Mark Long, CEO of Hawken publisher Meteor Entertainment, lets us in on where the next generation will take us.
2013 is a massive year for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Each console manufacturer will be doing all they can to secure that dusty space underneath your TV, so that they can attempt to own every aspect of your living room including not only games but all manner of different entertainment offerings including movies, music and anything else they can stream to their magical box.
However according to Mark Long, CEO of Hawken publisher Meteor Entertainment, ‘The Big Three’ have another competitor that they really should keep a close eye on; tablets.
“The tablet is going to give the console manufacturers a run for their money,” prophesied Mr Long.
“I think you’re going to see the evolution of what I call ‘Super Tablets’ faster than what people are predicting. It just makes a ton of sense that a tablet will turn into your console. They’ll get powerful enough that you’ll be able play games like Hawken natively; all you’ll need is a wireless controller and a HDMI cable or wireless HDMI.”
The technology in top-end tablets has improved substantially over the past year, with Real Racing 3 and Epic’s own Unreal 3 Engine proving that a slim Tegra 3-powered handheld can in fact supply visuals which hold up to the likes of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Mr Long believes this technological advancement will increase even further in the very near future.
“You start carrying these tablets around and then because everything is on the cloud anyway it doesn’t matter how much memory you have, so it’s really just about the processor which manufacturers continually ‘rev’ at a 6-9 month cycle. With the steps and functions they’re on now, the hardware [tablet] gets twice or more as powerful each time, so you’ll surpass console capabilities in one more chip ‘rev’. Then there’s the issue of how do you get over that competitive edge where people really love that tablet form factor?”
It’s worth noting that the big ‘triple-A’ releases commonly found on consoles are much harder to come by when it comes to iTunes or Google Play store, but with technology becoming more powerful and architecture becoming increasingly shared between PC and tablets it’s not difficult to see what Meteor Entertainment’s CEO is alluding to.
A monumental shift in how and where we play games is already here and it’s only set to diversify even more. Meteor Entertainment was one of the first publishers to commit to the open crowd-funded console OUYA as a viable platform and Mark himself talked to us about the problem of platform holders’ licensing fees “taking 30% for no good reason.” That’s a factor that isn’t the case with Andriod-powered OUYA and PC development platforms.
With Nintendo adopting tablet functionality for the WiiU and both Sony and Microsoft exploring additional screen functionality with Vita and SmartGlass respectively, what’s obvious is that Mark Long isn’t alone in his thinking that tablets are going to have a massive part to play in the evolution of the next console generation.
Will console and tablet cross communication become an integral part of a multi-platform future or will the latter technology wipe out the former? At the moment the answer to that question is difficult to answer, but with Microsoft and Sony still stalling regarding their plans for the next set of consoles and the plentiful anecdotal evidence that the WiiU isn’t perhaps stimulating the kind of demand that Nintendo anticipated, it’s easy to see why Long is placing his faith in the evolution of PC and tablet technology.
That said, Long also explained that Meteor Entertainment are aiming to get the free-to-play mech combat game from Adhesive on as many platforms as possible, and that at least two console manufacturers “would like to see Hawken on their platform,” so don’t take Mark’s comments as confirmation that Hawken will never appear on a Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony platform.
What do you think about all this? Can you forsee the tablet overtaking consoles as your number one place to play games, or do you think consoles will always have a place in modern gaming culture?
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