The death of console gaming has been greatly exaggerated

Xbox One and Sony Playstation PS4
Credit: Sony

Last year around this time we were hearing skepticism (from some corners of the Internet anyway) about the new consoles that were soon to be launching. The argument from the anti-console contingent was that no one wants dedicated gaming consoles or console games anymore because we all have tablets and smartphones.

I think most of us who self-refer to ourselves as "gamers" thought that was a pretty silly point of view. Sure tablets and smartphones are OK for certain specific games or to pass some time, but most serious gaming requires a console or PC.

Since the Playstation 4 and Xbox One launched, both have been selling well. As of last May NPD was saying that during the first six months on store shelves the PS4 and XBox One sold double the numbers that the PS3 and Xbox 360 did in their first six months. (Source: Eurogamer)

That's good news for Sony and Microsoft, but what about third party game developers? Yesterday Ubisoft released some very promising sales figures. In their first fiscal quarter (ending June 15th) they did €360 million ($489 million) in sales, a 374% increase over the €76 million ($103 million) figure from the same quarter in 2013. Their new franchise Watch Dogs sold 8 million units.

But what's interesting to me from the point of view of this post is where those sales were happening. 36% were on the PS4 and 17% were on the Xbox One. So even though these platforms are in their first year of being on the shelves, for Ubisoft at least they're accounting for 53% of sales. 17% were on the PC (which is kind of the wild card in this equation) and the other 30% were on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and other platforms.

Now I'll admit it's a bit hazardous to extrapolate from the sales of one third party developer, but if there's an eager audience for Ubisoft titles on the newest generation of consoles I see no reason why other developers shouldn't be able to tap into that same audience.

I also feel confident predicting that cumulative 30% figure will trend downwards as more and more gamers upgrade to the PS4 or Xbox One. I feel pretty good saying the death of videogame consoles was greatly exaggerated (and as a gamer I couldn't be more happy to see these new platforms doing well). For plenty of us, swiping at a tablet will never replace a gripping a controller and enjoying the big-screen spectacle of a good console game.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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