As the big three console makers reveal the latest generation I peer into my crystal ball and catch a glimpse of the far away gaming future of 2016:
Three years ago three mighty titans announced their new offerings to the Great Game Console Lords and there was much rejoicing. Come Xmas time and cash registers sang across the land. Many, many a console went out into the wild loaded with features both old and new. The great entrepreneurs in Tokyo and Seattle smiled as first quarter profit projections rose with each sale.
Then lo and behold, the registers fell silent, the downloads dried up, and the micro transactions stopped. What some predicted, but the entrepreneurs sneered at in contempt, came to pass. By some strange metamorphosis the year two-thousand and thirteen turned into nineteen eighty and three.
Thus history repeated itself.
They followed the trail of their ancestors who left behind the Atari, Colecovison and Intellevision for Apples, Amstrads, BBC Micros and Commodores. This generation found abundant game play in PCs, phones and tablets without the hassles of used game permission fees or “almost” always on connections. The newest generation of games designed by both old and new revived the spirit of the garage coder of nineteen eighty two. Some were bad, some were good, but with Kickstarter, Steam and GOG, players could experiment at a fraction of the cost of the old Triple-As.
The Great Game Console Lords tried to recapture the wandering herds. They slashed console prices, offered access to social media, movies on demand and cloud services. They chucked CEOs out the tallest window on platinum parachutes, spent millions on energy drink tie-ins and turned the latest game media celebrity into characters in their games. They shouted, “Look at the pretty graphics, the billions of pixels per square inch and the million multiplayer maps each one filled with little capture me flags!”
But it was all for nought, for they had forgotten the lessons of the past. Ignore your consumer base for too long and they shall walk away.
They did it before and they will so again.