Bushnell: mobile games done

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell says Oculus Rift, Google Glass will be next big things in gaming.

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Atari founder Nolan Bushnell believes mobile games are over. Speaking to All Things D, the industry veteran said he wouldn't want to make a mobile game in a market flooded with existing titles.

"All the money's out. Do I really want to do a mobile game that's one of 300,000, where discoverability is everything? You really have to have a little more sizzle on the steak," Bushnell said.

Bushnell explained that most games, inherently, have a half-life of two years or fewer. Those who have been successful in this space, like Zynga and Rovio, he argued, were able to do so by getting in early and trying new things. This led others to follow suit, in turn broadening the base to extreme levels, he said.

As for what technologies Bushnell believes will be the "next big thing" for games, he said Google Glass and Oculus Rift will steal the show.

"I think the next big game opportunity is Google Glasses [sic]. If I told you all my ideas for it, I'd have to kill you," he said. "And the Oculus Rift. The game business reinvents itself every five years. The last five years have been the days of mobile gaming and shortform gaming, exemplified by Rovio with Angry Birds and Zynga with FarmVille. And that is over."

Discussion

80 comments
holtrocks
holtrocks

well im a hardcore gamer and i for one could not care less about either of these.

knugs
knugs

It's a shame people think what he says still matters. Yes, he was a big part of video game history, but his time has simply past....

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

Another person in the industry with another ridiculous comment. While I never thought mobile gaming is over, google glass is not going to take over that market. He just sounds like he has a lot invested in Google Glass. These people are out of touch with reality.

HaaZ
HaaZ

He's on it. Mobile software touched the pinnacle of it's innovation a long time ago. Everything new to the market is a line-by-line re-hash of everything that's already been out. Everyone stops by the apps store and sees nothing but garbage they feel they already overplayed, from rail runners to city builders. They suffer the same problem the original Atari suffered...too cheap to make games and a market so flooded with garbage you can't identify something solid even if someone made it. The controls lack depth for expansion same as the Nintendo Wii did.

The Grandfather of Gaming once again hit the nail on the head. Deny what you want, but the proof is in the pudding.

Raeldor
Raeldor

Lol if the Oculus Rift suffers the fate of the Opti-Grab in The Jerk. :D

6orange6
6orange6

read between the lines; he is confessing he has no clue how to make a game get into the lime light on an app store and confesses his 70's glory days won't cut him any slack in trying.

Jass5991
Jass5991

I don't think Mobile Gaming's time has come. They said the same thing about the newspaper and the radio. And also about PC Gaming. 


zyxahn
zyxahn

Never got into mobile gaming.  No need with Vita and 3DS.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I have no idea what Oculus Rift and Google Glass are, but he made a good point about mobile games reaching saturation and becoming unappealing because of it.

V3rciS
V3rciS

I do also agree that Oculus Rift will be huge and I'm really excited about it.

Lost-to-Apathy
Lost-to-Apathy

I'm sure the Oculus Rift is cool and all, but somehow I find myself not giving a single shit about it. I'd rather play games on a 60" HDTV with an awesome sound system.

sortajan
sortajan

he talks a lot of shit, this atari guy

kamikazeespleen
kamikazeespleen

The Occulus Rift is the future of immersive gaming.

Playing Angry Birds on the toilet is not.

WingChopMasta
WingChopMasta

Oh man do I love hearing those words "mobile gaming is over" I can not wait until that market fizzles and dies after companies came in and turned it into a cash grab. Some of the worst practices in gaming occurred because of mobile and facebook. IAP is one of them. Games as a service is the stupidest thing ever and I will never be ok with it. I cringe when I look on the app store for something even resembling a real gaming experience anymore.


TrueGB
TrueGB

I think it's silly to suggest mobile gaming will go away. As long as Smartphones, and whatever follows, exists we will have mobile gaming.

