A recent interesting fact cropped up earlier today, as facts have a tendency to do, that showed that—in a survey staged by Goo Technologies
—more users were turning to browser gaming than were turning to console gaming. The majority's margin here was narrow, as just 52 percent of gamers in that survey of 2,046 adults over the age of 18 preferred browser, but it was still a point that was worth paying attention to.
There were plenty of reasons for the shift—costs, ease of use, interactivity with friends and several others—but it's the fact that more users were looking to play games on Web browsers than were looking for consoles that was especially noteworthy, particularly with two major new console launches about to hit in the form of Microsoft's
Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4. The increasing move to browser gaming—and mobile gaming in general—wasn't lost on Sony, however, as Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, had some remarks in line about mobile gaming.
Mobile gaming, according to Yoshida, had “totally shifted our way of thinking,” as Yoshida gave an interview to GamesIndustry International, talking about some of Sony's cross-promotion plans. One set of plans for the PS4 launch title “Knack” included a themed puzzle game that would be not only be available at no charge, but playing the game would provide items that could be used within the wider game itself. This in turn gets people interested in the full game—why not try the game which a user just won free items in?--by taking advantage of a platform users are already found playing?
Yoshida went on to elaborate in terms of taking on smartphones, which have given portable gaming consoles a lot of trouble in recent days, and suggesting that the best way to overcome such devices is to offer better gaming experiences. Frankly, I'm with him on that one; making mobile games that have impact on the larger console environment is a great option. While it may have a negative impact on downloadable content sales, offering some new vehicle, new weapon, or the like as a prize in a free game is a terrific idea, and a great way to up replay value. Personally, I had a great time with the 'Merica Gun in “Saints Row 4”--among a host of things that made for a better time in that game—so the thought of playing a mini-game for freebies in the game is exciting. There's even some precedent for something like this; consider “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero
”. Players of that game could build up the character's level and cash stock just ahead of “Dead Rising 2”'s release. It wouldn't be hard to do something like that for, well, for most any game really, and then take advantage of the respective platforms to juice up the whole package.
It might even be a good way for Microsoft to light a fire under Windows Phone, taking advantage of the mobile platform to improve the Xbox One experience and vice versa.
Still, it remains to be seen just what game makers will do in the face of this new development, and just how responses will look. It's likely that the game makers will try to take advantage of this new trend, but what said advantage will look like, that's the issue.