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Did the Console Market actually contract this gen?

DanielsM

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Switch is already past 30 million (34.75 last reported). I seriously doubt Xbox One is close to 50 million.

The console industry has not stumbled. Xbox has stumbled.
Say 45-46m, give or take. I wouldn't say Xbox has stumbled at this point, writing itself out of the story... maybe there is a new story they can write?

I would say, if we count gens (there really is no such thing) and include Switch, PS4, Xbone.... probably between 250-290m units lifetime, similar to ps3,x360, and wii. I expect xbone to continue to lose marketshare and drastic chop of market share next cycle. Sony should continue to steadily gain market share.
 
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Jigsaah

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i think Wii was a complete anomaly on one hand, but also explains the OP's theory.

The Wii was a phenomenon that reached beyond the hardcore and even the casual market. My dad, who is 69...had a Wii. My grandmother had a Wii. If this is indicative of the larger scene, the Wii brought people into gaming that had previously not had any interest or experience with gaming, or may have only became gamers for the first time with the Wii. What we are seeing is the failure of Nintendo to retain these new customers. The Wii U was released too soon after to try and keep the Wii's momentum going but by that time the honeymoon period was long passed for these less-than-casual gamers.

In short, to answer your question, no the console market isn't shrinking. It has corrected itself much like a stock market correction. My Dad would have never became a casual or hardcore gamer...my grandma wouldn't have either.

The Math as OP puts it goes as follows

Sony PS3 + Xbox 360 sales = ~160 million
Xbox One + PS4 = ~ 150 million with a greater advantage for Sony, obviously.

With a year left in the gen plus whatever trickles in after next gen starts...this is pretty much par for the course.

Nintendo is the stand out here.
 
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bobone

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I agree 100% that its a retraction in the sales from Nintendo. The amount of gamers is unlikely to have changed much at all.

If you own a PC there is very little reason to own consoles, and almost no reason to own multiple.
Microsoft has already confirmed that you don't need an Xbox if you have a PC. And Sony exclusives are fine at best.

ALL the big games worth playing are on PC, and run significantly better. There is a large tech gap at the moment, especially with the new Nvidia 20 series, 144 HZ monitors, 4k, etc.
 

Danjin44

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I agree 100% that its a retraction in the sales from Nintendo. The amount of gamers is unlikely to have changed much at all.

If you own a PC there is very little reason to own consoles, and almost no reason to own multiple.
Microsoft has already confirmed that you don't need an Xbox if you have a PC. And Sony exclusives are fine at best.

ALL the big games worth playing are on PC, and run significantly better. There is a large tech gap at the moment, especially with the new Nvidia 20 series, 144 HZ monitors, 4k, etc.
Speak for yourself, This year bunch of upcoming games I'm extremely hype for that not gonna be on PC and almost none Atlus games like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona ever comes out on PC. If you are not interested in those games then thats your preference but the reason I chose PS4 and Switch over PC because there is still lots of games I personally love that PC doesn't get.
 
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Also remember that blue ocean was before iPhones existed, and the casual mobile market became the norm for the casual gamer.

The over gaming market has undeniably grown since last gen, it's just separated out into 3 distinct markets, as mobile joined Console and PC gaming.
Indeed! Although it tends to shift depending on demographics.

Mobile will grow but I don't think it will make up most of the sales.
 

iconmasterX

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1) Considering only two generations will skew things. What if the previous generation was an abnormal spike but the overall trendline is still on the way up?

2) Console unit sales is one metric, but there are others. Revenue, for example.
 

Klayzer

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Speak for yourself, This year bunch of upcoming games I'm extremely hype for that not gonna be on PC and almost none Atlus games like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona ever comes out on PC. If you are not interested in those games then thats your preference but the reason I chose PS4 and Switch over PC because there is still lots of games I personally love that PC doesn't get.
I don't understand why some PC gamers always want to downplay what consoles bring to the table. Yeah, a lot of games are getting PC releases, but there are still many that you can only get on consoles.
 
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Danjin44

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I don't understand why some PC gamers always want to downplay what consoles bring to the table. Yeah, a lot of games are getting PC releases, but there are still many that you can only get on consoles.
I don't care if those people only care about PC, thats their taste but I hate this mind set if they personally don't like consoles games then others shouldn't either.
 
