End of game consoles?
By Adarsh Matham
02nd December 2012 12:00 AM
I am sure that if I had the money to go to a psychiatrist he would come up with a name for my mental condition. My problem is that I am always waiting for the next exciting thing.
I wait for some gadget to come out, for some book to be released, or for some movie to hit the screens. Lately though I find myself waiting for a game to hit the market. Some of my avid gamer friends who can play a straight 30 hours with small breaks for bodily functions understand me when I say I am waiting for a game.
They themselves have been in the same position a month or two back. But now that the latest iterations of Call of Duty, Halo and Grand Theft Auto are released, they are too busy to laugh at me. I say laugh because what I am waiting for is not a ‘proper game’ in their eyes. That is because I am waiting for ‘Modern Combat 4’ to hit the market. This game, unlike the ones I mentioned earlier, is not played on heavy gaming consoles like XBox and Playstation connected to big high definition televisions. This game is played on tiny touch screens, on mobile devices like
the iPhone, iPad and the Galaxy S3.
Gaming has come a long way since the first simple games played on analog circuits and cathode ray tubes. Over the years, arcade games like PacMan and the gamers who play them have been relegated to the fringes of the society. Just like comic books and their collectors, these games were popular among a young population, and a very minority adult population. Even though mobile phones with games like snake and devices like Nintendo’s handhelds went a long way in bringing games into the mainstream, the advent of gaming consoles has truly brought gaming into the living room and made games like Sims household names. Today the gaming consoles enjoy an unprecedented amount of popularity. At the time of writing, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, one of the most popular gaming titles, has sold 11 million copies earning an estimated $500 million in just the first 24 hours. This shows that in a way, gaming is more popular than Hollywood movies which struggle to make two or three hundred million dollars in their entire run.
But Modern Combat 4 is an entirely different beast. It is available only on mobile devices that we carry around. It is played through touch screens as opposed to special joysticks. And it is comparatively cheaper than any console game. But despite all these differences, it brings almost-console-level game play and graphics to a mobile device which is as thin as a credit card. And unlike casual games like Angry Birds and Temple Run, it brings serious gaming to your tablet or phone with story lines and hours of gameplay. This increasing complexity in terms of performance and gameplay has been possible because of the increasing performance of the devices in our pockets. And with such devices in billions of pockets, capable of running serious games, making every one of us into a gamer, it is time to ask if mobile gaming is going to kill off consoles altogether. Or will aspects like the experience of using a touch screen without tactile feedback put off serious gamers thereby letting the consoles live? The video game console can live or die, but games like Modern Combat 4 signify only one thing. All you need to be a serious gamer now is just a smartphone and a will to be entertained.
The writer is a tech geek.
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