Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 23, 2013

Email: So, Gamasutra’s article about disruption


Looks like another article which has completely misunderstood the whole disruption and innovators dilemma thing.  Yes they are sustaining rather than innovating or whatever, but to class Nintendo alongside Microsoft and Sony is questionable, and then saying that mobile phone games and social games are somehow destroying consoles is missing the point entirely.

It’s more of Ben Cousins propaganda. The absence of not mentioning Wii’s disruption is intentional.  Ben Cousins must be one of my biggest fans since he uses so much of my material.

Much of Cousins talk is meaningless because he rarely discusses games. It was SPACE INVADERS that sold the Atari 2600, not the hardware of Atari 2600. It was SUPER MARIO BROTHERS that sold the NES, no the hardware of NES. It was TETRIS that sold the Gameboy, not the hardware of the Gameboy. Gaming revolves around games. Cousins is saying nothing new. I’ve heard the same exact spiel be made every generation. Where there are great games are where the gamers will go. Smartphones attract the more cheapskate gamers (if you can call them that) with their free games and several dollar price points. This is not a market that is going to make the Greatest Video Games that will attract gamers.

Convenience is not innovation. Engineering is innovation. Disruption isn’t about convenience, it is about a different engineering value. Instead of the product being better in X way, it is better in Y way instead. Y way is valued by the New Market while the industry doesn’t see the value of Y way but only X way.

It is smartphones that are in serious danger of disruption. Smartphone technology has already reached ‘good enough’ for most people. As more portable devices rise that can play movies, browse the Internet, the price of the smartphone begins to stick out. I’m seeing a trend of more and more people removing their smartphone entirely. Since so much of the cost of the smartphones is with the expensive contracts, they are saving themselves a ton of money. The smartphone market has also become more competitive and less profitable.

Gaming doesn’t really change in its context. There is no true fundamental difference between Atari 2600 games and games of the Wii U. You sit down and play them on a TV screen or on a screen on the controller. I don’t see why console gaming would be that different thirty years from now in 2043.

However, there has been a fundamental change in computers. With the PC’s rise, everyone assumed the PC would end up everywhere. Everything would become a PC. PCs would run your washing machines. All gaming would come to PCs. Now with smartphones’s rise, everyone assumes smartphones will run everything including gaming. I don’t know if anyone has said smartphones will run washing machines yet.

Smartphone’s future will be where the workstation PC is today within a decade or so. I guarantee it.



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