Dedicated game consoles aren't dead, but in the future they won't be the market force they have been in the past, according to game designer Will Wright. While Wright acknowledges that consoles will probably never go away completely, he predicts they'll lose their "mainstay" status.
"I don't think [consoles are] doomed," Wright told GamesIndustry.biz "I think they're not going to become the mainstay of the market like they had been."
Wright says the trends toward social and mobile gaming are impacting everything, and that makes dedicated hardware less important in the larger gaming market. "I think there'll probably still be dedicated game machines going forwards, sitting on a shelf next to your HDTV," he said. "I think that they're going to be catering to a very specific kind of player, which probably isn't that different from what they were catering to before. It's just that a lot more people are now playing games, and they're not playing it on that device."
The devices that will define the future of our industry, he argues, support an entirely different type of gaming. He says gaming is becoming more "interstitial" than session-based. Rather than playing a core game for an hour, you might play an iPhone game for two minutes while waiting in line at Starbucks. "I can use games to fill the empty slots in my life, a bit more ubiquitously."
In other words, Wright suggests the diminishing importance of consoles is a by-product of the diminishing importance of core games. Since consoles are built for that expressed purpose, they'll be the devices to bear the brunt of the market shift.
It makes sense to have confidence in the mobile market, especially since his ambitious project Hivemind relies on that style of interstitial gaming. No release plans have been detailed.