It’s that time again. The doomsayers are back out. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot is the latest to step up to the plate, declaring his belief that the next generation of consoles could be the last. We’ve been hearing variations on this theme for decades, but let’s hear him out.
Guillemot was recently interviewed by Variety, and he’s pretty upfront in his belief that games consoles as we know are on the way out. He reckons the upcoming PlayStation 5 and, er, Xbox Two, are likely the last consoles we’re ever going to see.
"I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware” explains Guillemot. “With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home. There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us."
Outside of the games industry, streaming has obviously become big business. The likes of Apple Music, Spotify and Google Music dominate how we listen to music, while Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu provide hundreds of millions with thousands of videos to watch at a moment’s notice. Guillemot reckons games are going to follow a similar formula, it’s just going to take a little longer to get there. While Guillemot’s comments were about consoles, it stands to reason this same thought process would apply to PC’s as well.
"It is going to help the AAA game industry grow much faster,” explained Guillemot. “We have to work on the accessibility of those games, to make sure they can be played on any device, but the fact that we will be able to stream those games on mobile phones and television screens without a console is going to change a lot of the industry.
“There are quite a few people working on streaming, like Nvidia… so, we think it’s a trend and that it will continue to evolve. Eventually, the technology will improve dramatically, which will allow us to have a very smooth experience in the big cities of the world”.
While game streaming is evidently going to become a lot better, there are some huge logistical hurdles to overcome, potentially impossible ones at that. Primarily, a large portion of the world still doesn’t have access to internet that’s anywhere near fast enough for reliable streaming. Guillemot himself knows this, but there’s a whole more to the world than the ‘big cities’.
The second issue us that input lag is almost impossible to avoid. For anyone serious about online competitive gaming, playing natively is always going to offer an advantage. The additional layer of sending and receiving the image from the server takes time, no matter how fast the connection.
Are consoles' days numbered? Will we switch to streaming, or do you see a different future for gaming? Let us know!