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Angry Birds exec: RIP console gaming

Mobile 'killing off traditional console gaming'

Angry Birds and other mobile phone games are putting traditional console gaming out to pasture, says Rovio's provocative marketing lead.

Peter Vesterbacka took aim at console heavyweights Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo during a panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Texas, arguing that console games are "dying" as a result of the advent of massively mobile gaming.

He means Angry Birds, of course, the little physics-based bird-slinger that just passed 100 million downloads. Developer Rovio recently secured $42m (£26m) in investment capital, too.

Vesterbacka's main beef? Console games simply cost too much: anywhere from £30 to £50 a pop (and up to as much as half the price of a new console, if you're into the 'limited edition' scene). Contrast with the price of a movie, a book, or yep, the comparably fractional price of most mobile games.

Angry Birds sells for just 59p, and cost Rovio virtually nothing - around $140,000 (£87,000) - to make, with a return of around $70m to date. Compare with Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV, which sold for £30 at launch, and cost around $100m (£62m) to make.

You won't catch developers with budgets like that really innovating, argues Vesterbecka.

The 'revolutionary' future of gaming? While he admits mobile's still a bit of a wildcard, Vesterbecka sees it in smaller, more agile developers -  like Rovio, of course.

Never mind how fickle gamers can be, or how quickly trends can ebb. While mobile gaming's surely here to stay, it's sort of a mess right now. Apple's App Store alone makes slop troughs look clean, and finding your way to the best stuff's still a trend-driven guessing game.

Don't fret, console gamers. Not when games as obscure and 'acquired taste' as Demon's Souls can nonetheless move upwards of a million copies, or we're getting eclectic platformers like Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet 2, which leaves every mobile game I've ever played with light years behind.

See also: 73% of mobile phone owners play games on their handset


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