E3 gives some reasons to be very cheerful

Steve Dinneen
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Rumours of the death of console gaming have been greatly exaggerated. Popular wisdom holds that the explosion of smartphones will eventually sound the death knell for the traditional games machine.

With Nintendo and Sony both struggling, and Microsoft diversifying its Xbox into a cross platform behemoth that will do everything from playing music to loading the washing machine, you could be forgiven for believeing it, too.

But the relentless innovation of companies like Nintendo, whose latest contraption looks like it was dreamed up during an LSD binge, is the reason consoles will survive. Part of the joy of gaming is mastering new experiences and the console, sitting resolutely in the corner of your living room, has more scope to achieve that than a smartphone. The Wii U might seem crazy, with its weird, ungainly Gamepad, but 30 years ago, so was the idea of plugging a box into the back of your TV to let you play Super Mario Brothers.

Yes, people are playing more games on their phones, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also want the altogether more immersive experience of sitting in front of a 42 inch plasma screen playing Halo for 52 hours straight before eventually crying themselves to sleep, control pad still in their sweaty, shaking hands. You don’t get that on a mobile phone. Believe me, I’ve tried.

The console has blazed a gaming trail since Mario first jumped on a turtle’s back on the NES. It has survived the rise of the internet and the evolution of PC gaming. Mobile devices are another hurdle, but the console isn’t going anywhere.

And that’s why I’m off to rack up a few more hours on the Xbox while I wait for the Wii U to be released.