GamesBeat 2013: Is Mobile vs Console the Right Question?

GamesBeat 2013 in California presents some of the best ideas and discussions in the industry. Former CEO of EA, John Riccitiello, presented his idea that perhaps mobile vs. console isn’t the question the industry should be asking.

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Riccitiello provides some interesting figures:

  • Console gaming is a 25 billion dollar industry
  • PC free to play games: $ 6 billion
  • Mobile gaming: $13 billion 

…and believes that…

Gaming with a controller and a big screen in your living room is not going away anytime soon.

Are people forgetting that it’s been almost a decade since the current generation of consoles launched?

Mobile may be growing, but it’s not healthy.

Mobile gaming is fastest growing industry, but Riccitiello is worried that it will eventually crash. Mobile gaming, while profitable, is not nearly as innovative and is not creating brands. He’s worried by the number of “virtual copycats” within the mobile gaming industry, citing the lack of brands and innovation.

He refers to brands like Grand Theft Auto, Mario and even Call of Duty. People want these games because they are brands–brand loyalty is strong on consoles, but brands are a weak point on the mobile platforms.  

I agree; he has a point. The only mobile “brand” I can think of is Angry Birds. I can’t exactly see how something like Candy Crush  or Tiny Tower can develop as a franchise. I already see how stagnant mobile games are becoming. Gameplay is much the same from game to game. Touch the screen to make things happen. We aren’t seeing games make use of things like phones vibration motors (hello, rumble features, anyone?) or location sensors, like GPS and cell tower triangulation, to allow the real world to influence gameplay.

Mobile developers need to accept that one day, some day soon, gamers won’t be satisfied with the same old tricks. 

Console gaming is not dead. 

Riccitiello looks at the recent release of Grand Theft Auto V, which is quite possibly the biggest media release in modern history–29 million copies sold.

I’ve wanted GTA V since before it was even in the box. 

He also believes that consoles are on the eve of a revitalization with the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One. 

All in all, it seemed like Riccitiello has a lot of hope for the gaming industry as a whole as platforms evolve and change. I totally agree with him. Gaming is just like anything else, it changes. Everyone needs to stop with all the cries of “console gaming is dead” or “PC is stupid” or “the only way to make money anymore is in mobile gaming.” Change isn’t a bad thing. Just different. 


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