Legendary game designer Will Wright says he sees a sense of paranoia among those in the traditional console gaming business. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, he said, "I think all the console guys are running scared. Not so much because of the hardware, but because of the business models, free-to-play and that kind of thing, have shifted underneath them."
And if anyone thinks Wright doesn't have a point, they're crazy. The structure of the video game industry has radically shifted over the last few years.
The problem comes with media exposure. For the most part, if a game like Angry Birds reaches five million downloads, it will get the same coverage as if the new Final Fantasy game reaches five million units sold.
And in many ways, those emerging games get more coverage, because they're new, they're accessible, and they're unique.
"It used to be big companies doing triple-A titles on consoles is where all the money is. It's shaken things up quite a bit with all these platforms. In some sense all the little mammals -- small developers, new companies -- have an opportunity right now to fill new niches that are expanding rapidly.
"They might be small opportunities now, but they very well could be huge opportunities in the not-too-distant future," Wright said.
So, are traditional console gaming models going away? Hardly. All this is is a wake-up call to the entrenched segment of the industry that, frankly, was getting too comfortable resting on its laurels. This is a good thing.