Making Fun CEO John Welch and CTO Lee Crawford both believe that Apple will be getting into TVs very soon. Between that and the new Google TV, they think that the traditional console model will be destroyed.
Still, quantity is not a blessing in and off itself admits Welch: ”Nobody needs that either. You want some curation. Apple’s tried to get better at that over the years, and Facebook makes too much money on ads to care about it. Ultimately nobody needs millions of games competing for user’s attention and time. What we do need is millions of developers out there having the opportunity to succeed. That’s what’s cool.”
When asked if consoles could open up, Crawford responded, “I don’t think they’re going to open up their platform because they want to maintain a quality bar on those consoles, and I don’t think they’re going to partner with the conventional social networks.”
“They’ve got a massive innovator’s dilemma,” added Welch. “They’re going to destroy value if they keep up with the times; they’re hampered by their success. Embracing the models that are necessary and that will happen with other companies, would destroy a lot of the value that they already have built. Microsoft and Sony can keep optimizing their console experience, but its going to be a smaller and smaller piece of the overall entertainment pie.”
“The reason you had to hot-rod in the form of a console is because you needed the CPU capacity co-located with the television set to get high-quality graphics. That’s not the case any more,” explained Crawford. “An iPad graphics processor will give you Wii quality graphics. You can use services like OnLive or Gaikai or any cloud-based service to stream even higher fidelity experiences than you can produce locally. I think that’s going to result in a bifurcation of content from the hardware. It’s going to neuter the ability of the console manufacturers to stay the course with the business models they currently employ. I can enjoy a very high end graphic experience on a very low-end television set today if I have the network.”
“I don’t care about the Call of Duty market,” added Welch. “Let Activision and Sony have all the fun they want to have making Call of Duty and putting it on a console. What about tower defense games and card games and the stuff that’s generating billions of dollars online today that’s not on the television set Those consumers watch TV, they have TVs, they want to play games, clearly. So I’m happy to start with the “lower end” that’s still beautiful and rich that may not be as taxing of a CPU and a GPU, but it’s still beautiful and rich and it’s social. There’s a lot of room for innovation for with what’s there today and what will be there tomorrow.”
“What I’d like to see happen, and I think it will happen sooner or later, is that the console ceases to become the defining characteristic of the ecosystem,” concluded Welch.