Thanks to the explosion of social media and mobile devices over the last decade, there has been a massive shift in the gaming industry. Indie developers have advanced to great heights - in some cases far beyond their large developer counterparts (see Mojang). The mobile industry has also become a powerhouse in gaming, with some mobile game developers raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from just a handful of games – we’re looking at you Supercell. Suffice it to say, gaming has seen, and will continue to see, huge changes.
In just the last couple months, we have seen some of the most exciting changes on the gaming horizon. One prime example was Microsoft’s announcement of their Hololens project, which has many gamers excited for the possibility of more immersive gaming experiences that go beyond the TV screen.
Another example of the coming changes was introduced by Electronic Arts’ CFO, Blake Jorgensen, during his speech at the 2015 Technology, Internet & Media Conference. In his speech, Jorgensen commented on the future of tablet gaming, pointing out the huge technological advances being made by tablet manufacturers, and the opportunity that presents to video game developers.
"What gets us the most excited is the power, the computing power, of mobile devices and the speed at which that's growing. What that might mean is that a tablet, three or four years from now, has more power than what a typical console has. And that will open up a whole new set of people to console-style games that are much more immersive, much deeper, much more character-driven than simply a static mobile game that you might play for a small burst of time while you're waiting for the bus."
Tablet owners need only browse their unit’s app marketplace to see there are games that come close to what is available today on consoles. In fact, some tablet owners run emulators to play games from PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox. So it wouldn’t come as a surprise if tablet games catch up, and even surpass, the quality and power of console games in just a few years. It seems most likely that before another round of “next-gen” consoles are created.
So does this mean tablets will make consoles obsolete? We don’t think so, and apparently neither does Jorgensen. In fact, having tablets with this much power may provide amazing opportunities to marry the two (tablets and consoles) together for more immersive gameplay – a situation we’ve already started to see with video game “companion” apps that accompany big-name titles like Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield. Jorgensen offered his take during his speech:
"[W]e're looking for ways that we can essentially blend those two models to have a more immersive but movable game experience. Could be in your living room, could be on the bus, or it could be in a friend's house. Much more portable than it is today. And that for us is a huge opportunity."
As tablets – and smart phones for that matter – continue to improve rapidly, we will continue to see developers pour time, money and man-power into developing more expansive, immersive games for handheld devices. We hope this also means more cross-platform opportunities, where gamers can play and engage together, whether they’re on a console, PC or mobile device.
What do you think about Blake Jorgensen’s prediction? Do you believe tablets will become more powerful than consoles in the next few years, and if so, what do you think it will mean for gaming as a whole? Share your theories in the comments!