since they were invented, I just don’t see streaming as a viable option for true gamer’s. I know of things like Onlive, but I don’t know a single gamer who has one or is even interested in something like that. As a whole we can pretty much stream everything, but it’s not for everyone. With things like Netflix and Hulu we can see how people would assume that streaming is the logical next step, but we have to keep in mind that not everyone has internet access, not every gamer cares about online play, not every gamer has the internet provider capable of streaming content like movies or music, let alone games. Some internet providers even have a cap on how many gigabytes they allow you to use each month. These are all huge factors in why consoles are still needed and will be so very far into the future, companies can’t afford to alienate anyone when it comes to their own particular hardware.

When it comes to physical media, I think the companies actually want to get rid of it. I just think that there are too many obstacles to do so completely. I truly think the bigger companies all desire to be rid of manufacturing costs, used sales and material costs altogether. The problem is that the majority of people actually want to physically own their games, take them to their friends and families houses and be able to share, trade and buy used games when they want. I do understand that digital games would be cheaper, but it just seems fishy and odd to me not to be able to physically put in a game and play it. I think the popularity of digital music probably gave way to this idea in the first place, get rid of the middle man and make more money for yourself. The problems are a bit the same as why we wont see streaming only for game consoles, the lack of quality internet plays a huge part in this. My internet is okay enough to play online games, sometimes I lag but overall I have a solid online experience, there are people who I play with though that run a one or two bar all the time, we are talking 1.5 MBPS or less. This type of internet is nowhere near good enough to download a game file that could run over 20 gigs. A lot of people are running on DSL, which isn’t good enough for this type of data transaction either, I use DSL myself because cable is not available in my area, apparently there is a lot of area in the United States that lack lines run for quality internet. I phoned the local cable company and asked about a possible estimated time frame for when they might have service in my area and I got the typical 5-7 year mark. Running lines is expensive and not really cost-effective in smaller farm towns like mine.

I don’t think anyone out there really wants to wait days to download a game they might want. I really can’t imagine my brother, who is my roommate as well, trying to download the latest Call Of Duty at the same time as I am. It would be an absolute nightmare. There is also the issue with ISP providers and cap limits as well. I know a local company that caps at 150 gigs a month, which might sound like a lot, but when you factor in everything that you do online, it’s not such a big buffer in reality. Anything over that 150 gigs is a huge charge, if you have more than one gamer in your house and your both trying to get games this way, it could lead to trouble and lots of fees and penalties. I also can’t be the only one who doesn’t feel like he actually owns games when there just digital, when people ask me how many games I have, I never list the digital or XBL/PSN games as actual games I own, more like games I rented. I truly get the feeling a lot could go wrong in a digital only era and I’d really rather not deal with it. Thankfully the failure of the PSPGO has actually helped the industry in one respect…we now know people want physical media. I’m not saying we wont continue to get more digital content offered to us, but we will always be able to go to the store and pick up the newest and biggest games. There is absolutely no reason to alienate anyone in this situation, keep digital as an option, but keep physical media as an option as well.

Lastly there has been a lot of talk about how handheld gaming devices are in the outs, well I guess someone forgot to tell Nintendo because the 3DS is breaking all sorts of records even as we speak. I understand there is a huge popularity surge in smartphone’s and things like that, but I don’t think the majority of the people who own those are gamer’s like I am. I usually don’t like to put tags on people such as core or casual, but my mother plays things like Farmville and phone games, I don’t. I think that is as close to a label as you’ll get from me. I tend to think of someone like her as a casual gamer, she isn’t going to be interested in a 3DS or a PlayStation Vita, but I’m not really interested in playing little games on phones either. I don’t look at phones or tablets as competition for handheld’s, much in the same way that I don’t look at streaming devices as competition for home consoles. I think the future is brighter than ever with the stellar lineup we are seeing from both Sony and Nintendo with their respective handheld gaming devices, which cater to the gamer. Which is exactly who will be buying them, so don’t buy into the hype or give someone hits just because they go on a rant about how handheld’s are dying off. It’s just not true and there are hundreds of millions of reasons why.

So take heart fellow gamer’s, sometimes people’s jobs are to attract people to read their articles or to express a controversial opinion, it’s what has been going on with things like the Howard Stern Show for a very long time now. It’s an attempt to create buzz and talks and arguments, nothing more and nothing less. I seriously doubt we are anywhere near the end of consoles, physical media or handheld’s….Not in our lifetime anyway, so why worry about something that most likely wont happen? The answer is to just not worry about it, live your life, enjoy your games and just keep doing what you always do and the rest will take care of itself.

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