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Klayzer

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I don't care if those people only care about PC, thats their taste but I hate this mind set if they personally don't like consoles games then others shouldn't either.
Totally. I'll take unique experiences tailored for a specific platform over 4k resolution bumps and added fps. I have no problem with gamers wanting all the bells and whistles that come with owning a gaming PC. I just wish they would lay off the "there's no reason to own a console rhetoric" that they love to interject in a lot of discussions.
 
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bobone

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Speak for yourself, This year bunch of upcoming games I'm extremely hype for that not gonna be on PC and almost none Atlus games like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona ever comes out on PC. If you are not interested in those games then thats your preference but the reason I chose PS4 and Switch over PC because there is still lots of games I personally love that PC doesn't get.
Fair point.

I think overall there is a VERY small amount of people that buy consoles only to play niche Japanese games.
And this generation has shown that even small series can be extremely successful putting their games on PC.

Ni No Kuni, Tales series, Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, From Soft games, have all been great for me on PC.

Next gen will most likely see even stronger Japanese support since consoles are getting closer and closer to PC architecture. And there are an infinite number of online storefronts to sell them on.
 

Danjin44

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Fair point.

I think overall there is a VERY small amount of people that buy consoles only to play niche Japanese games.
And this generation has shown that even small series can be extremely successful putting their games on PC.
We just recently got Fire Emblem Three Houses and selling pretty damn well, I wouldn’t exactly call that game “niche Japanese game” Again you might personally not care for console exclusive games but me and lot of others do and biggest reason we buy consoles in the first place.
 

vkbest

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Looking at all the media pieces before this gen started many of them had the same prediction, the console market would shrink or contract this gen and many people balked it off as fear mongering.

Now that we are closing out this gen, we can see actual sales numbers show that in hardware it might be the case.

Last gen we had Wii 120m + PS3 80m plus 360 80m. Totaling 280m consoles.

This gen with the most optimistic numbers (at this time) we have PS4 with 100m, XB1 with 50m and Switch with 30m. Making 180m

This leaves a 100m deficit in just consoles sold.

Is gaming going to grow further going forward or can we expect these kind of losses being the norm going forward?

Thankfully software sales have never been higher to offset these losses, but what can companies do to try to offset the changes in business going forward?
That gen last 7.5 years. Current gen is 5.5 years and switch releases 2 years ago
 

Leonidas

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From last gen, yes it contracted.

PS4+Vita would need miracle to match combined sales of PS3+PSP (~170m)
Xbox One would need miracle to match the sales of Xbox 360 (~85m)
Wii U+3DS didn't come close to the sales of Wii+NDS (~255m)

Over half a billion last gen consoles sold, this gen isn't even close.

Switch is a great start to next-gen consoles though so maybe next gen consoles might be on par or better sales wise as current gen if Sony and MS keep selling as many consoles as they did this gen.
 
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Klayzer

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Fair point.

I think overall there is a VERY small amount of people that buy consoles only to play niche Japanese games.
And this generation has shown that even small series can be extremely successful putting their games on PC.

Ni No Kuni, Tales series, Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, From Soft games, have all been great for me on PC.

Next gen will most likely see even stronger Japanese support since consoles are getting closer and closer to PC architecture. And there are an infinite number of online storefronts to sell them on.
Those series that you mentioned would not have been available for PC success, if it was for the dedicated console gamers that bought and made those "niche" game series popular. PC and console gamers actually need each other to keep their favorite 3rd party games profitable and relevant.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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All markets are driven by fighting over existing customers (red ocean) and courting new potential customers (blue ocean). Nintendo might've brought the blue ocean strategy to light in the gaming world, but it's not a controversial concept in the wider business world. When a product begins to be commThe idea is there's a wide ocean of new customers out there waiting to be tapped, but they often defy the conventions that apply to the existing customers. This requires the company to try unusual things, often "betraying" some or all of the conventional wisdom that is applied toward the red ocean. And this often earns the company laughter and confusion from competitors. In case people forgot or didn't know, Nintendo execs spoke openly about this strategy when they showed off the Wii.

