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Dyack: One-console future "inevitable"

Split-market conditions will lead to unified console format, reckons Silicon Knights boss

Dennis Dyack believes it's inevitable that the future will see a single, unified console format hit the market.

His opinion has appeared in the wake of an EA senior executive expressing the same view.

In an article penned for Official Xbox Magazine, Dyack said, "Imagine a unified platform -- one console for all gamers -- that would bring a massive paradigm shift to the games industry, where games would become better in quality, cheaper, and more widely available. Sound good? It can happen. Better yet, it's inevitable. It will happen".

Dyack explains his thoughts are completely agnostic of the console wars by nature, but rather that the concept is based on the history of technology and economics theory.

He argues that consoles have now hit what he terms "performance oversupply", in that they've moved well beyond providing purely a platform to play games on, and that sales of videogames struggle under split market conditions - "most gamers don't even own both a PS3 and an Xbox 360".

Dyack continued, "The market is also split in an unhealthy way between the major manufacturers. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony all may have equal marketshare this generation, making it extremely difficult for third-party publishers to choose what platform to focus on.

"Not that it's easy for first-party manufacturers, either. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have put tremendous resources into trying to make the best hardware, including spending significant amounts of money trying to get exclusive mega-titles like Grand Theft Auto on their system first.

"Despite all this, it's still not enough. The economics of the proprietary models seem to point toward spending more money and receving fewer returns with each generation, with no clear winner."

Dyack says that a one console future will emerge not because anyone wants one, but because the market cannot sustain itself under these conditions.

He goes on to opine that the unified format will "likely be decided by a consortium of game makers", but likens it to TV in that any company in theory could build a console system for that format. This would lead to a drop in price for the consumer and also an increase in quality "as the model of perfect competition emerges in the hardware marketplace."

A unified format would also lead to cheaper and more creative games for consumers, he added, because publishers would be assured 100-percent market penetration.

"A one-console future is a future I think we can't avoid - and thankfully, it's a future where everyone would win", Dyack said.

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