Japanese Video Game Guru Says Console Days Are Numbered
from the can't-hold-back-progress dept
We’ve talked in the past about the differences between open and closed platforms in driving innovation and adoption. Unlike some, I’m not against inherently closed platforms. I just don’t think that they will survive long-term. In fact, I think that closed platforms often do a very good job of defining initial markets, and convincing people to leap into those markets. However, in the long term, it usually seems that the open platforms, which may start out a lot less polished and useful, not only catch up, but surpass the closed platforms. It’s not difficult to understand why this happens. When you have a closed platform, the company putting it out has to account for everything — and thus, initially, it’s a lot more advanced and well thought out. However, with an open platform, the initial offering is often chaotic and messy and difficult for new users to understand and adopt. But over time, with many more people able to work on that platform and to innovate on that platform, it gets better and better and better. And it becomes more difficult for the closed platforms to catch up.
Does this always happen? No. But it’s happened enough that you have to have a good reason for why it won’t happen in any particular market. Of course, one of the examples that people have used for where this has not happened is in the video game market. There, it’s the closed platforms — PS3, Xbox and the Wii — that have continued to dominate, while the more open PC platform has languished in comparison. There could be a variety of reasons for this — including the fact that there is a fair bit of competition between the three platforms and the fact that no one has really built a credible open competitor (the PC may be too general purpose). But, apparently, some still think the era of the closed video gaming console is unlikely to last much longer — and at least one prognosticator is certainly someone who knows the business quite well.
Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear Solid surprised a lot of people by saying that the video game console is dying, and the future is a much more open solution, that involves games that you can play on any device: computer, mobile, TV, etc.
“In the near future, we’ll have games that don’t depend on any platform,” Kojima said at a news conference announcing the latest installment in a game saga that began in 1987.
“Gamers should be able to take the experience with them in their living rooms, on the go, when they travel — wherever they are and whenever they want to play. It should be the same software and the same experience,” he said.
Who knows if this is true or not, but it would certainly fit the pattern we’ve seen elsewhere…