I think we're seeing the same phenomenon with Switch, which is why Switch is selling so well despite it following another Nintendo decline (Wii U and 3DS). It serves a market of customers that aren't served by the other options. Maybe some customers will be retained. Maybe some won't. The very nature of the blue ocean is that you have to cater to them to keep them. I really do think Nintendo had the right idea with the Wii but they didn't fully realize it. Wii U was the wrong direction (obviously), but it tells us something interesting about the market.

How do you go from your highest-selling console and highest-selling handheld ever to your worst-selling console and worst-selling handheld in company history within one generation? I'm sure there are a lot of answers, but it's definitely a sign that Nintendo didn't really understand the Wii's success. In fact, it's a sign that Nintendo gravely misunderstood the Wii's success and confidently blundered into the opposite of whatever made the Wii + DS so successful.

The Switch is focusing on the gamers and how gamers like to play. They're focusing on building a huge library for gamers, because even though the hobbyists laugh at the port quality, lots of people are buying these games. I fully expect half of the launch features to be abandoned (like the IR sensor and nuanced use of 3D Rumble), but that's what happens on Nintendo hardware all the time. I wonder if Nintendo will go the wrong direction again just like they did a few years into the Wii's life.

Also, nicely put @Leonidas

The market is fighting over a lot of the same customers. Games are becoming commoditized by f2p and cheap smartphone games and monthly subscriptions and game passes. Consider that the global market has more access to customers and the economy is better in a lot of placed than it was back in 2008-2010, yet this gen couldn't manage to hang on to half of the ~500m platform purchases from last gen. Something is definitely up. Bigger market, better economy, but half of those purchases vanished?
 

Bryank75

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The generation isn’t over.... PS4 will be supported for up to 3 more years and could hit above 130m. It will probably be above 120m at least.

Wii was a freak sensation that fizzled out quickly at the end. N64 and GameCube sold 33 and 20 million respectively. Wii U hit 13.4m when all said and done.

I think we must remember that Switch is a hybrid and therefor Nintendo will cannibalize their own dedicated handheld sales eventually. But they may have not had much option.

People may see it differently but I see both Microsoft and Nintendo’s behavior as the equivalent of a strategic retreat from the home console market.
Xbox is now letting all their exclusives go to pc and focusing on services, they even recently said they would let double fine continue to publish on PlayStation.

I think each company has said... “let’s cut out a niche for ourselves” with Sony in the home console space, Nintendo with the hybrid / handheld space and Microsoft focusing more on services, middleware and publishing on multiple platforms.

I think we will see a Banjo game back on Nintendo eventually and I think we will see a lot of gamers have a PlayStation, a switch and Microsoft software or services purchases all in one generation where each company can maximize their specific strengths.
 

bobone

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Like Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Persona and Bloodborne, for example?
Yea "niche" can definitely be defined by the best selling series of all time (Mario ).

Bloodborne is 100% niche. It barely sold 2 million copies.
Niche doesn't mean non-profitable. It means it sells pennies compared to the big AAA yearly releases. Call of Duty just averaged $10 million PER MONTH in microtransactions this year.
Those are the real console sellers. Just cuz Gaf doesn't like the big mainstream games doesn't mean that they don't represent the vast majority of the market.
 
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Flintty

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Are you taking into account the extended length of last Gen? It went on forever - if this gen is shorter then of course not as many consoles will be sold.

In my view, it has been a cracking gen. PS4 has sold shit loads and despite its bad start and poor performance in comparison to PS4, Xbox hasn’t been too disappointing. U was a bit of a bomb but Switch is doing well. Certainly not the death of consoles as was being predicted before the gen started.
 
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Vawn

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Bloodborne is 100% niche. It barely sold 2 million copies.
Two million copies for a single game on one platform is niche?

And by "barely 2 million", you mean 3.11 million (as of last year)?


Gears 4 must be super niche at 2.66 million.


That number still hold when it's a PS+ game with over 11 million players?


Edit: The Gears example, was just an example, not a slight in Gears. There are tons of examples of games that have sold under 3 million, that no one seriously consider "niche".
 
