For years the games console industry was one of the most exciting and lucrative around. It has seen man y changes over the years and yet it has always prospered, always shown room to grow. This has continued to this day, and some of the largest technology companies in the world have a vast stake in the games console market.
The thought of owning a gaming machine in your own home would have been a farfetched one thirty years ago. Practical personal gadgets, such as the early mobile phone, were expensive and clumsy enough, even with a lot of money being invested in their development. The home computer was not common, and with the World Wide Web not having exploded into the public’s viewpoint, technology for leisure was still a long way from many peoples’ minds.
However, the very nature of technology is that it is always expanding and improving. For example, computer memory and processing speeds are always increasing at an exponential rate, what is currently the peak will soon be horribly out of date. This will always be two sides of a coin for the gaming market. On one hand it means there will always be an opportunity to sell improved versions of a current brand, such as the PlayStation one, two and three; there can be repeat customers. However this ever evolving nature of gaming means there is also more scope for competition. A delay of releasing a new product by one year can mean it will be leaps and bounds ahead of any console that was released before that.
This has led to “generations” of consoles being released; opposition companies releasing productions almost simultaneously to their rival companies. From Nintendo 64/ PlayStation one, to Xbox 360/PlayStation 3. the waves of new consoles, and the relatively high cost of the products has meant people have often been divided between rival gaming machines.
However, this history of competition may soon come to an end with the age of high speed internet, vast processing powers of personal computers and advances in software. The combination of these has led to smart, high definition televisions that are combatable with cloud gaming.
Many have tipped cloud computing to be the next big trend, the abundance of internet connections literally anywhere that you travel and the advertisement campaigns of certain large technology companies, the future seems almost certain. This future will affect every industry, not least the gaming industry. Using the cloud, TV can hook up and gamers will be able to participate online with no additional hardware. This has the edge over consoles because unlike the clan like behaviour of previous gaming generations, cloud gaming will be unanimous, everyone will be able to play everyone; no new hardware will be needed. Another benefit is that the gaming experience will be much more portable, being able to be played on phones and other smart TVs. The game experience could expand more rapidly that it currently does, with no need to make or design any hardware, cloud gaming is purely software based, meaning smaller companies can compete against large conglomerations.
Overall, many signs point toward a different future for gaming, but will the large existing companies catch on before there is a revolution in the gaming industry similar to the one that redesigned the music industry.