In a recent interview, Super Monkey Ball and Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has said that he believes that dedicated gaming consoles are on borowed time, and that the future of gaming lies solely with PCs and mobile phones. He was also quoted as saying that "the main market will become portable games" and that "eventually mobiles will become just as powerful as games consoles."
This seems a shrewd and sensible prediction, however it does leave me a little depressed. The death of consoles is something we touched upon in the horiffically doom-laden fifth podcast, and is a thought that fills me with dread. Admittedly, killing off consoles and focussing purely on PC and mobile gaming would remove a pricey barrier of entry - pretty much everyone has a PC and a phone, whereas a games console is not such a ubiquitous household gadget that everybody feels they need to own. This means that videogames would become appealing to a wider audience, and that can only be positive progress. However, if there were no longer any dedicated games consoles, I would feel like I was missing out on something. I am a gamer, and I don't want gaming to be a secondary function on an unrelated device - I want it to be front-and-centre, the main focus of the machine. I want to play games on something that is built from the ground up for playing games on, not something that is built primarily for another purpose but just happens to play games as well.
The death of consoles would also mean the death of console wars, which initially seems like a good thing - no more flame wars and blind fanboyism on forums! We can all play the same games regardless of what brand of machine we have! However, this is not as good as it sounds, as competition is always healthy for anyone, as it continually pushes them to innovate in order to elevate themselves above their competitors. Platform exclusives have been some of the best-loved and most critically-acclaimed games from this generation, for example Uncharted, Gears of War and Super Mario Galaxy, and the quality of every single one of these games is born out of the quest to sell more consoles than their competitors. If consoles die, the stakes aren't nearly as high for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, and so their output is likely to go down in quality. I mean, Sega's efforts haven't been of the same high standards since they stopped making consoles, have they?
What do you think of Nagoshi's predictions? Do you embrace his vision of the future, or does it scare you? Let us know in the comments.