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JohnnyFootball

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Totally. I'll take unique experiences tailored for a specific platform over 4k resolution bumps and added fps. I have no problem with gamers wanting all the bells and whistles that come with owning a gaming PC. I just wish they would lay off the "there's no reason to own a console rhetoric" that they love to interject in a lot of discussions.
As a 2080 Ti owner, I can certainly appreciate the benefits that PC provides, but I’m mostly a console gamer at heart. The main benefit a console provides is the convenience of putting in a disc and knowing that the game will work and be playable. PC gaming that isn’t always the case. For example, for about 4 months I could not get Assassins Creed Origins to start on my PC. It would start loading and then just hang. I researched the issue and it was finally suggested that the game needed to be installed on the main OS drive for whatever reason. That fixed the issue and now the game runs. Every other game I have installed on a separate drive dedicated to gaming, but AC:O needs to be on the main drive apparently. On a console you pretty much never have to worry about such a thing. PC gamers are mostly experienced PC users who have been PC gaming for many years and understand the nuances of things like driver updates and tweaking. Now I am not trying to say that PC gaming is overly difficult and most of the time a casual can get a game up and running without too much difficulty, but when things don’t work like they should it’s often orders of magnitude more difficult to troubleshoot a PC than a console.
 
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bobone

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Two million copies for a single game on one platform is niche?
You're completely missing my point, and reinforcing it at the same time.

GTA 5 has made $6 billion so far selling 90+ million copies
Black Ops 4 made $500 million during its launch weekend. Thats 3 days!
Black Ops 2 made $500 million in its first 24 HOURS. And $1 BILLION in its first 15 days.
FIFA 19 sold over 4 million copies its first week this year.
Madden 19 just put the series over 100 million total copies sold.

Remember, Battlefield "bombed" selling over 7 million copies.

I love the games you mentioned. But they are a tiny portion of the market overall. Take away any of these smaller series and the industry doesn't even notice.
 

FStubbs

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Wii U
3DS
PS4
Vita
Xbox One

PS4 is the only one that sold more than the previous. Every single other one on the list had a huge dropoff from the previous gen.
 

Klayzer

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You're completely missing my point, and reinforcing it at the same time.

GTA 5 has made $6 billion so far selling 90+ million copies
Black Ops 4 made $500 million during its launch weekend. Thats 3 days!
Black Ops 2 made $500 million in its first 24 HOURS. And $1 BILLION in its first 15 days.
FIFA 19 sold over 4 million copies its first week this year.
Madden 19 just put the series over 100 million total copies sold.

Remember, Battlefield "bombed" selling over 7 million copies.

I love the games you mentioned. But they are a tiny portion of the market overall. Take away any of these smaller series and the industry doesn't even notice.
By that logic, everything not selling as well as those titles is niche. And of course we know that's not accurate. Any release that sell millions of copies is not niche, period. A niche release is a title that sells less than 50 thousand units imo.
 
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Also, I know most people here won't dignify mobile games as real gamers but I believe a large part of the 'casual distraction' crowd will end up exclusively playing on mobile devices. This should be taken into account. In my opinion (and I have no facts or data to back it up) as Smartphones continue to get more and more powerful I believe the number of people playing games around the world is getting larger and larger every year it's just Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are getting less of the overall pie.
 
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FStubbs

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Also, I know most people here won't dignify mobile games as real gamers but I believe a large part of the 'casual distraction' crowd will end up exclusively playing on mobile devices. This should be taken into account. In my opinion (and I have no facts or data to back it up) as Smartphones continue to get more and more powerful I believe the number of people playing games around the world is getting larger and larger every year it's just Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are getting less of the overall pie.
I disagree. Smartphones have been around now for over a decade. If they were going to gore consoles they would've done it by now. They have their market and consoles have their market.
 

V4skunk

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I'm sure the overall market is increasing
Yea "niche" can definitely be defined by the best selling series of all time (Mario ).

Bloodborne is 100% niche. It barely sold 2 million copies.
Niche doesn't mean non-profitable. It means it sells pennies compared to the big AAA yearly releases. Call of Duty just averaged $10 million PER MONTH in microtransactions this year.
Those are the real console sellers. Just cuz Gaf doesn't like the big mainstream games doesn't mean that they don't represent the vast majority of the market.
Bloodborne actually sold very well considering that Sekiro sold 2 million on PC alone.
 
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Aintitcool

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JordanN

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Shouldn't we look at number of software sold as a better indication of the market?

