Yet another games console was launched this month and in the run-up to Christmas the big hitters in the gaming industry expect to make up losses experienced during the past 18 months of the credit crunch. But what does the future hold for the games console? Even Sega Inc has just launched a new website offering emulated free online games, so does this mean the demise of the games console?
Gaming has been popular since the 1970s when arcade games first hit the big time. When home computers became available thousands of people became addicted to Pong and the Apple 11, Comodore 64 and Atari ruled supreme.
Enter the video game console. Nintendo and Sega were catapulted onto the gaming scene with catchy, although later deemed extremely annoying, music, colour screens and likeable characters such as the Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog. With these two mascots the purpose built game console was launched and gaming has never been the same since.
In the 1990s, many people switched to PCs as the graphics used for the latest games required extremely high specifications and the memory required to play the games was not available on games consoles. Also, this is when online gaming communities really developed. For the first time on a mass scale, people could battle each other in real time online. Games consoles, at the time, simply didn't have this capacity, but emulators added online multi-player option to NES, SNES and SEGA game emulators!
Xbox and Playstation took market share when they launched their online gaming, and large memory consoles and the games console was back in the game. Since then the market has become increasingly more competitive and cutthroat. Particularly during the recession as consumer spending has been down. Furthermore, you can now play games on your mobile phone with Java emulators as well as iPhone and Android emulators and play old video games online for free so more possibilities in the market means a tougher time for games consoles.
However, the Nintendo Wii has proved to be endogenously popular and the new, hyped-up Nintendo 3DS is sure to do well arround Christmas. Sega away from console production but instead is focusing on game development for Wii, DS and the new Nintendo 3DS. UK's biggest selling games including Total War and Football Manager are from Sega. Free emulator gaming sites will by no means threaten the games console market, in fact they may just help more people get involved in gaming by giving them a taste of what to expect.