The3rdGracchus
The3rdGracchus

This industry is so busy looking at the next, ephemeral "big thing" is going to be that it refuses to put out the fire in its bed.

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

The same Nolan Bushnell who was telling us mobile games were the way to go and console games were the dying breed last year? I think he just bases these statements on whatever concept his money happens to be tied up in at the time.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Atari, the biggest hasbeens in gaming history.

This guy is so out of touch it isn't funny. 

harndoogle
harndoogle

Right now im going to trademark Iwear, Iglass, Iglasses, Ispecs, Iframes, Ivision. That way when apple tries to make their glasses, they will have to pay be a truckload of cash for the name.

hadlee73
hadlee73

In other news, "Nolan Bushnell's eyes scratched out after being recognized in laundromat".

hellangel_boy
hellangel_boy

Mobile gaming ended before it started, I had more innovative games on my Nokia 6600 than Angry Birds.

cjimrun
cjimrun

I don't buy this for a second.  Mobile devices will continue to get better, and mobile games will grow right along with them.  So many people carry mobile devices of some sort that there will always be a market for new and better apps.  I'm not just talking about time wasters like Angry Birds either, there are some serious, nigh PS2 quality titles out there these days and with yearly hardware updates it won't be too long before we have current gen quality games in our pockets at bargain basement prices.

shingui5
shingui5

if he means in terms of innovation and growth, then yeah, they are pretty much 'done'.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Mobile games are casual games and somehow... necessary when there's time to kill. The Oculus Rift is a long way from being finished. We'll have to see about those. Seeing how he sais Google Glass instead of Google Glasses and mistakes them for some kind of gaming device, I would have a hard time listening to grandpa here. As for "if I told you all my ideas for it, I’d have to kill you", no, just no, you... you don't have any ideas, elderly person.

RossRichard
RossRichard

Everything Bushnell touches turns to crap. So, yeah.

weisguy119
weisguy119

Someone should remind Bushnell that 3D TV isn't taking off because people don't want to purchase overpriced glasses and be forced to wear them to enjoy the effects.  Likewise, I don't see myself wearing some contraption on my head for gaming.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

Hmmm...I have a hard time believing that mobile games are finished--as they allow people who aren't traditional 'gamers' a chance to play games without spending money on a PC or console (just on an expensive smart phone with a data plan). I definitely believe what he's saying about that being the next big thing for the industry. 

While I'm not an expert on the subject, It's hard to believe that those two things (which would seemingly appeal mostly to hardcore gamers), could beat a casual market. Either way, exciting future.

Lawdog1521
Lawdog1521

How come all these old farts that haven't made a hit game in 30 years get articles quoting their opinions?

InquisitorCrox
InquisitorCrox

@HaaZ 


Except that he misses a few things.

Too many companies have invested too much to drawback now.

Gamepads are coming, that will expand the gameplay for the mobiles, check the Galaxy S 4 gamepad.

The latest CPUs and GPUs on the mobiles and the Full HD screen can take advantage of many things, or ex cutting edge graphics and giving a full HD signal on TVs...

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

@xsonicchaos 

I must be strange, but I just game at home.  In a plane or in a bus, I do prefer to read a book.

They say last King's novel about JFK was awesome.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

@weisguy119 I agree, I think all the Oculus rift hype is coming from developers and I don't buy it. I think this thing will become a niche product at best and a failure at worst.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

@Lawdog1521 My guess is that they've seen the industry trends so long that it's pretty easy to predict FADs and the next-big-things.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@SkamArtist  You're right, I checked and they actually called the damn thing Google Glass.

Winzent
Winzent

@Stonecutters908 I just agreed with you and added that it seems like most developers are trying to hype there platform of choice and for that you attack me?

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

@Winzent @Stonecutters908 Yeah everyone will buy gaming PCs instead because they are so much easier too use and so much cheaper. Please don't reply with standard "you can build a decent gaming rig for $600" BS. You can't build one that will match PS4.