Angry Birds Creator: "Console Games Are Dying"
It's no secret that mobile gaming has managed to rise considerably in popularity over the past couple years. With more companies interested in mobile game development and more potential in today's handsets than ever before, there are countless possibilities for creating standout, viable titles on phones and other mobile devices. According to Peter Vesterbacka, head of Rovio Mobile and creator of Angry Birds, mobile gaming is growing and console gaming is "dying."
While speaking at the Southwest Interactive conference, Vesterbacka stated that the focus of innovation was now on social and mobile gaming. The ability to release more content at a faster rate makes the newer forms of gaming more "nimble," said the Rovio boss. He also criticized the price of games, listing $40 and $50 as too expensive for gaming entertainment.
Vesterbacka expressed his frustration with the term "casual games," defending Angry Birds by saying that it offers an experience as addictive and engaging for gamers as any other major release. I feel compelled to argue with Mr. Vesterbacka here. Just because a game is addictive doesn't make it a core title. I spent many afternoons playing Wii Sports, trying to set new records and collect medals, but that never made it a hardcore game. Heck, people get addicted to Tetris—I still don't get the appeal—but for many, it hardly qualifies as a core gaming experience.
Looking toward the future, Rovio intends to experiment with different models depending on the titles they distribute. Currently, Angry Birds has managed to hit the 100 million download mark. This is an impressive feat to say the least, but I hardly think it indicates the demise of console gaming given the 99 cent price tag of the game.
Different markets appeal to different individuals. I've never been impressed with a mobile game long enough to actually pay money for it. My current phone came with a few pre-loaded demos, and they never enticed me to download the full versions. To date, I have yet to download a full game, free or not, to my phone. I can understand that mobile gaming is a fun distraction if you've got minutes to kill before you leave the house or while you wait for the bus, but to say that console gaming will die at the hands of mobile gaming is a bit of a stretch. Will I be able to take Mario across several beautiful worlds and guide him through dizzying levels on an iPhone? Will a Twisted Metal game come out for Android phones and allow me to let loose across destructive environments?
For the record, I'm not bashing mobile gaming. But it offers specific types of gaming experiences that may not appeal to console gamers. Similarly, consoles provide gamers with titles that you won't see on a phone. Neither medium is in danger.