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Jurassic 5 at the Commodore Ballroom

June 23 2017. Jessica Vandergulik photos.

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Have next-generation consoles helped the gaming industry?

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Gaming industry confronts change

– in collaboration with James Duggan

Video gaming has longed remained a hugely popular source of entertainment for millions of people of all ages and genders across the world who thrive on the opportunity to immerse themselves in a virtual world where the capabilities are seemingly endless. The industry has been wonderfully supported by console and PC formats that provide a plethora of games across numerous genres to ensure there is always something for everyone. From puzzles and shooters to brain challenges and MMO titles, every game is supported by the latest technology that not only continues to bridge the gap between reality and the virtual world, but also puts gamers at the heart of the action.

Although the market duopoly may well face strong competition in the form of mobile gaming, which continues to go from strength to strength, consoles are only just beginning to catch up to PC in the battle for industry dominance. The PC market remains huge for gamers who love big-scale titles that present the very best graphics, animations and game physics, with MMOs and online casino games – which can also be enjoyed via mobile on the latest devices – but the XBox One and PlayStation 4 have combined to claw back the deficit between themselves and desktop computers.

The console wars

Sony and Microsoft have been the leading lights of the console market for a number of years, but their next-generation systems have taken gaming to a whole new level. Faster processing speeds, sharper graphics and the ability to implement realistic body and facial movements via animation capture technology should see the introduction of the very best games ever to hit the market. The recent E3 conference showcased the many wonderful titles that are set to be released over the next twelve months, with mouth-watering games such as Fallout 4, Halo 5 and Forza Motorsport 6 pointing towards a bright future for console gaming.

The console wars appear to show no sign of stopping as both companies battle for market supremacy, and while the balance of power has swung both ways over the years, the PlayStation 4 remains the leading game console in the current generation of devices. On March 1, Sony announced that they had sold 20.2 million units worldwide, while their competitors have chosen not to divulge sales data since November 2014 when they recorded 10 million XBox One units sold. Sony gained the initiative through a strong library of games and, more importantly a unit price that was considerably cheaper than the XBox One, but there is a strong indication that both consoles present the future of gaming through next-generation capabilities that will take the market to a whole new level.

Will next-gen overhaul PC gaming?

Console gaming may receive considerable media attention, particularly in the aftermath of the E3 conference where prestigious developers showcased upcoming blockbusters to hit the XBox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, but it is questionable whether the latter will ever be usurped by either Sony or Microsoft. The substantial volume of games across every genre and the ability to provide the most powerful titles, in terms of graphics, visual detail and number of players (Battlefield 4, for example, caters for 64-player matches on PC, while consoles can only manage 32) are the standout reasons the market is substantially bigger. PC units will always have the advantage of being at the forefront of technological capabilities in the gaming industry; their overall design and specification requirements will always produce more power, faster loading speeds and better graphics than any console that remains one step behind in terms of what it can deliver. The XBox One and PlayStation 4 are certainly game-changers that point towards a wonderfully bright future for console gaming, but they may always remain in the shadow of the PC market that continues to go from strength to strength.

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