Remember that the Xbox 360 last gen had the RROD failure, so it may have prompted people to buy 2 or more consoles.
 

Otterz4Life

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Shouldn't we look at number of software sold as a better indication of the market?

Remember that the Xbox 360 last gen had the RROD failure, so it may have prompted people to buy 2 or more consoles.
Didn’t MS replace a lot of those?
 

Otterz4Life

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Two million copies for a single game on one platform is niche?

And by "barely 2 million", you mean 3.11 million (as of last year)?


Gears 4 must be super niche at 2.66 million.


That number still hold when it's a PS+ game with over 11 million players?


Edit: The Gears example, was just an example, not a slight in Gears. There are tons of examples of games that have sold under 3 million, that no one seriously consider "niche".
Gears sold 2.66 million....just in 2016. It’s probably double that by now.

 

Dane

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There are few things to consider

1) Most of the WII units sold were bought by casual players that moved to mobile, that's why WiiU failed by attempting to cater them, and the marketing partly didn't help much.

2) in the 128 bit generation, the home consoles combined sold roughly 208 million units, considering that except for the PS2, the rest was discontinued from 2006 and backwards (right when the new gen happened), it was around 180 million at that point.

3) The return of PC Gaming had also its share, people who used to be PC gamers and had quit because lots of titles were not comiing to the platform (Remember PC Gaming is dead?) returned now, there are last gen multiplatforms that were even released there years later, and a bonus, console exclusives from Playstation and Xbox arrived too.
 

SKY EYES

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PC gaming has/is becoming more and more viable. Start of last gen a shit ton of the world didn't even have PC's. Consoles will continue to dwindle as time goes by IMO. (Don't hang me, I'm a console only gamer myself)
 

Otterz4Life

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PC gaming is easier than ever to get into. Mobile games have taken a large share of the pie, too.
 

McRazzle

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All markets are driven by fighting over existing customers (red ocean) and courting new potential customers (blue ocean). Nintendo might've brought the blue ocean strategy to light in the gaming world, but it's not a controversial concept in the wider business world. When a product begins to be commThe idea is there's a wide ocean of new customers out there waiting to be tapped, but they often defy the conventions that apply to the existing customers. This requires the company to try unusual things, often "betraying" some or all of the conventional wisdom that is applied toward the red ocean. And this often earns the company laughter and confusion from competitors. In case people forgot or didn't know, Nintendo execs spoke openly about this strategy when they showed off the Wii.

I think we're seeing the same phenomenon with Switch, which is why Switch is selling so well despite it following another Nintendo decline (Wii U and 3DS). It serves a market of customers that aren't served by the other options. Maybe some customers will be retained. Maybe some won't. The very nature of the blue ocean is that you have to cater to them to keep them. I really do think Nintendo had the right idea with the Wii but they didn't fully realize it. Wii U was the wrong direction (obviously), but it tells us something interesting about the market.

How do you go from your highest-selling console and highest-selling handheld ever to your worst-selling console and worst-selling handheld in company history within one generation? I'm sure there are a lot of answers, but it's definitely a sign that Nintendo didn't really understand the Wii's success. In fact, it's a sign that Nintendo gravely misunderstood the Wii's success and confidently blundered into the opposite of whatever made the Wii + DS so successful.
The blue ocean concept is just stupid when it comes to a mass market entertainment product, you have to get the masses to buy your product, therefore you have to give the masses what they want. If you can do blue ocean on top of that, that's great, but you have to have that foundation.
The primary reason the Wii sold so well was the PS3 was way too expensive and Xbox 360 was expensive and had quality control issues; in fact one of the reasons the Wii sold so well was that it was the most powerful console on the market that people could afford. As soon as Sony got the price down for PS3, the Wii sales fell off a cliff.

Not only did Nintendo not understand the success of the Wii, the scary thing is they still don't and think they can recreate it.
And I don't agree the Switch has been selling well, they missed their sales targets for the last fiscal year and they missed their earnings forecast in the last quarter. The Switch is primarily only selling with established Nintendo fans and that's ultimately a dead end.

