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Monday, July 14, 2014
Android Gaming Consoles on the Horizon

Android ia projected to drive video gaming on HDTVs for millions of customers by 2017.

Android ia projected to drive video gaming on HDTVs for millions of customers by 2017.

Ted Pollak, Senior Gaming Analyst at JR notes that Playstation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Wii-U will be the dominant platforms for hardcore console gamers. However, Android console offerings from Amazon, Google, and others are projected to grow at a much faster rate, and offer the casual to mid-core gamer an affordable way to play from the couch. Nvidia?s Shield is also breaking new ground and can run Android games as a console or handheld. The device may also appeal to the hardcore with its ability to stream PC games.

Much of this phenomenon can be traced to the incredible leaps in general and graphics oriented processing power of the mobile chipset industry. Companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia, Imagination Technology, and Samsung are improving the capabilities of mobile chipsets by leaps and bounds. Jon Peddie, President of JPR notes that the "The mobile world is moving at lightning speed as it adds features for movies, gaming, and even content creation. 4K video is already a reality and it seems there are no boundaries on the public?s appetite for better graphics and video".

The console market in general has recently come under pressure from tablets and PC gaming. However the monetization of the hardcore console players, who remain at a stabilizing 90 million plus globally, will keep the business model for the top end going. Over time, the broader base of console gamers will likely consider Android, cable box, and other types of consoles such as the Sony Vita TV for more casual to mid core pursuits. Apple is always a potential threat as well.

The market will expand further as China opens its doors to traditional (but locally built) consoles, which will cannibalize more of the lower end PC gaming sales. China has a potential console market of 50 - 100 million gamers who would prefer to play on TV versus the traditional desktop setup. The middle class have increasingly more disposable income and mobile devices, causing the role of the internet caf? to lessen.

Another trend in the console market is the decline in sales of handheld gaming devices like the Sony Vita and Nintendo D3D. Much of this has to do with the influence of tablets and smartphones for portable gaming. However, as Android games are increasingly designed for use with gamepads, Android handhelds like the Nvidia Shield may stabilize the market in a few years. Sony and Nintendo?s commitment to handhelds and the economics of lower volumes will have a drastic effect on the segment.

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