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E3 shows game consoles no longer king

The No. 1 takeaway I’m seeing from the US’s No. 1 videogame convention – the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) that just ended in Los Angeles – is that consoles’ grip on the videogame market is slipping. It’s what anyone who plays electronic games or has kids who do probably senses: “After dominating the market for decades and making their way into 1 out of every 2 U.S. homes, consoles are beginning to face serious competition as teenagers and adults increasingly play games designed for smartphones, tablets and online social networks,” the Los Angeles Times reports. There’s no question gamers will continue to have a whole lot of fun with hands-free gaming like Xbox Kinect’s and multiplayer gaming through online communities; it’s just that what was once dominant is getting wedged in among a growing number of market segments. Another segment is social games. “A recent report from Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. projected that through 2014, spending on … games on networks like Facebook would grow 46% annually, other online games 23%, and mobile games 19%,” according to the Times. And then there’s mobile gaming, with “more than 85,000 games are available for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad alone.” Phone-based gamers seem to be willing to trade production values for mobility. But the console makers are far from throwing in the towel. They’re going for comprehensive – game console as entertainment central for the home. The $900 million that Xbox Live’s 30 million users spend each year on “downloading games, renting movies or buying TV shows” will certainly keep Microsoft invested in its console business for a while. And *somebody* certainly still prefers production values to mobility, since “action and military games were the star” at E3, another L.A. Times article reports.

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