DICE: Mobile gaming no threat to consoles
DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has hit back at industry "naysayers" proclaiming the death of console gaming in the face of a growing mobile market.
"People are generally correct that things are changing, and a lot of people in this industry are acknowledging that – some people don't want to see it, though," Troedsson, whose studio produces the Battlefield series, told us. "But I would also say the people who are painting such a grim picture of where we're going are wrong."
In fact, far from damaging it, Troedsson believes wholeheartedly that the broadening of available platforms will benefit the traditional game industry.
"Yes, people are playing more on their mobile devices, but I don't see people playing on other SKUs as a problem for triple-A developers, it's actually the contrary," he said. "I think people engaging in any kind of gaming is good for all games, because it means that people will play more.
"I consider myself to be a hardcore, triple-A kind of player, and I definitely play more on my mobile devices now, but I don't play less on my other devices as a result. When I'm home, I want to play games with the absolute most hi-def, best audio, best visuals that I can get out of a gaming session. And that will come from dedicated hardware or a very high-end PC."
While Troedsson wouldn't be drawn on predicting whether or not the next round of hardware will represent the final home console generation, he believes that powerful hardware accessible in the home will remain a permanent aspect of gaming.
"There will always be a demand for games that require a lot of hardware to deliver a really hi-def experience," he explained. "Whether that will be delivered by CPUs and memory sitting in your room, or somewhere else, I don't know. Probably both. But one thing is for sure, people will continue to want to play the best-looking games out there."
Of course, as the head of a company making big-budget home console games, Troedsson position is unsurprising. His sentiments echo those of Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley, who made similar assertions last year.
And if genuine, the recently leaked next-gen Xbox roadmap – which lays out a ten year plan for Microsoft's next assault on the living room – adds additional weight to the continued rude health of console gaming. Even so, it remains a refreshing point of view given the industry-wide gold rush towards the bright, if not so new, frontiers of mobile and free-to-play – areas DICE is itself already experimenting in.
Speaking at GDC Taipei, which took place over the past two days, Ngmoco boss Ben Cousins became the latest industry veteran to predict the death of consoles in the face of mobile.
"There's a potential for mobile gaming to kill console gaming," he said, according to Gamasutra. "I'm talking about a significant reduction of market share with no chance of return."
"I believe Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo won't produce dedicated hardware past the next generation. Further, I believe traditional game companies like EA will be purchased by existing digital companies, or close entirely."
Cousins' was careful to broaden his definition of mobile, however: "When I'm talking about mobile, I'm talking about the operating system, not the device.
"I believe these operating systems will start to appear in other classes of devices, other than just mobile phones and tablets. In the future I think mobile gaming maybe won't be so mobile, and we may need a new definition for them."