Are Gaming Consoles On The Verge of Extinction?
Gaming consoles have been around for longer than some of you might think. The first true home console, the Magnavox Odyssey, was released almost five decades ago, becoming the first in a row of continuously improving hardware platforms that continue to evolve to this day. Yet there are some who think that the final years of gaming consoles are closer than we think - and one of the most prominent personalities with such opinions is none other than Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO of the game development company Ubisoft.
The end of the console
Speaking to Variety, Guillemot expressed his concerns about the success of the coming generations of gaming consoles. He said he believed that the next generation of gaming consoles will be the last, their place being taken by game streaming services and "platform-agnostic" devices. "I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware," he told Variety. "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."
Indeed, streaming games is becoming increasingly viable - and it could be a worthy alternative to investing in massive gaming PCs and gaming consoles. Game streaming services will no longer require the player to have a high-performance gaming device at hand. Instead, they will only need a device with high-speed internet access... and a decent hardware configuration fit for streaming high-definition video. All the action will happen on the game server in the cloud, with the player only needing to provide the input (through a keyboard and a mouse or a controller) and follow the output on the local screen.
Cloud gaming, as these services are called, are not uncommon today: among the companies providing GaaS (Gaming as a Service) online today we find major brands like Nvidia (GeForce Now) and Sony (PlayStation Now) to lesser-known players like GameFly and Kalydo, offering gamers the latest titles and older ones alike.
Does a monthly subscription beat using your own console at home, not relying on a broadband internet connection?
The future of gaming
Game streaming might very well be the future of video games... and it may not. Console game sales are still growing - albeit not as fast as they used to - and they still represent a major part of the global gaming business. Cloud gaming might be the novel way to play that may replace them but they might as well live on for generations to come - this is what the continuously growing sales of consoles and games, as well as the increasing revenue of the console gaming industry suggest. It remains to be seen whether Guillemot will be right - even if he is, consoles still have many years of thriving ahead of them.