‘Handheld games consoles are doomed’

Gamesbrief analyst Nicholas Lovell believes dedicated handhelds are doomed and that PlayStation Home is the games sector’s ‘unsung hero’ in an entertaining and at times controversial speech at London Games Conference.

In his talk he attempted to persuade the audience which company’s were going to survive the digital transition (or heroes) and which ones wouldn’t (zeros).

He persuaded 82 per cent of attendees that handheld consoles are doomed. He believes dedicated handhelds cannot compete smartphones, and that it only takes a small number of users to stop buying dedicated portables to kill the sector.
If you are about to launch PlayStation Vita, that’s quite scary,” he said.

But he wasn’t totally down on PlayStation, and believes free-to-play games on PS Home makes it a potential goldmine for the platform holder.

But the audience was not convinced, with 59 per cent of attendees believe Home won’t survive the transition.

Right now it is unloved and frankly laughed at,” said Lovell.They’ve just launched a free-to-play FPS in Home. It will be big for the Free-to-play market.”

Lovell also believes Zynga is a zero. He says the company needs to drastically improve its ‘cynical marketing’, where it keeps moving customers to other games until they start spending money. It was an argument that convinced the gaming audience.

Other zeros named by Lovell included subscription MMOs, which he believes is just too risky unless you can match Warcraft numbers. I don’t think we will see anymore subscription MMOs after The Old Republic,” he said.

He also believes THQ is a zero. He says the big is getting bigger and doesn’t see THQ as having the right brands to compete with the bug guns.

In terms of heroes, Lovell named Gaikai’s business mode ‘better than OnLive’s’ and called Amazon a hero because of Kindle, which 95 per cent of the audience agreed with.

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