Sony may be back in profit thanks to strong demand for its latest-generation PlayStation and its assorted games. However, the days of the dedicated game console look to be numbered.
The majority of US and European homes currently have a PlayStation or Xbox nestling under the television but according to Parks Associates, fewer than 50 per cent of US homes will still have one by 2019.
What’s more, in some European countries, the trend is at a more advanced stage – game console penetration in French homes, for example, has already dropped from 59 to 49 per cent over the past three years.
“Game consoles remain one of the key elements of the connected home, but other devices are gaining importance, including smart TVs and streaming media players,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Research Director, Parks Associates.
Gaming has never been a more popular pastime for consumers of all ages and genders. However, people are becoming more and more likely to reach for a smartphone or even the controller for a set top box. According to Flurry Analytics, the average smartphone owner spends 33 minutes a day just on gaming.
“Most major device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Sony, are focused on offering gaming through their connectible devices,” Sappington said. “Although high-performance gaming will not match the experience on consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox, these connected devices can reach non-traditional gamers.”
Casual gaming has been one of the most explosive trends in terms of growth and it’s all because of the ubiquity of smartphones.
And as devices get better, bigger and faster, the gaming experience will also improve to the point where companies that traditionally made games titles for dedicated consoles are going to have to start taking other devices seriously as platforms.
“As penetration of game consoles declines in global markets, companies will have to make difficult decisions regarding which platforms to support as they fund video games or digital media apps,” said Sappington.
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