Phones to replace gaming consoles: analyst

Courtney Symons
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The increasing horsepower of mobile phones is pushing traditional video gaming consoles to the margins, a trend from which mobile app developers stand to benefit.

Allan Yogasingam, technical research manager at UBM TechInsights.

Within two to three years, at-home gaming consoles will become nearly obsolete, according to Allan Yogasingam, technical research manager at UBM TechInsights, who discussed industry trends with Ottawa's mobile community on Monday.

Cell phone users are often unpredictable in their preferences - screens continue to get larger instead of smaller as previously forecasted; phones are well on their way to replacing traditional cameras and are quickly turning into televisions as well.

"If you told people a few years ago that they'd be happy to watch TV on a four-inch screen, they would have said, ‘Are you kidding me?'" said Mr. Yogasingam.

People now use their phones for multiple functions, the least of which is making phone calls, he said.

Currently, only five percent of Americans own a tablet, and iPads make up 60 percent of those who do. That means there is still enormous potential for tablet sales, with Apple selling 12 million iPads in its most recent quarter and Microsoft announcing its venture into the tablet market on Monday.

Cell phone manufacturers each pay roughly the same amount for the hardware used in their products, which means the real value lies in the software and user experience.

Developers should capitalize on this to create mobile applications for increasingly powerful phones, with chips twice as small as they used to be, Mr. Yogasingam said.

As devices get thinner, cameras sharper and chips smaller, smartphone sales continue to grow exponentially. In 2011, 100 million units were sold globally, according to UBM TechInsights' research. By 2015, that number is projected to reach 630 million, and most will be newer devices within one to two years old.

Mr. Yogasingam spoke at Mobile Mondays, a monthly initiative hosted by serial entrepreneur Rob Woodbridge and Macadamian CEO Fred Boulanger for Ottawa's mobile community.

Organizations: Apple, Microsoft

Geographic location: Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Chris
    June 21, 2012 - 09:17

    A very flawed argument and prediction. These diferent products are used in different situation and there is space for more than just cell phones in the market.

  • HectorF
    June 20, 2012 - 18:25

    @SteveB - you do realize that the Tegra 3 processor and associated graphics core is as strong, if not stronger when optimized, than those found in current gaming consoles. Yogasingam stated what Sony Entertainment's own CEO stated about the future of gaming, that it will be mobile-based. All the trends point in that directions. Maybe if you stopped playing videogames and read the news, you would know that.

  • Richard
    June 20, 2012 - 08:29

    This article, and Mr Yogasingam fail to mention the average age range of the individual who uses a home game console versus a handheld device, or the benefits which are not met through gaming on a mobile device. A better argument could have been made for cell phones to replace handheld gaming devices, not gaming consoles as claimed in the title of the article.

  • SteveB
    June 19, 2012 - 21:36

    Wrong... Cell phones won't replace gaming consoles. Yes, angry birds is apparently fun and addictive on a phone. So what. TV has not caught on on cell phones. It is a marginal experience on tablets (ok for in bed). For games with immersive environments a 4 or 10 inch screen won't cut it. The graphics processing required to render the game content is 5-10 years away on a phone, and watching your game play on a 4 inch screen is nowhere near the experience of a 50 inch... Does Yogasingam even play video games, or is he too busy analyzing new trends.