Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why the Wii U marks the beginning of the last generation

Every once in a while I like to do a post on technology, and I have been thinking recently about Nintendo's new system, the Wii U and what it will mean for the technology industry. I don't actually really play video games anymore even though I was once very involved in them, they have just decreased significantly in importance for me. But I do like technology and I feel this new nintendo system marks a very important point for video games, the beginning of the end of console gaming.

Let me explain why, first of all we have seen the handled gaming market, once considered a nintendo stronghold, dismantled in a mater of a few years, primarily by the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Nobody else (Sega, Sony, and Nokia had tried) had been able to touch nintendo's gameboy blockade on the market, the most interesting thing is that nintendo was the first company to really introduce touch screen gaming into the market with their DS and many of the technologies they developed there were what would later make the tablet market successful in gaming. They were also the first to introduce gyroscope motion sensing technology into handhelds which has also become a major part of phone and tablet gaming.

Now Nintendo has introduced a game system with a tablet controller, a touch screen motion sensing device in the living room. This will pave the way for people's actual tablets and cell phones to become the controllers they use for video games on their TVs, this will help with the breakdown of the console system.

The second major factor will be the recession, the economic troubles have already stalled this generation of consoles, elongating the time the the Wii, 360, and PS3 have sat on the top of the heap. I fully expect both Microsoft and and Sony to release another set of systems next year, but I think it will be their last. People will no longer want to pay for a separate set of hardware for gaming during times of economic trouble when they already of devices capable of playing games.

The final blow will come from Apple as it generally does. Apple will release a TV that either runs iOS or some similar operating system which will be capable of running apps as well as a million other things. This will integrate the iPhone and iPad into the livingroom in such a way that will make video game consoles obsolete and cumbersome. What points to this? The current Apple TV already allows for you to mirror your tablet onto your TV, and hackers have found code inside it that points to gaming being in development. Apple is also widely rumored to be in production of an actual TV monitor instead of just a set box top. Once this happens Google and Windows will be forced to follow suit in some way. Microsoft is already well set up to make this change with the Kinect.

All of this seems to point to the death of console gaming as we know it. I think the Wii U will provide the bridge into this manner of gaming, my only question is why nintendo is doing this, it doesn't make sense for them to bridge their way into their own demise. Whatever happens doesn't really make much difference to me, but its something to think about.

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