Every once in a while, an industry sees a new entrant with a different technology, one that is better at some things but less efficient in key aspects… and also, one that evolves at a different, faster rate than the dominant technology. In the short run, the new technology is niche material. In the long run, when its abilities reaches the demand level of the market, it often smashes right across the competition. That usually happens because these “disruptive” innovations are hard to adopt by the incumbents, for a long series of reasons (“The innovator’s dilemma”, again: it’s a favorite book for good reasons). Too early, it doesn’t make sense for them. Too late, they can’t catch up with experience, processes and skills built for the new system.
A serious part of the modern leisure market is built on top of gaming consoles, themselves an offshoot of the PC industry. The more-recent mobile industry has been built on low-power, specialised processors, most from a different technology family that those used in consoles. For a long time it was generally assumed that the new platform, being lower-powered, would never reach the performance of the bigger brothers.
Well, that’s another debunked myth. The above grahic depicts the performance of graphics in PCs, consoles and mobile to back a prediction of intersection in 2014; it was drawn by NVIDIA, a specialised company. It also backs claims by Qualcomm, one of the leading vendors in the sector, and the empirical experience of iPad 3 working better than Nintendo DS and the competition.
In short, the reason to own a sedentary console is about to be… disrupted. Keep this in mind the next time you look at a competitor’s innovative approach and discard it for lack of performance.