Tablets Will Be 'Quicker, Easier and More Powerful'
Driver co-creators Martin and Gareth Edmondson believe that the next console generation will probably be the last, as tablets and smartphones overtake the PS4 and Xbox 720 in terms of practicality, convenience and horsepower. To combat this, Microsoft and Sony will have to "come up with some new innovations."
Speaking to me as part of a wider interview at a recent Thumbstar showcase (in my capacity as Mobot.net staff writer) the two brothers outlined the problems facing console manufactuers at the moment, the main issue being how quickly tablets can improve and iterate while consoles are locked in their hardware cycles. Martin Edmondson reckons that Sony and Microsoft "can't react" to embrace improving hardware while still providing backwards compatibility.
"The problem for the likes of Sony and Microsoft and anybody else doing a console… there are a lot of problems… but one of the issues is that [mobile handsets and tablets] are developing so rapidly. The iPad 2 was so much more powerful than the iPad 1. The iPhone 4S compared to iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 compared to the 3GS. The situation I can see is the PlayStation 4 (to pick one of them) coming out and two years into its lifespan, the iPad 6 or 7 comes out and it’s already twice as powerful as the PS4. I’m talking generally, we’re talking about a couple of years’ time or so."
"So this thing sits on your coffee table. You use it at work, come home, put it on your table. You get your Bluetooth controller if you’re a hardcore player, you airplay it to your television at 1080P over Wi-Fi and you’ve got something which is quicker, easier and probably more powerful than a PlayStation 4 but with a massive install base. PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo can’t react as quickly as [Apple and other tablet manufacturers] in terms of boosting performance while retaining elements of backwards compatibility."
Gareth Edmondson also believes that tablet practicality will be a major selling point that further outpaces the slower-developing consoles - forcing the likes of Sony and Microsoft to innovate with more than just faster processors.
"Of course, the other great thing is that you’ll be able to play games on your TV, put down the controller, pick it up and play it on the train on the way to work. All of a sudden it’s always with you. But console manufacturers have to come up with some new innovations beyond just horsepower, connectivity, motion sensing and all that stuff. They’ve got to come up with something else in order to survive."
It's not all doom and gloom for consoles, though - and we shouldn't count out Microsoft and Sony just yet.
"It could be [the last generation of consoles]," Gareth told me, "but you shouldn’t underestimate how inventive companies like Sony and Microsoft can be. We don’t know what they’re doing."
"Well, Microsoft has just launched their new tablet, so who knows. Maybe they’re doing the 720 and then focusing all their efforts on this," Martin chimed in.
After developing the Driver series, Martin and Gareth Edmondson set up mobile publisher/developer Thumbstar in 2008, which is set to become a major global player thanks to a massive distribution network and an exclusive Chinese distribution deal. You can read the full interview later today over on Mobot.net.