Christmas time is one of the busiest of the year for retailers and publishers in the video game business. The big game releases of the year typically taking place during October and November to be judged by the populace before Christmas takes over their sales. The development side however is much slower during this period of time and typically starts back up during the spring. As we near Christmas and the following spring it brings to question just how much Mobile Technology is going to affect 2013’s. What are we going to see and how much will change?
The impact of Mobile Applications and Mobile Technology on the gaming world has been interesting. Casual gaming has spread like the flu since the mobile market exploded, with large numbers of non-gamers finding mobile applications on their smartphones that they simply love. This has led to an evolution a market that was once rather dedicated to the “hardcore gamers”. Mix this with the new mobile technologies that we will see and we may see a drastic change in how games are played and what they can do in 2013.
It is coming close to that time when the console race will start. The big names in the market are gearing up and getting ready to fight again as they all release their new systems and see who will be top dog this time around. The first of the bunch has fired the opening shot with the release of the Wii U. Nintendo launched its new console with the hopes of bringing gamers back to the company that they grew up with. They are attempting to move away from developing games for kids and their moms, but this presents a problem. Many gamers who were big supporters of Nintendo felt left behind with the Wii. Mix that with the fact that the Wii U may be an underpowered machine and marketing to gamers again may become difficult.
Microsoft is also making some waves with its expected reveal of the new Xbox some time in 2013. Its current system the Xbox 360 is now being considered ancient and since individuals that have first or second generation systems are being force to upgrade to a newer Xbox 360 in order to play their games, it would seem we are due for a new system soon. With the coming of a new system, Microsoft will have to rethink their digital strategy. Right now their focus is on the publisher and not so much on developers. With the emergence of mobile technology and its new brand of gamer, this is could be the deal breaker.
A newer system that is making waves is Ouya. This kickstarter system is an android ran console that offers free to play indie games and many more. The best part is that since its running android, it can run mobile applications from the store on your television using the stock controller. If this open sourced console can own content in a way that the big name brands cannot easily follow then it might see some very real success. The Ouya just might be one of the biggest disruptions to gaming in 2013.
With the rise of mobile technology, sales of PCs have been down. Despite this fact PCs are still have a large portion of the gaming market. Windows 8 just might be setting the stage for the next step in social and casual PC gaming. With the Windows Store attached to the OS, Microsoft is in a unique position to potentially change the way PC gaming works. If there is anything that we have learned from Apple, it is that consumers prefer mobile applications. If game apps start to make their way into the PC environment via Windows 8 we could see the evolution of our current market.
Steam is one of those companies with the opportunity to make a real play in 2013. Steam Powered is a gaming client that brings great value to gamers and has a large following. If Steam made a move into crowd funding, their passionate audience could make a real difference in Steams fate. They have started to work on a project called Steam Greenlight that is almost what could be a Kickstarter for games, except Steam seems to be afraid to go all in. Right now all it will do is allow users to vote on what Steam should publish.
What I Think
Mobile technology is altering the way that gaming works, for the most part the typical user now prefers that their games be fun, intriguing, and short. The mobile applications that are being developed are typically played for a short amount of time or are based on the “social tournament” theme like Words With Friends. There will always be hardcore gamers that want more than a few hours of fun or distraction, so that market is likely safe. The future holds many unknowns and we will likely see some massive changes in 2013 as we reach the true beginning of the post-PC age. Mobile technology is changing the world we live in and its full impact has yet to be seen.