Years after predicted “death,” game consoles are doing better than ever

Enlarge / We will admit, new sales for the consoles shown here did not do very well in 2017

It's a bit hard to remember now, but we're only four or five years out from widespread and confident predictions that the game console market was effectively dead or dying. In 2012, Wired cited mobile disruption and "the whole box-model mentality" in declaring the death of the console. Around the same time, CNN cited a "four-year tailspin" in sales for dedicated consoles (which, coincidentally, started right around the same time as the global financial crisis) to explain "why console gaming was dying."

And IGN, in its own 2012 look at the fate of the console market, offered a bold prediction for the fate of the PS4 months before it was even officially announced: "A better-graphics box at $400? Not going to work."

Today, those and many other relatively recent predictions of doom for the console market look downright silly. The industry analysts at NPD announced last night that the US video game market grew 11 percent in 2017 to $3.3 billion. The reason? "Video game hardware [meaning consoles] was the primary driver of overall growth," as hardware was up 27 percent for the year, to $1.27 billion.

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