Traditional gaming as we know it has been here for over thirty years. We’ve come to expect epic storylines, ever improving graphics and gameplay from them. But have you ever thought that this breed of gaming may be on its way out?
That’s probably because of the finger food 99¢ games that have flooded iPod Touches and phones all over the world and the slew of free online games, especially the ones on Facebook that you most often see a billion Farmville updates from that one friend that’s grinding/trading for that one rare item.
While it may seem like these finger food style games where you play for 10-15 minutes each time seem like its exploded onto the market and is now devouring into the traditional market that most likely owns several home/handheld consoles, I would have to say differently. Many of these people who casually play these games (Angry Birds, Farmville et al.) might not move on to bigger and larger games down the road, but it does lead to some fresh blood among people that would not have gotten themselves into the realm of consoles, whether handheld or home.
Its safe to say that these gateway games help what we call the more traditional market of gaming. I’m sure not all of these gamers who get their Super Mario Bros Wii and Mario Karts and Wii Sports will get any other games besides these entry games but it opens up a new door for many who don’t consider themselves gamers to bring themselves into the fray. An anecdote that I have on this is an uncle I have that usually wouldn’t touch a controller was in town to visit and I had let him try Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Sports and Tiger Woods Golf and he was thoroughly impressed and was playing it well into his vacation in Canada. After he returned home, he got one for himself and gifted another one to someone else who also quite enjoys the system.
On the flipside though, I think the finger foods strategy has something going for them. The distribution of these games are for the most part free or very cheap, are delivered through app stores or embedded in a website and are occasionally episodic. I think the traditional games market can learn from this more casual snack-sized market where it’s dirt cheap to buy games.Even some bigger titles that are more fleshed out like Zenonia and Swords & Sworcery are sold for under $10 and are high quality games, proving that it is possible to have both very affordable pricing and old school quality in a more modern sales environment.
So do I think traditional gaming is going to be around in 15-20 years? Yes and no. It’ll definitely still be around in a form we may recognize but will be a very different beast it is now. The console concept should be here for a very long time, although its not far fetched that it games will either be cloud based or based purely on digital distribution, cutting out the brick and mortar stores and it may be possible that the home and handheld console will be one and of the same thing and sits in a cradle at home and also easily portable as well. Traditional gaming and gamers are here to stay, even if it seems like it’s a dying breed.