Core console gaming: don't fear the reaper

You can take the console out of core, but you can’t take the core out of gaming…

Futurologists would have us believe the t’Interweb will beam gaming directly into our mind nodes by this time next year. But expectations have to be tempered with a cold, hard dose of reality. I mean, cripes, we’re a young digital agency just a binary code away from Tech City and we’ve only just been able to get our fibre optic connection installed on the ole fax machine this summer.

So we’ve grown accustomed to taking the evolution of technology (or at least perceptions of the growth of technology) with a lorry load of salt. Our skepticism also kept our expectations in check over continuing claims by games industry analysts that casual and social gaming is killing core console consumption.

Futurologists and doom mongers have been sounding the death knell of consoles because of the explosion of casual and social gaming on mobile connected devices. But the reapers are using lazy maths. They assume casual and social gaming cannibalises the consumption patterns of a finite amount of core gamers. Err. No. They are separate activities and demographics. If anything, console gamers will fire up a quick five-minute session of Angry Birds or Candy Crush that’s a complementary session to their core experience.

Backing up our anecdotal evidence is research by the largest specialty video game research firm in the world: EEDAR. While the stats are locked behind a paywall, the good people at Games Industry Biz have been scrumping for high-hanging fruit that concurs:

“The data shows that the Sony and Microsoft platforms have outperformed their 7th generation counterparts, especially in the first two years of the cycle. The 8th generation outperforms the 7th generation even in an analysis that excludes DLC.”

No one expected this generation of consoles to succeed in an eco-system where there’s a surfeit of gaming platforms vying for a fragmented gaming audience. But there’s something those platforms can’t do. They can’t match a core living room gaming experience. There will always be core gamers, it’s just the delivery platforms that change.