Console Games "Dying", says Angry Birds Creator

by Jeanine Celestin, posted on 14 March 2011 / 66,333 Views

Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Rovio Mobile and creator of the popular mobile game Angry Birds announced his opinion about the future of console games on a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin. Vesterbacka claims traditional console games are much too expensive at $40 or $50 per game. He also said console developers are not as "nimble" as mobile developers due to the time it takes to develop and release new content. 

All this combined with how difficult it is to upgrade console games led Vesterbacka to announce that console games are dying. Nokia's Tero Ojanpera was on the panel as well and refuted Vesterbacka’s comment, stating that there's still a place for consoles because gamers aren't going to plug tablet devices into their televisions.

Vesterbacka acknowledged the fact that regarding the business model for mobile gaming "no one has figured it out yet" but clearly there is a business opportunity. No one can deny Angry Birds is popular with one hundred million downloads, or that it isn't a cash cow, but can games like Angry Birds really stomp out console gaming? Vesterbacka thinks so, saying he's tired of the phrase "casual games" when referring to mobile gaming and that an Angry Birds player can be just as addicted and involved as any other gamer, even going so far as to mention times when he has seen devices thrown across the room in frustration.

Who knew that all you needed to officially clear a game of being casual is the ability to irritate your players? Indeed, if that is all that makes a game a game, the console industry had better watch out.

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Zlatan.R (on 14 March 2012)

Lol I'm sure he was crying his eyes out when 3ds shipped over 16 million units .sorry but flash games (angry birds)will never beat console ,handheld and pc games get real

usrevenge (on 17 March 2011)

consoles = gaming playing on your ipod = passing time PC= work mobile phones will never take down console gaming because you will always get more power from something bigger also, you can't update phones unless you buy a new one.

mushroomboy5 (on 15 March 2011)

This article has certainly ruffled a few feathers (heh...pun intended).

elmerion (on 15 March 2011)

How many games has this guy developed? Last time i checked Angry Bird looked like a flashgame (which doesnt mean its bad but common.. flashgames have been there for years taking 60% of gamers out there but they have and will never take console gaming)

skullking (on 15 March 2011)

I really hate it when one person at a company talks crap about another company. Not only are they being jerks, and needlessly flaring tempers. But they make their whole company look like a bunch of whiners.

Black Fist (on 15 March 2011)

I particulary like the fact that: "Vesterbacka thinks so, saying he's tired of the phrase "casual games" when referring to mobile gaming and that an Angry Birds player can be just as addicted and involved as any other gamer, even going so far as to mention times when he has seen devices thrown across the room in frustration." It's hilarious to see that the guy doesn't even know what casual game mean, but he is mad about Angry Birds being called that, and he defends it because the game is addictive and brings frustration to same players.....ridiculous. Pacman and Tetris are also casual games, the diference being that they were casual games before the term came to be. And to be addictive....newsflash, addicition is the casual games greatest weapon because if they are not addictive no one will play it for more than 5 minutes. Don't tell me that Angry Birds has a kick ass narrative and amazing gameplay...the man is pathetic to the fullest

Brainslug (on 15 March 2011)

Problem is, for every "Angry Bird" caliber cash cow on mobiles phones, there's probably 5000-10000 games that make less than $1000 total

Baalzamon (on 15 March 2011)

The funniest thing is, is that as these guys get more money that they can work with, they will probably release some stupid ass game on the consoles, and then because it didn't sell, repeat this statement.

binary solo (on 15 March 2011)

"pslee 7 hours ago they all said credit card will take over cash long time ago but did that happen?" No, but the debit card pretty much has in some countries. OT, if gaming devolves back to being hand-held arcade stuff then I'm giving up gaming. For the purposes of categorising games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope I'd call them arcade games rather than casual. For me I pretty much need a game to have a story with some reasonable amount of plot progression, otherwise I'll lose interest pretty quickly. I dunno what's the opposite of arcade but the games I want are the opposite of arcade games. But I also think that $60 for a game is a barrier to entry. I think for the console the business model needs to change a bit.

ssj12 (on 15 March 2011)

wait the normal argument is that PC games are dying because upgrades are hard, but here console upgrades are hard? wtf? so does this mean PC upgrades are impossible? or is this man an idiot? I vote idiot.

raygun (on 15 March 2011)

I think people who play angry birds haven't played console games, at least the ones I know. They are all new gamers who will graduate to consoles. i played angry birds about a hour total, and thought 'wtf is all the fuss about'? But I think it's a pathway drug for beginners, who will eventually crave the harder stuff.

pslee (on 14 March 2011)

they all said credit card will take over cash long time ago but did that happen?

Beuli2 (on 14 March 2011)

@Boutros But..but... that didn't happen!

