404 Titanfall and the Future of Game Consoles

Titanfall and the Future of Game Consoles

After more hours of sleep deprived nights than I care to admit, I’m convinced that Titanfall shows us something about the future of consoles. Specifically, they are not dead. I’m not saying the market for consoles is gigantic, or even growing, but it is still very alive and well.

A game like Titanfall is simply not coming to a device other than a game console or PC any time soon. More importantly, this game reminds us when good software developers are given incredible performance at a CPU and GPU level, they take advantage of that performance. There is a saying in the semiconductor industry that I’m fond of: “You will never hear a good software developer say we have enough performance.”

Titanfall has redefined the first person shooter genre. First person shooters will never be the same and this game will serve as the mechanism for that change. Halo did similar things for the space on the first XBOX and Titanfall will do it again on the XBOX One. The idea that cloud gaming platforms or mobile devices will render consoles moot any time soon is pure silliness.

Since I have a background in semi-conductors, I study them regularly. There are mobile device roadmaps, and there are heavy client or more compute based roadmaps. Just because mobile processors will get more powerful than they are today does not mean they will ever be more powerful than those being built for high-performance applications. Console gaming is one of these high performance applications.

The question is not whether mobile devices or other things will kill consoles but whether or not there is still a big opportunity in consoles. Just casually watch a male, young or under 45, walk through a room where others are shooting, racing, or blowing things up and you will know the answer.

Without question, the total addressable market for mobile game developers is bigger than the total addressable market of consoles. But that does not mean the console market is not healthy. The only case one could make that consoles are dead is that developers will no longer make a game like Titanfall and any number of titles like it. These developers are not focused on bringing this experience to a mobile device and even if they did the experience would pale in comparison to one on a high-performance built console. As long as quality developers take advantage of high performance silicon there will always be a market for consoles. Titanfall serves as the evidence of this point.

  • praxtime

    Great post! But is console TAM is going up or down? Outflow of casual gamers to mobile may be larger than console game growth. Which I think is the general point for the MG Siegler school of thought on console market being in (slow) terminal decline.

  • benbajarin

    So, here are my thoughts on that. The console market will not decline until something can replace it. Whether that is a mobile device powerful enough to plug into the TV and be console quality, or thin/thick client cloud based gaming easily coming to the big screen.

    I say this because I watch my little daughters younger boy friends walk past the tv while I am playing the XBOX and they are mesmerized. The girls run right by not a care in the world but the little boys its like flies to the light. As long as there are men on this earth this console experience will be desirable to them.

    Based on this theory the market could actually grow. I can dive into why it will still be a while before a mobile device can ever truly replace a console. It has to do with silicon roadmaps. Both are getting better. Mobile is getting better but so are high performance cores. Neither are standing still.

  • praxtime

    thanks for reply!