Internet-connected TV devices that can play games are positioned to finally break out in the next few years, and traditional game consoles could take a big hit as consumers shift their spending.
Market research firm IHS iSuppli forecasts that
worldwide consumer spending on video games played on Smart TVs, internet-enabled Blu-ray players and set-top boxes, and other devices (e.g. a games-enabled Apple TV) will reach $1.6 billion by 2016.
That growth would be immense for a market that's seemed negligible until just recently, and that is expected to reach only $88 million in 2012, but the group claims that the stars are finally beginning to align for connected TV devices.
IHS iSuppli predicts that adoption of these devices will explode thanks to advancements in hardware capabilities, the availability of free-to-access games, and reduced middleware fragmentation.
As smartphones and tablets have proven, several years is more than enough time for new platform to disrupt the game industry. By 2016, the number of connected TV devices around the world could hit 800 million, up from 100 million in 2012.
While that would be great for the companies making these devices, most of which are currently based in Asia (particularly Korea, as is the case with Samsung and LG), the console makers who have ruled consumers' living rooms up until now will likely not appreciate the competition.