Boutros (on 14 March 2011)

Yeah just like laptops killed PC towers.

Beuli2 (on 14 March 2011)

Exactly like the Commodore 64 computer and pals crushed the NES.

pslee (on 14 March 2011)

only mobile game i buy is psp games and future NGP games.

pslee (on 14 March 2011)

i got my first android phone galaxy s and i have no tendency to buy or play mobile games on my phone. it is a waste and i never even played more than 5 minutes on angry bird and deleted the game from my phone. well, i will always buy console games and new consoles whatever those people say. the market for gaming is much bigger than what he thinks.

Cooltown (on 14 March 2011)

I have zero interest in mobile gaming. Thanks. The only reason I played Angry Birds is because it's on the PSN, which means it's a console game.

riders42 (on 14 March 2011)

What a moron....

chocoloco (on 14 March 2011)

If mobile gaming ever took over compleatly I would quit gaming.

DonFerrari (on 14 March 2011)

@zims: in Brazil a sarcastic show done a game one time and one of the mini-games were a Tetris with dicks, boobs and pussies... @EyeAmTJ: i really read "are you serious on drugs?" and you see it almost make perfect sense.

Lafiel (on 14 March 2011)

sry mister Angry Birds dev, you just lost my sympathy

DonFerrari (on 14 March 2011)

Angry Birds sells 1M and is a master sucess... PS3/XBOX/Wii is at 100 already selling above this and is dying?? Mind that.

Black Fist (on 14 March 2011)

To say console gaming is dying means nothing and it�s kind of moronic. If i can't play on consoles, i'll do it on the PC. But one thing Peter Vesterbacka is right, video games are dying, this all industry is dying by the second. The blame goes entirely to the publishers, because insted of trying to save the industry, they are jumping in what is making money at the moment, missing to notice that, in the long run, all of it will crumble at their hands. Video Games are extremely expensive But this industry will die if no one steps up, it's a matter of time, as it will much sooner than we think. Quality is not a priority anymore, money is All you need to do is watch the lattest Bonus Round on Gametrailer, it's saddening to see how far video games have and are falling. Jade Raymon (the girl is hot, but dumb as sin) even goes as far as to say that the consumer has changed.....newsflash girl, consumers didn't change, the industry did and for the worst. Who cares about GTA, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Half-Life....who care about that when we have games that last for 20 minutes? Who cares about characters and narrative when we can play deathmatch and have killing streaks galore? Video Games are losing that one thing that made them unique, and when they's game over.

cory.ok (on 14 March 2011)

when games like angry birds are the only games available, the industry looses my dollar

sauss (on 14 March 2011)

@Zim Tetris with Kittens instead of blocks? Now what a silly idea... ... O.O *start walking slowing backward* ... *start running* .....See you suckers!!! I gonna be rich!!!!!

Zim (on 14 March 2011)

Coming from a company that stole a game from Newgrounds I couldn't care less. It still amazes me that people talk about Angry Birds as a possible game of the year etc when it was literally a skin swap of a previous game. I guess if I made tetris for mobiles but changed the name to catris and the shapes were all cats then I would be rich and people would praise my innovative thinking? His point seems kind of crazy as well given that at a dollar a download Ab has made 100million dollars thereabouts. In other words three times less than the first day revenue of a console game like Call of duty.

Alby_da_Wolf (on 14 March 2011)

They are all d0med! PC, portables, consoles... Then some strange device will come and phone gaming will be d0med too! Truth is that gaming was born to be d0med!!! :-P

vlad321 (on 14 March 2011)

This is just as stupid, laughable, and just retarded as saying PC gaming is dying.

Dr.Grass (on 14 March 2011)

@Jumpin Please ad MGS, Uncharted and God of War. Thanks. :P

archbrix (on 14 March 2011)

Well I guess everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I starkly disagree with him.

Jumpin (on 14 March 2011)

Because the 200 million strong console userbase are going to give up on their Marios, their Halos, their Zeldas and Final Fantasy games because they can instead play Angry Birds and farmville. He makes a great argument; the console industry should be dead in.... three years. I'm convinced :/ Remember Atari and the great videogame crash of 1993, when PC gaming took over? I don't either.

Toastrules (on 14 March 2011)

I'm sure the entire gaming world is lol'ing at his stupidity right about now.

Games4Fun (on 14 March 2011)

The CPU was supposed to have killed it off too. We see how that worked out.

rutea7 (on 14 March 2011)

oh if everyone who cant make a big budget game said the same thing....

Buzzi (on 14 March 2011)

Shut up, we could never leave our great franchises for a bunch of addicting, free but small games. COnsole gaming is still alive and the new portables will show it, better jump on the boat as soon as you can...

