The Sony Playstation 4 is on track to becoming the biggest selling console of all time. It is selling at a three-to-four fold increase when compared to the Playstation 3 and is flying off shelves faster than the Playstation 2 — which currently holds the crown for the most profitable console ever. In just five months since its release, the Playstation 4 has sold 7 million copies. Considering the similar success of the Xbox One, which isn’t too far behind that 7 million mark, it is causing some people to believe that we are in the midst of a gaming boom.
There are several reasons why this might be the case. Video games are finally being recognised as an art form rather than the misrepresented as a time-killer for teenage boys, the industry’s advances in gender politics are attracting more female players than ever before, and let’s not forget that gaming is in something of a golden period thanks to masterpieces like Grand Theft Auto V and Mass Effect.
However, there is another argument regarding what is responsible for the gaming boom — and that argument is smartphones.
The problem with consoles in the past was that they only really attracting people who were avid gamers and already owned consoles. It created a tough market. After all, console gaming requires practice to grasp the control pads, game mechanics and what is and what isn’t possible in a console world. Smartphone games, however, have broken down that barrier by acting as a gateway for those who have never owned a console before. They have equipped the world with the skills to tackle the bigger, complex games that consoles provide.
But smartphone games have not only provided a gateway in terms of skills. They have also managed to destroy some of the misconceptions about gaming. Prior to smartphones, if you asked someone on the street for their thoughts on video games it is likely they would have brushed them off as ‘toys’. Now, the entire world has seen that gaming can be addictive and engaging for anyone — that they can contain complex ideas like Papers Please does, and emotional stories like in The Walking Dead game.
The positive effect is so strong that people now, seemingly, want more. They don’t just want to experience simple games on the train journey to work or in the doctor’s waiting room. They want to dedicate an evening to battling quests or a lazy Sunday morning to roaming video game environments. Therefore, sales in consoles have exited a lengthy slump — brought on, ironically, by the rise of great handheld gaming on smartphones — and are now at an all-time high.