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PAX Aus: What is the future of console gaming?

The ‘Platform Paradigms: What Does the Future of Console Gaming Look Like?’ panel was interesting and offered a lot of food for thought around console gaming.
Consoles are one of the first ways gamers get exposed to the wonderful world of gaming. A lot of you would have grown up with the SNES, Gameboy, PlayStation, Xbox 360 and countless other consoles and handheld systems. But, where is console gaming headed now?
Today’s panel talked about the current state of console gaming and where they think console gaming is going. We’ll be covering the most interesting points made during the panel and we’ll offer some thoughts of our own about the topic.
The panel panellists included:

  • Nick Healey (moderator) – Breakfast Host, 2SER 107.3FM
  • James O’Connor – Freelance Video Game Journalist
  • Jessie James – Streamer, Influencer
  • Seamus Byrne – Managing Director, ScienceAlert
  • Deligracy – Streamer

The Nintendo Switch

The panellists all agreed that the Switch is an improvement on Nintendo’s last attempt with the Wii U. The Switch itself has been so popular in places like Japan that they’ve had to deal with shortages due to high demand.

I think they’ve merged two separate pathways.
-Deligracy

It’s definitely fascinating to look at the Switch compared to other consoles that Nintendo has had to offer. It appeals to those familiar with handhelds but also answers the need to play games on a bigger screen such as a TV if needed.

Nintendo has done the handheld thing so much better.
-Jessie James

Jessie James noted that the Switch is such a success because of Nintendo’s experience with creating popular handhelds such as the Gameboy.
It’ll be interesting to see where Nintendo goes with the Switch and what they plan to do in future with their consoles.

Console generations

If you’ve been gaming since the 90s, you’ll now be very familiar with the cycles that consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox have gone through over the last couple of decades.
For a consumer, the question of upgrading a console or even buying a console is an important one given the cost of consoles. As stated by the panel, people do expect to get a certain amount out of a console before needing to upgrade it.
The PlayStation Pro and Xbox One X both offer 4K quality gaming and it’s important to look at where people are right now when it comes to owning a 4K TV.
When the room was asked about who owned a 4K TV, of the 50 or so attendees, less than 1/3 said they had one. So, for a consumer, with new generations of consoles, a 4K TV is something to consider as part of the cost if you don’t have one already.
 

Backwards Compatibility

Following on from the topic of console generations, the topic of backwards compatibility came up.
With the average gamer being in their 30s, most would have gone through several console generations and several libraries of games.
All the panellists agreed that it’s important that older games can be used on new platforms. It’s clear from the return of retro gaming and remastered titles such as Crash Bandicoot that people want to be able to return to games that they’ve created memories with from years before.

VR and it’s future

I think we can all agree that the cusp of gaming right now sits within the realm of VR, AR and MR. Adoption of these systems is still growing and more companies are working on making them accessible to consumers.
In terms of where VR sits in relation to consoles, the panel concluded that consoles still need more power and more graphical power in order to support VR. VR will be fantastic once consoles are finally able to support it.
In another audience question, people were asked to keep their hands up if they would pay a certain amount for a VR system. Most of the audience at the panel would pay $200-$400 for VR. The more affordable VR is, the more people will be able to access it and the more developers and game creators will get from the work they’ve put into their VR games.
Watch the livestream of the panel here: