Zachary Palmer, eSports club member, said that with recent developments in the video game industry, there is a chance that one of his biggest passions could take a turn for the worse.

“We could lose gaming as we know it,” said Palmer, a computer science engineering junior.

On June 28, Google revealed that it has been working on a gaming console that would run Android-based games, according to a CNN article. This news came along with rumors of Apple adding gaming functionality to AppleTV, as well the new release of the OUYA system, a $99 Kickstarter-funded console that plays Android-based games.

With all of these competing new releases and the next generation game systems already on the market or planned for later this year, including the Wii U, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Palmer said there is a possibility of a severe hit to the market, similar to the gaming crash of 1983.

The crash crippled the gaming industry for two years and was caused by poor quality video games and an overabundance of consoles on the market. About 12 systems were released around 1983, compared to the 10 systems that have been released since 2012 or will release by the end of the year. This does not include the different models of current handheld devices, including the Nintendo 3DS XL or PSP Go, or game developer Valve’s yet-to-be-unveiled Steam Box. After the gaming crash of 1983, the market recovered with the North American release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985.

“One big reason for the crash was that people were shifting to a superior product,” assistant marketing professor Ritesh Saini said.

Saini said the superior product was the home personal computer, which began to reach a wider audience 1977, and had a larger memory and better graphics.

Saini said recent additions to the console market wouldn’t cause a crash like to the one in 1983, Saini said.

“The ‘83 to ‘85 crash was precipitated by a few games failing. There was huge marketing expenses and costs invested behind these games. It is my impression that, given the size of the industry today, such big bets on games are rare,” Saini said.

Palmer said the game industry is similar to politics in that the more people giving opinions, the more divided people will be, and no one will end up right. When console choices increase, people will be pulled in multiple directions.

“We need more developers and not more hardware people,” Palmer said.

Palmer has been gaming his whole life, and he worries for the industry’s future.

“I worry about how long it will last,” Palmer said.


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