In a financial report, GameStop—a leading video game retailer—stated that mobile gaming and online gaming are both threats to the video game market. This means that console and handheld gaming are facing threats from the mobile and online mediums. One of the reasons for this is that gaming as a whole is constantly evolving. At every annual expo and tradeshow, there is some new software or piece of hardware. Whether these pieces of new gaming tech are good or bad isn’t the question, the main here is that something of note is released every year and usually there is at least one potential game changer.
Three game changers within the gaming universe are online, browser, and mobile gaming—no matter how much gamers would like to say the two don’t exist within said universe. At one time mobile gaming was mainly the likes of word games, puzzle games, gem matches, block breakers, and from the online and browser end Facebook titles that ride on micro transactions and flash games. This trio caters largely to the casual players mostly who for the most part play on the go, don’t care to sit down in front of a TV or PC for hours going through immersive gameplay, or enjoy playing with friends and family in a non-hyper violent environment.
That’s not to say that mobile gaming doesn’t cater to your old school gamers and hardcore gamers, there have been some impressive titles released for mobile devices and tablets and some players can be pretty hardcore about playing the browser MMORPG Runescape—which a lot of newer streamers to Twitch.TV use as the base of their initial streams.
GameStop seems worried since these kinds of games can be played through devices other than consoles and handhelds–even though some browser titles could be played through the console’s web browser. What this results in is little need to purchase a $400 or $500 and up console, a $200 or $250 and up handheld, or a hoss of a gaming PC. You could ideally play these titles on a paperweight PC or your smartphone. The video game retailer has stated that it will either need to counter this or find a way to integrate into this growing frontier of gaming and that it is taking steps to do so.
Will GameStop bounce back from an almost $270M loss from 2012? It’s very possible if gamers flock to GameStop to get the upcoming PS4 and Xbox consoles and if Wii U’s sales spike within this year.