Not claiming I understand the market on the macro level but I am taking my most educated guesses. More of an analysis.
Overall, I would say the "invasion" is going both ways.
TL;DR: The consoles, for whatever reason, have decided to go ahead and move onto the NEXT "next-gen". I'm not sure if right now is the best idea as we're all still getting use to the current "next gen" consoles. But it's already in play, ready or not. I think consoles will be unsuccessful at converting hardcore or PC gamers into console dwellers. So they will try to snatch up as many future customers as possible, using enhanced graphics with names familiar to the PC gamer world.
Meanwhile I think Steambox is the only one of the three wildcards that has a decent chance of breaking into the console market. The other two have a very steep fight ahead--frankly it's looking like history is repeating itself as in the late 80's: you may have a superior product at comparable prices but if you're unknown/obscure, good luck. The only difference now is they at least have some stake in other markets too, where I think challengers of the past did not. ALL the wildcards (and AMD processors in an attempt at regaining some lost ground) would be wise to also try to forge an alliance with the mobile market and app devs.
THE LONG VERSION
It would appear the release of Nintendo's Wii U was the main catalyst of Sony and Microsoft making their moves. Perhaps current economic indicators also might have spooked the triple monopoly into acting. Or maybe they think if they keep it moving, the market won't slow down since people have nevertheless found time and money for gaming despite the current economic hardships. Whatever the deeper reasons, it shall become apparent later on.
Maybe it's just me. I can't really see much point in releasing new consoles *right now* while we're all still sort of digesting this current version of "next gen" consoles (negative connotation not implied). 'Course I don't speak for everyone.
Suppose my enthusiasm for consoles has faded a bit.
>I swore I was a metroid fanboy and was going to buy a Wii...didn't happen.
>I swore I was a hardcore Twisted Metal head and would buy a PS3...didn't happen either.
>Given xbox360 and NDS as gifts and wound up going with it. So I haven't really bought my own way into consoles in some time. Just games.
I suspect the console industry is seeing some need to compete with PC gaming at a certain level. Either preventing loss of current customers, or enticing future customers not to get into PC gaming. They probably realize they'll never get those who are already hardcore PC gamers to switch over. Next best thing is to steer away future customers as much and long as possible. Feel free to disagree.
Just my opinion as a side note: Graphics do kind of go to the heart of the issue of modern games being kind of "meh" lately. Games today look pretty but I'm always hearing their substance is lacking somewhat. Personally I have to agree sometimes. Admittedly, I can't really judge that on anything but what I myself play. Or from reviews--many sources of which I cannot be too sure are being objective or honest.
As to newcomers? Not an economist but if there's one thing I've seen, it's harder to become a champ, than it is to hold onto the title w.r.t. establishing oneself in...well, any industry. Making a significant impact where you have 3 colossal opponents is a daunting task, regardless what industry you're talking about.
I am very interested in the overlap between "mobile" and "portable console" and how this might play out.
It seems nVidia is trying to break into the portable console market by making PC gaming mobile...or portable maybe? Interesting concept. Its rival, Radeon, supposedly latching onto one of the new consoles coming out (is nVidia is going to latch onto consoles to hedge its bets as well? I wonder...), they both seem ambitious. Smart idea not having all your irons in one fire, as they are the premiere graphics processor producers. But is that enough? Is nVidia trying to go after the same market as PSP/PSVita and NintendoDS/3DS? Or is it going to go after the mobile and apps market? Or both? It will be interesting to find out. Radeon will probably focus on improving their GPUs in the meantime.
If nVidia is trying to vanguard for PC gaming and getting it into the tier of mobile consoles, it certainly has a very creative way of going about it. I'm not sure, though, if it will succeed at pulling away customers from PSVita or 3DS.
Ouya: appears to be going after both mobile apps AND portable console gamers. I see consoles, namely Sony taking exception, especially since the territory is on Android. Sony has been trying to bring home console gaming to not just portable, but mobile too, much like nVidia is trying with PC gaming. Whoever dominates, I can only see Android being better for it either way. Certainly happier and fatter in their wallets.
Steambox seems the only wildcard that might have a decent chance of breaking into consoles. Home consoles no less. Steam has undeniably gained traction in the gaming community. They'll probably make a good run of it in consoles, if nothing else. Still I think their dedication to PC gamers is their main strength. Gaming started out in consoles afterall, and there is no reason to believe the established console names are going away anytime soon. If developers of well known games also continue to go multiplatform and include steambox in their mix, there just might be a chance yet for it to succeed in consoles. Plus crossing those games with new developer "test recipes", and mobile apps, I see this as being even more attractive not only for its players but for grads who went to school and are fresh into developing. Whereas companies of previously established consoles require going through "channels" and "licensing". Hasn't really been a place for new small timers to try their hand.
The other two, good as they are, are still relatively obscure. I'm seeing a repeat of history. Atari, Neo Geo, TurboGrafiX 16, and several others. Some of which may have even been superior to systems that were household names. Unfortunately, if you don't have a previously established following or are not a family name...it's a steep uphill battle. Unless they have a trick up their sleeves, I'm not certain if they'll make it in consoles--home or portable.
Perhaps in smaller markets like mobile and apps they DO have a chance. I'd say AMD would be wise to focus here in the mobile market.
There is a new element in the market I think: the DIY and grassroots developers.
Call me a fool, but I do root for the new guys (whomever they may be) to be some real vanguards. Competition spurs everyone into striving to improve. Also app devs are looking to branch out in any way they can. I also see an intersection here too of console multi-platformers versus apps down the line.
Overall I think it may be a very interesting year, provided there are no significant slowdowns, and the economy doesn't throw any nasty curveballs.
Originally Posted by igyman
Still, I do salute the slow but steady rise of games developed for the PC first and then ported to consoles
Originally Posted by Miltiades
The rumor about Microsoft having a used games prevention in their next Xbox is about a year old (It's Kotaku, so I don't know
), it'd be naive to think Microsoft hasn't thought of it anyway. It's all rumors at this point, of course, but we do already live in an age of online passes, it's not that big a stretch.
Might I recommend The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams
? It's a good read and relevant.
Also for your amusement:
The Dictionary of Corporate Bull****: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk
by Lois Beckwith