As a current topic on game industry lips, it is no surprise that gaming veteran, Codemasters’ co-founder David Darling CBE, has revealed his thoughts about the digital revolution and the fall of game consoles. Darling wrote his article last night on the website of his new mobile gaming company, Kwalee, labeling games consoles as “old fashioned”.
“Consoles have become like dinosaurs heading for extinction.”
With physical media such as DVD and CDs dying out fast, it is not surprising that gaming is indeed moving to digital distribution, which Darling believes will end the console wars.
“Sony and Microsoft cannot let the retailers dictate game prices going forwards if they want to break free from the current over-priced model, their next consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 need to be digital only, or they will fail.
Once Apple add an App Store to Apple TV they could take over the living room games industry like they have taken over the handheld games industry with iPhone with flexible pricing and no distribution costs.”
Darling added that consoles must adapt to a new environment where platforms like Steam, Facebook, Apple and Android App Stores are pushing innovation.
Darling co-founded Codemasters in 1986, focusing on high quality “budget” games for 8-bit home computers. The company released low retail price titles dominating the market in the 80s.
His experience in computer, console, and now mobile gaming, provides Darling with deep knowledge and understanding of game development. Mobile gaming is fast becoming the fastest growing sector of the gaming industry, projected to become an $18 billion industry by 2018.
Darling has also expressed his thoughts about digital distribution:
“Angry Birds has had more than one billion downloads. A sales figure totally beyond what can be achieved by boxed games. Giants like Apple and Google are taking over as the industry is transitioning from boxed to digital games.”
Mobile gaming is a demanding market, with an increase of smartphone owners. Consumers are beginning to abandon their consoles and divert their budgets from paying $50 on a boxed product, to a free or $1 games with optional in-app purchases.
Darling comments on the advantages of free-to-play games:
“Players can play more games for free and pay just for the content that they want. Digitally distributed games can reach players all around the world quickly, cutting out physical production, warehouses, distributors and retailers. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to charge people huge prices to play video games.”
Arguably, Darling debates the importance of game reviews. If a game can be downloaded and played for free, will you have a need for game reviews when you can try the game yourself for free? He states to have learnt what players want, going to great lengths to produce exciting games, with a number of creative and ambitious multiplayer turn-based games under development.
“After all, digital distribution is only a delivery method. The important thing is making great games”
David Darling’s new company Kwalee, based in the centre of the Silicon Spa gaming community in Leamington Spa, focuses on social multiplayer mobile games. With iOS and Android devices offering gamers with numerous features that consoles can’t – such as touchscreen, cameras, GPS, accelerometers, built-in microphones etc. – like other developers, Kwalee’s games would not work on the console market.
John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards."