The television was supposed to kill radio. The internet is supposed to stab television in the back. Email is supposedly going to be dead in a few years due to social media. I wonder if Twitter will commit harikari in 2020. What is it with technology and death?
Now, Peter Vesterbacka, business developer lead for Rovio (of Angry Birds fame), has come out to make the bold statement that mobile gaming is causing console gaming to die. He made the statement during the SXSW Conference. Do the numbers back up his statement? Is the 100 million downloads Vesterbacka claims Angry Birds drew in enough to send console gaming the way of the dinosaurs?
Let's take a look at the cold hard data. For our two samples we'll look at the immensely popular Angry Birds, and Call of Duty: Black Ops to represent console gaming. Black Ops was the top selling console game of 2010.
We're going to take the 100 million downloads Rovio is boasting with their title and match it up against the console sales for Black Ops. According to VGChartz, Black Ops sold 11.95 millions copies on the Xbox 360, and 9.6 million copies on the PS3.
According to my handy computer calculator, here's how the numbers stand against one another (Black Ops sells for $59.99).
Angry Birds revenue - $100 million
Call of Duty: Black Ops revenue - $1.29 billion
Of course the real tell-of-the-tape is with their profit, but unfortunately we don't have production and publishing costs for both games. However, I would be extremely surprised to learn that Black Op's production cost so much it earned less than $100 million.
As a gamer for going on two decades, I would have to call Vesterbacka's words at the very least, reaching, at the most, hyperbole. There's a good chance Vesterbacka was simply posturing to the crowd, and wanted to create some controversy to attract attention to his game. If so, it worked, I am writing about what he said.
Mobile gaming has definitely changed the landscape of not only gaming but the way we value media. However, the mobile gaming platform isn't going to cause anything to "die". It has simply provided us with another way in which to enjoy gaming, and to allow more people to join in on the action.
Different forms of technology will be around as long as they're useful; after all, I can still go out to my car and listen to the radio.