A Trend in the Gaming Industry
Posted on Saturday, November 17 2007 @ 05:49:25 Eastern
I've been thinking a lot about our great industry of video computer gaming lately, in how this industry progressed from what it was to what it is today, and what it may possibly be in the future.
In going over a most simplified version of industry history, I have noticed a trend that keeps coming up. The concept that history seems to repeat itself comes up a lot, here.
This trend I've been seeing is the in dominance and arrogance. Atari was dominant for about two generations of gaming. Eventually they grew arrogant, putting more into marketing and less into the games, and they fell short of par and fell out.
Nintendo then became the leading force, dominating the industry for two generations of home console gaming. When the N64 vs. Playstation era came about, The N64 lost out to Playstation (though it was still well enough sold to bring about a successor in the Gamecube). Nintendo had grown arrogant during the SNES dominance, which carried itself through the N64 era and a big part of Gamecube's lifespan. Nintendo was in third place to Microsoft and Sony this last generation.
Sony, by the way, is now suffering a similar fate. Dominant for two generations with the Playstation and Playstation 2, they assumed that 'bigger is better' was an unquestionable mentality. Look at them now. The PS3 is currently suffering the pains that the Gamecube did, in poor sales, dwindling third party games support, and trying to blanket it like it's just a cold that'll go away with lots of rest and chicken soup. A very confusing process of cutting prices, throwing out certain model structures and replacing them with new ones isn't helping their situation either.
Has anybody else noticed this before? Each major force in gaming grew arrogant at the peak of dominance and fell at the knees of a new competitor. History has repeated itself twice now, and if that's any indication, then it will continue to happen in the future.
Explaining what's going on now is a little complicated, however. Nintendo actually did manage to recover very strongly from their loss in place, as the Wii is selling far faster the PS3, and should be beating the XBox 360 very soon, if they haven't already. However Nintendo is carving itself a different path, learning from their mistakes, and targeting a different way to be successful, while still retaining the hardcore crowd. Microsoft and Sony are battling almost exclusively for the hardcore market. If things continue as they are, the XBox 360 will beat the PS3. Will Microsoft in the future suffer the same consequence of arrogance as Atari and Nintendo did and Sony is now? With the massive success of games like Halo 3, I imagine it wouldn't be very hard to let it go to their heads.
And during all of this, PC gaming just looks at the consoles, laughs, and promptly returns to what it was doing.
Handheld gaming is the same as always, with every competing handheld crushed under Nintendo's mighty titanium fist. Even the PSP is getting its ass kicked, though not without putting up the best fight out of any competitor handheld so far.
None of us truly know what the future holds, but many have said that the past is a good indication of the future. And if it is, then more companies will rise up, grow arrogant, and fall in the console race, while PC and Handheld gaming will remain relatively constant.
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