Sony and Nintendo are two of the biggest names in the world of console gaming, taking up a large portion of market share. With only three serious contenders available in stores, it stands to reason that two of those contenders would have a major influence on the future of games development. And while both Nintendo and Sony have seen success in their forays into console gaming, the ever-changing games market calls into question the long-term viability of consoles.
Andy Payne, managing director of Mastertronic and indie game developer, believes that it would make more sense for Nintendo and Sony to stop worrying so much about console development and focus instead on mobile devices and tablets. Speaking at a round table event for the Develop in Liverpool game conference, he offered some thoughts on how the two companies can evolve into pure software providers.
The general argument is that holding your biggest names (Mario, Nathan Drake) to one specific console severely limits your market share to people that own that specific console. If Mario games were release on the Android Market, for example, Nintendo could dramatically increase the number of people with access to the titles. Of course, they’d lose the performance guarantees that come with developing a game for one system, and they’d lose a major motivating factor in console purchases.
Payne’s main thrust is that it would be exciting to see Zelda, Uncharted, and all of the other Sony/Nintendo-specific franchises cropping up on a number of devices. Plus, the lack of need for a console would free up developmental and financial resources for both companies. I’m not exactly sure why he left Microsoft out of the loop in these statements, but I assume he feels the same way about Halo and Gears of War.
The big problem that I see with this theory is control – Nintendo and Sony’s games are designed around specific control schemes and require them for ease of play. How deep could the Uncharted experience really be if Sony had to ensure it worked across a number of devices? What about Skyward Sword?
What’s your opinion on Payne’s statements? Do you think we’ll ever see Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft giving up on hardware to focus exclusively on software?
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