Console game devs bailing to mobile

Posted by Trent Nouveau

The lengthy last-gen console cycle and underperforming titles have created a perfect storm of uncertainty, promoting numerous game devs to abandon the once stalwart platform for mobile devices.

"Breakout successes of numerous games including Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Angry Birds gathered strong interest from the large pool of developers who had found themselves out of traditional gaming jobs as a result of industry contraction. The total amount of developers shifting focus to solely mobile and tablet titles is frightening," EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich told GameIndustry.

"[However], as an industry that is addicted to pushing innovation and new markets, we often find ourselves reactively chasing whatever is the fad du jour only to come back a couple of years later and realize that there are very solid foundations across a number of verticals which continue to provide fertile grounds for developers to generate revenue."

According to Divnich, indie developers should keep an open mind towards multiple platforms, including Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 720 (Next) and Sony's Playstation 4 (PS4). While the two above-mentioned systems may not boast the same install base as Apple's wildly popular iPhone, they do offer a core audience that is willing to spend money on games they deem worthy.

"Consider this - with the advent of new middleware technologies and a strong foundation of hungry consumers looking for next-generation experiences, creating content for future consoles could represent less competition," said Divnich.

"[We are] forecasting over 11 million consumers to transition to the next-generation by the end of 2014 (PS4 and Xbox). That's 11 million consumers who are willing to spend money to consume interactive entertainment. Those are 11 million of the elusive 'Whales' we continually hunt in the mobile market. By the end of 2017, this will balloon to over 50 million consumers, all willing to spend money to consume quality content."

The analyst also confirmed that Sony was doing a good job of fostering supporter amongst devs, something the Japanese-based corporation notoriously failed to do with the PS3.

"It's expected that the next generation of consoles will have connectivity rates in excess of 85 percent and Sony has already shown a new direction in terms of developer support that bodes well to create new experiences for this industry.

"We are still awaiting Microsoft's strategy for the next-generation, but it's natural to assume that Microsoft will have a similar strategy of bringing new games, business models, and development teams into their ecosystem," he added.