EyeAmTJ (on 14 March 2011)

If I was interviewing him I would've let out a big laugh in his face & asked him was he serious or on drugs...SMH

Mojo (on 14 March 2011)

That's like saying people won't pay to see movies because they can get smaller, inferior movies for free on youtube.

Dr.Grass (on 14 March 2011)

OH WOW. So you go and make ONE famous mobile game and now you say that consoles are dead!? Are you serious!? GDMN some people are stupid.

Narishma (on 14 March 2011)

This is no different than the PC developers turned console developers claiming that PC gaming is dead... ie: complete BS.

Mad55 (on 14 March 2011)

they talk as if the game was paid for 100 million times their counting the trial version as well. ehh

Zlejedi (on 14 March 2011)

Did you guys noticed how he used the favourite argument of wii fans about casual vs core games ? :)

GracefulAssassin (on 14 March 2011)

Someone is getting a bit of an ego. >_>

yo_john117 (on 14 March 2011)

I'm pretty sure they can't pull of stuff like Killzone and Gears of war on phones.

forest-spirit (on 14 March 2011)

What Badgenome said.

tripleb2k (on 14 March 2011)

they are casual games. he can try and get away from that title but that's what they are. don't try to reinvent yourself when you only have 1 popular product. make some more than talk. as for consoles dying,,. hahaha. consoles are still selling 200,000 (or so) consoles a week. on top of that, dozens of games are in the multi-million sales. some of those are established titles, others are new franchises. regardless, consoles aren't dying but they do have some new competition.

Mr Khan (on 14 March 2011)

That's some ego he's got...

irstupid (on 14 March 2011)

i hate phone developers. they make one succesful game and their ego is on par with apples.

maximus22 (on 14 March 2011)

Dumb logic: Why buy Skyrim and Drake's Deception when Angry Birds is only $2 !!!!!!11one

Xen (on 14 March 2011)

I'd love to see him try and peddle his game at $30 at the least then ;) Console games are too different for his biased comparison.

zgamer5 (on 14 March 2011)

who the hell does he think he is! angry birds isnt in inovative game, its barely a good game, only thing it uses are touch controls. hoy shit!!

zgamer5 (on 14 March 2011)

who the hell does he think he is! angry birds isnt in inovative game, its barely a good game, only thing it uses are touch controls. hoy shit!!

Barozi (on 14 March 2011)

stupid comparison. mobile games don't offer nearly as much as console/PC games do. Angry Birds at $60 wouldn't see much sales, simply because it's too limited in everything. Oh and their physics engine sucks. Go and play Castle Clout or Crush the Castle. It's far superior to Angry Birds.

Mat6393 (on 14 March 2011)

The popularity has gone straight to his head >.> NO APP ON THE MARKET can deliver the experience of a fully fledged console game. Crysis 2 on ipod? i dont think so :P

Winters (on 14 March 2011)

I enjoy Angry Birds, but it is very very limited and it does not give me the same experience like GoW III or Heavy Rain or soon L.A. Noire and for that I have no trouble dishing out 40, 50 or even 60 bucks.

Baalzamon (on 14 March 2011)

Black Ops, Kinect, and Gran Turismo 5 say hi.

flint (on 14 March 2011)

What an idiot the range of mobile games is severely limited compared to consoles and always will be because of it's form factor, console gaming will be aided by causal games because is will improve the image of gaming and generate new gamers.

RolStoppable (on 14 March 2011)

Nah, Angry Birds and the like would be too expensive at $40 or $50 per game. Sure, there are plenty of console games that don't justify this price point and that's why they quickly find their way into the bargain bin, but that has always been the case, so this isn't a new problem. Besides, the majority of the games in the App Store are also too expensive and that already at prices of $1 or $2 per title, but that didn't harm Angry Birds or the platform on the whole either.

badgenome (on 14 March 2011)

He has a point about how broken the economics of consoles are, I guess. But while Angry Birds is a fun game and all, if it's the future of gaming you can count me out.

tuscaniman (on 14 March 2011)

All I have to say is wow. The only reason it has 100 million downloads is because its 99 cents. This idiot must be pissed because he failed out of 3D school or didn't have the talent to work on real games. Oh yeah COD says hi.

richardhutnik (on 14 March 2011)

If the industry keeps increasing its dev costs to average as much, or more, than it takes to produce a movie, without having the revenue stream of box office to offset production costs, it is going to be facing major issues. They will begin to put out less and less major titles, and they all end up being of the same type. There will be less risks taken, and the end result will be an industry that ends up banking on a handful of genres, AT MOST, to make it. These genres show slowdown in sales, due to oversaturation, you will be looking a crash. Elements of this are happening now.