If you think of it, today we live in a world with billions of gaming devices all around - I'm talking about smartphones, of course. Smartphones are as versatile as the PC was years ago, capable of running a vast variety of games from complex shooters and MMOs to casual games and Betway online betgames.

For many people, smartphones are the only gaming device they need - but there are many others who want even more complex titles with lifelike graphics running on high-tech gaming hardware, like PCs and consoles. These gamers have quite a few options to choose from: they can either build a custom PC or choose one of the three major console brands available: Sony's PlayStation, Microsoft's Xbox or Nintendo's Switch.

Gaming duopoly

For years, the high-end gaming console market was dominated by just two names - Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo didn't want to compete with these two - it chose a different path, offering titles focused on entertainment value rather than competing with the gaming PC, and pricing its consoles much lower than its competitors, carving out a place for itself in the market

Sony and Microsoft recently announced a gaming partnership.

However, when it comes to games to match those on PC, Microsoft and Sony are dominating the console market, leaving no room for any competition.

Their position in the market is so strong that, apparently, no competitor has the chance to break into it. One of the most notable examples was the Steam Machine program - a series of custom-built gaming PCs that fit into people's living rooms, merging the gaming experience of a console with the massive game library of Steam. Unfortunately, this wasn't exciting enough to rip a slice out of the gaming console market: the Steam Machines were silently forgotten.

Breaking the wheel (yes, it's a Game of Thrones reference)

Surprising as it may sound, the product that may (or may not) break the proverbial "wheel" (the above-mentioned Sony-Microsoft duopoly) may come from a company that knows pretty much nothing about gaming hardware: game developer Slightly Mad Studios.

The company has built quite a few successful games to date: the famous "Need for Speed: Shift", for example, and the "Project: CARS" series, to name just a few. This January, Slightly Mad CEO Ian Bell revealed, in turn, that the company plans to build a gaming console that will be "the most powerful ever built". Called the "Mad Box", the console's hardware configuration is unknown but its performance is expected to be a match for whatever Sony and Microsoft has on the market: Bell promises that it will run games at a native 4K resolution and 120 fps, that it will support all major VR standards "at 60 fps per eye", and have a price that matches that of the consoles currently available.

The plan sure sounds ambitious but there's a catch: if you want to launch a console, you have to have a major exclusive game as a selling point. Many say this was the major flaw that pushed the Steam Machine into oblivion: Valve failed to launch a true attraction on the platform. Bell said his company didn't want to deal in exclusive games like its competitors... instead, it plans to release a cross-platform game engine and make it available for developers.

The Mad Box console might become the next product to truly disrupt the console market - but it could as well be a major flop. It remains to be seen in a few years - approximately 3 and a half, according to Bell.

Share this article via: