Hirokazu Hamamura is doubtlessly an expert on the ins and outs of the video game industry as the former Editor in Chief of the massively popular gaming magazine Famitsu and now President of Enterbrain (that also does in-depth market analysis) and Director of the whole Kadokawa Group.
A few days ago Hamamura-san held a lecture titled “Fall 2013: Present and Future of the Game Industry” to an audience of journalists and industry analysts (The full lecture was reported by Famitsu.com). During the conference he made some interesting statements on how the next generation of consoles will change the rules of the market, also outlining the advantages of each platform and his prediction on how the competition will go.
Hamamura-san mentioned that a feature of the next generation consoles is that most titles will be multiplatform, due to a change on how they’re developed. Since both PS4 and Xbox One have a PC-based architecture it’s easy to develop for both. Looking at the current line-up he has no doubt that in the future multiplatform titles will increase significantly.
Furthermore, instead of focusing on developing for a single platform, developers often work on optimizing games to release them on old generation machines as well, and even on smartphones and tablets. We’re no longer in the era of “If you want to play this game, this platform is necessary”. In other words, despite the release of the next generation of consoles, software supply won’t be cut off on PS3 and Xbox 360, that will be positioned as the low-cost version of the PS4 and Xbox One.
This change in architecture has also led to an increase of indie games. Due to the fact that major developers have been focusing on sequels, making their titles fairly static, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have been focusing on attracting innovative indie developers.
Comparing the Xbox One and the PS4, at the moment launch titles are a draw (Sony has the advantage in attracting the development of indie games). The PS4 is also is in the lead for the price of the console and online services due to having more offered for free. Xbox One has excellent exclusives like Titanfall that could become a “killer title”.
Due to that and looking at the situation of the industry Hamamura-san believes that PS4 will start in the lead, but Xbox One is likely to catch up 2-3 years down the line.
What do you think? Do you agree with Hirokazu Hamamura’s analysis and predictions? One thing is for sure: his experience in the industry isn’t to be taken lightly, and as President of Enterbrain he has access to mind boggling amounts of data. We’ll have to see is he nailed this one a couple years from now.