By Chris Sorensen - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - 0 Comments
Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are struggling to reinvent video games as touchscreens and tablets take over the living room
Nintendo’s 2006 launch of the Wii console marked a new era for video games. With its innovative motion-sensing controllers, used to mimic the swing of a tennis racquet or golf club, the $250 Wii immediately struck a chord with gamers and non-gamers alike. Amazon sold out of its initial stock of sleek, white Wii consoles in just seven minutes.
The Wii’s unexpected success catapulted third-ranked Nintendo to the top of the video game industry, ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3—both of which are more powerful (and more expensive) machines. More importantly, it suggested a much wider potential market for game consoles beyond basement-dwelling teenagers.
But the renaissance has proved short-lived. Console sales have declined dramatically in recent years as existing systems grow long in the tooth. Nintendo posted a loss of $530 million this year, its first since 1981. And competition from tablets and smartphones, with their cheap, downloadable games, threatens to steal away millions of casual gamers. “Tablets and smartphones are the black hole of the consumer electronics industry right now, sucking the growth out of everything else,” says Kaan Yigit, the president of Toronto’s Solutions Research Group, a consumer research firm. “The growth rates we saw after Wii first came out are but a distant memory.”
By Peter Nowak - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM - 0 Comments
I’m off to Vancouver for this weekend’s Canadian Video Game Awards. This year, I was honoured to be one of the judges so I’m not just excited for the nominees, I’m also keen to see if my picks end up winning. It’s almost like a betting pool, although I certainly wouldn’t do something so Pete Rose-ian. That would be wrong.
The awards are meant to honour the best in video game design, as done by Canadians. I wrote up a few preview pieces, which you can check out here and here. I really liked what Victor Lucas–host of The Electric Playground and one of the awards’ organizers–said to me about the event: “We really want to grow the CVAs to be something akin to the Junos or the Geminis. We should be just as proud of the games that are made here as we are of the music, television and films that are made here.” I couldn’t agree more.
You may know by now that Canada is a video game powerhouse–with 16,000 employees, the country’s industry is the third biggest in the world, after Japan and the U.S. Moreover, some of the best-known and biggest-selling franchises–Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Mass Effect, FIFA and so on–have been born and bred in Canada.
Having covered technology for many years, looking at Canada’s video game industry is a breath of fresh air. Our powerhouse status is the result of the overall market’s seemingly unending growth, but also some very smart government tax subsidies. That way, the whole Canadian sector has been mostly a good news story throughout its history.