Consoles are back in style, or are at the very least, enjoying a resurgence. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are all benefiting from strong console sales, helping to alleviate fears that mobile devices and games would drive business away from home consoles. This fear was reinforced by low-earning console debuts such as the Wii U, that left companies wondering, do consoles have a future in the changing video game world?
Currently, the answer is yes. Sony has had strong sales of its PS4 which, though not very new, sold 4.2 million units last quarter, bringing the total PS4s sold to 67.5 million units since its debut in 2013. Sony attributes its success to a variety of new games including FIFA, Madden, Injustice 2, and Destiny 2 enticing consumers to buy both the games and the consoles. Nintendo has a hit on its hands with the debut of the Switch, and says it expects to have sold 14 million units by March, a 4 million unit uptick from earlier estimates. Its sales have recently been helped by rave reviews for such games as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Microsoft’s Xbox One is the least successful of the consoles as Microsoft pulled their inventory ahead of the Xbox One X’s debut, leading to a massive sales drop. However, Xbox Live subscriptions went up during that time period to help offset costs and the sales forecasts for the Xbox One X are encouraging.
The battle between console and mobile gaming used to be a huge fear in the minds of gamers and game companies everywhere. However, now that the dust has settled from the dips of console sales in the early 2010s, it is clear that the two gaming formats can coexist. Mobile gaming is by far the larger area of the video game world, attracting over 2 billion players while console gaming only has 250 million; however, while mobile games have gained popularity, they haven’t pulled many gamers away from their consoles. Rather, it seems that mobile gaming is merely engaging with new, untapped audiences and giving console gamers an alternative method to play that doesn’t require them to sacrifice their console. As one research analyst puts it, “”Smartphone games are to console games what YouTube videos are to television series and major motion pictures. Console games are a much more immersive experience than most mobile games.”