The problem I see with the market contracting is nobody is making exclusive games for all audiences. Sony and Microsoft are producing games generally for 16-30 year old males and Nintendo is producing games for families/kids and long-time Nintendo fans. None of the platform holders are producing a steady stream of exclusives that includes all genres and niches.
 

Aintitcool

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Gears sold 2.66 million....just in 2016. It’s probably double that by now.

Well historically games make their most sales first month and first year. So don't put your hopes up that this happened to gears. Though times have changed and it is on gamepass.
 
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I disagree. Smartphones have been around now for over a decade. If they were going to gore consoles they would've done it by now. They have their market and consoles have their market.
I don’t think most people realise how much the Wii actually shook things up. The Wii cut into a chunk of the overlap into the mobile market. The wii doesn’t really fit as a regular console sales and that to me is exactly where this perceived shortfall comes from.

Smartphones have been around for over a decade yes and they’ve lived through two console generations the Wii was pulling people who might only play on smartphones and then ps4, Xbox and switch didn’t continue providing those people with experiences they wanted so they went back to their smartphones. There is no barrier breaker like the wii this gen.
 

FStubbs

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I don’t think most people realise how much the Wii actually shook things up. The Wii cut into a chunk of the overlap into the mobile market. The wii doesn’t really fit as a regular console sales and that to me is exactly where this perceived shortfall comes from.

Smartphones have been around for over a decade yes and they’ve lived through two console generations the Wii was pulling people who might only play on smartphones and then ps4, Xbox and switch didn’t continue providing those people with experiences they wanted so they went back to their smartphones. There is no barrier breaker like the wii this gen.
I think some Wii gamers ended on on smartphones, but not as many as you think - as the games and experiences offered by both were/are radically different. The thing that the Wii really brought - more so than motion controls and "simple" games - was local multiplayer. Smartphones don't have that experience. To your point, we haven't had a truly multiplayer focused console like the Wii since the Wii, though I think the Switch has picked up the slack a little.
 

Kamfair55

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Games suck now it's about everything but fun and innovation the game industry including media has completely become anti consumer
 

Danjin44

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Games suck now it's about everything but fun and innovation the game industry including media has completely become anti consumer
I'm mostly playing single player games and Japanese games and I was able for most part avoid shitty side of gaming. I personally enjoyed lots of games this gen.
 
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EDMIX

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Based on your numbers, and their timeframe. I think it’s safe to say the market contracted and didn’t expand.

This gen will end with less sales then the gen before them, and barely pass the gen before that.

That is not good.
??? Well you are factoring a base of consumers that are not really even console gamers normally with the Wii...sooooo its hard to say we lost something that I'd say we never really had. 100 Million Wii gamers....Wii U very much showed just how much of those Wii "gamers" actually kept playing games, thus nothing is "not good" as those people just went to a different market with iphone, facebook etc. Nothing Nintendo could have done to change that bud.

Non-factor. We lost something that was never even solid, established, healthy etc. Thats like claiming we "expanded" as gen with Wii NUMBERS LOL

Really? With who? Where are they now? How can we "expand" when those people didn't stick around even for that gen? So the market is more then fine right now, the numbers are solid for many companies and this is a more healthy install base for everyone.
 
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Klayzer

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I'm mostly playing single player games and Japanese games and I was able for most part avoid shitty side of gaming. I personally enjoyed lots of games this gen.
Ditto. If you enjoy single player games and Japanese style games, this gen has been awesome with the Switch/PS4 combo. Too many games, not enough time has been my experience.
 
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Kamfair55

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I'm mostly playing single player games and Japanese games and I was able for most part avoid shitty side of gaming. I personally enjoyed lots of games this gen.
For me personally I feel like a lot of devs have lost their creativity i no longer get that sense of wonder I used to have playing games its just going through the motions
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Nintendo slumped the market.

Last gen (approx #'s):

Wii 100M
Wii U 13M
PS3 85M
360 85M
Total about 280M

Current gen:

Switch ~35M
PS4 ~100M
Xbox One ~45M
Total about 180M

Difference from last gen:

Nintendo systems -78M
Sony +15M
MS -40M

And if you include dedicated handhelds, Nintendo sunk the market even more. Last gen, DS and 3DS sales were 100M+. This gen since Nintendo went with a hybrid system, there's no dedicated handheld sales.