Will mobile gaming ‘beat’ consoles within a year?

In a bold statement at the UK’s Develop Conference 2010, Fishlabs CEO Michael Schade has gone on the record to say that he believes consoles will be dwarfed by mobiles within the next year.

Considering Fishlabs is a mobile-only developer, it comes as no surprise that its big boss claims the future is portable – Schade reckons that mobile will surpass console gaming in popularity and match the likes of Xbox 360’s hardware capabilities in less than a year. He points to an upcoming “iPad HD” as the key catalyst for this change.

Sounding increasingly (Steve) Jobsian in tone, Schade says; “I think you can expect some time next year to have rendering capabilities on mobile devices superior to the Xbox 360.”

“And I believe by the end of the year the ‘iDevices’ could have sold 120m copies, which puts them close to a par with the PS2’s 140m.”

But is mobile gaming really mature enough to render consoles irrelevant?

Not quite yet, Schade says; “When we have made it so that someone buys a mobile device to play a game, then the mobile has become a more important platform than consoles”

How Schade defines “important” is unclear, but there are some obvious issues facing mobile gaming which may hinder his lofty hopes.

Market fragmentation, operating system capabilities, battery life and touch-screen interface issues appear to be the key limiters of growth in mobile gaming right now and are very unlikely to have been resolved at a mainstream level within a year.

But the fundamental question is whether gamers would ditch their console and prefer to use a mobile device to get their gaming fix. Schade doesn’t mention whether he’s referring to core or casual gamers in his prediction, but it is likely that both will need to be converted to make a serious case for the importance of mobile gaming over the console market.

So what do you think? Would you prefer to play Killzone 3 on an iPad? Or are you more than happy to continue playing the likes of Red Dead Redemption with a controller in front of your TV?