Codemaster founder Darling claims mobile revolution risks killing the console

Sony and Microsoft need to play ball

Codemaster founder Darling claims mobile revolution risks killing the console
An industry-wide revolution triggered by the rise of the smartphone could leave Sony and Microsoft's new consoles dead on arrival unless they learn from Apple and Google.

That's the view of Codemaster founder David Darling, who – in his new position as CEO of smartphone studio Kwalee – claims the next generation of consoles need to learn from the mobile market if they are to stay relevant.

Daring Darling

Speaking via a lengthy blog post, Darling claims one of the main problems centres around pricing structures.

Digital marketplaces have changed the way consumers pay for games forever, and serving up consoles that rely on boxed goods simply won't cut it any more.

"The industry is transitioning from boxed to digital games," argues Darling in the post.

"Console makers will need to sell games for $2 or else they will not be competitive with Apple. Nintendo 3DS and Sony Vita are not currently competitive with iPhone and Android game prices."

Related to that, Darling claims games are simply getting better on mobile, thanks to a developer's ability to update games almost on the fly based on customer feedback.

Letting the shackles loose

"Developers can learn how to better look after their customers and provide exactly the experience they want," continues Darling, adding that players can "play more games for free and pay just for the content that they want."

"If hardware manufacturers such as Sony and Microsoft do not manage this transition soon, they will be overtaken and left behind by companies who are embracing digital distribution wholly and completely.

"Companies like Apple and Google are not tied to brick and mortar retailers with shackles and are not being held back by them."

Overall, Darling claims the turning point may be when Apple launches an App Store-equipped TV platform, which could "take over the living room games industry" in much the same way as the company's mobile ascent.

Digital vs. dinosaurs

"Consoles have become like dinosaurs heading for extinction as their natural retail habitat begins to change," he adds.

"These ancient beasts must now adapt to a new environment where platforms like Steam, Facebook and Apple's App Store are pushing innovation."

In darling's view, smartphones offer technical advantages too, with cameras, GPS, accelerometers, microphones and touchscreens, amongst other features, whetting developers' appetites.

"All these features provide a technology platform ripe for exciting new ways to play," concludes Darling.

"Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo's jurassic machines will have to evolve in the next gen console era. They need to embrace free-to-play and cheaper digital games. If they don’t, they could become extinct, as new giants like Apple and Google takeover."

[source: Kwalee]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.