After buying a Kindle as a gift for a friend I started to think about how quickly this would make traditional books obsolete. Amazon sold more ebooks were sold than physical books last quarter. On top of that Borders filed bankruptcy last month. At the same time, Best Buy admitted that they are rethinking their weekly sales and are instead going to move to an everyday low price method. And while this plays out, game consoles are headed towards the chopping block. Wait, really? Yes. Brick and mortar stores, physical books and gaming console are all on the short list right now. Their time is limited.
Many retails stores now have to deal with the new reality of everyone walking in with a mobile price comparison buddy and often not only are items cheaper online, but they come to your door without you lugging them. When Best Buy does a sale, people go in and get that single item. If they need an expensive HDMI cable they can order it online for $3 instead of $30 in the store. And except for certain categories of items (food and some clothing stores for example) this is the new reality for retailers. Just compare the cost difference between a physical store and a retail store and you’ll see the problem.
Of course, I don’t need to tell you about the death of books. You probably ready the paper on your phone/computer and have at least 3 devices to read books and media on.
And yes, gaming consoles. I know, it’s all the rage and Kinect is sick but look at what’s happening. Take an iPhone and give it HDMI out. OK, now give me a pair of bluetooth controllers with a built in gyroscope – game over. We can do this other ways too. Take a Windows Phone with an XNA/Xbox game, stream it using DLNA to a tv and again, hand me some fancy controller to play it with. Same goes for Android and the new Sony titles. Kinect is a bit of an outlier here but think about the huge chunk that mobile devices are poised to take from the gaming industry. And think of how nice it is to play at a friends house which now requires bringing your phone with you and not even the original disc. I remember the old days of lugging consoles to a friends house with all of the games. Of course, high end mobile games are maybe $10 (if that) while Xbox console games are $50-$60. Yes, it’s a better experience on an Xbox…for now. But a lot of casual gamers would be just as happy to play the same exact game on their phone as their tv and by adding real controllers, you actually can get a good experience here. In fact, one that’s good enough to make people think twice before dropping $300 on a console and $50 per title.
Anyway, we have some interesting times ahead of us. Just think of where things have gone and are headed. Landlines – gone. Faxes – gone. Ten years ago I had a pager and not a cell – true story. School books – gone. In car GPS units – gone. Point and shoot cameras – gone. How many years can these things hold on for?
And this is just the beginning of the mobile revolution…