While every gamer’s eyes will be trained on Nintendo’s announcement of their next console, one developer is hoping that more attention is paid towards the online services provided by current consoles.

As part of a quarterly call on behalf of Activision, CEO Bobby Kotick suggested that the days of consoles outdoing each other are long gone, replaced in favor of platforms that provide persistent online communities.

Amidst jabs at Nintendo’s new console and the PSN down time, Kotick revealed that Activision has made more than half of their revenue for 2011 through digital sales. With map packs like the recently released Escalation, Activision is able to not only keep their online community for Black Ops going, but also continue to profit from them.

Obviously, when a company has the highest selling game of all time on their hands, any relevant digital downloads are sure to deliver a small windfall in revenue. What Kotick really is pointing to is the need for consoles to continue to deliver solid online experiences because that is where the future of games is headed.

Kotick also believes that price cuts for all the major consoles are on the horizon, meant to help bring an even new group of gamers to these online experiences. Video games are no longer about the bigger and better console, but about games that can, through an online community, last for years.

Of course it is important to mention that Activision — a publisher that pioneered the idea of high priced DLC — is not known for their willingness to balk at economic pressure. It’s best to take Kotick’s claims of console price cuts and the benefits of improved online with a grain of salt as it is a means to increased revenue but not necessarily a better overall experience.

Regardless of Kotick’s feelings (or gamers feelings on Kotick for that matter), he does bring up some valid points on the nature of multiplayer gaming. With this console generation far outlasting the traditional 3-4 year cycle, gamers have begun to flock to the idea of well-rounded, robust experiences rather than the gimmicky hot new title.

This PSN outage has certainly cost a wide variety of developers and publishers a tremendous amount of money, proving just how important the online component of both a console and a video game are, but that doesn’t mean Kotick’s vision will come to fruition. However, with both a PSN resurrection and a new console set to reveal themselves in the coming weeks, gamers might be able to see how Kotick’s ideas pan out.

Which do you think is more important: outdoing one’s previous efforts with a new console or improving the core console features like online?

Source: Financial Times

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