Gaming is changing, of that, there is no doubt. Companies such as Sony invested in streaming technology long ago with the likes of PlayStation Now, while Microsoft is also planning its own future, with Project X Cloud. Looking further afield, huge hitters such as Amazon, Verizon and Google are also investigating the technology, with some being further ahead than others.
So should we start planning for a future without consoles?
A Future Without Physical
It’s clear to me that Microsoft is already planning for such an outcome. Xbox Games Pass and services like it point to that fact. Microsoft is quite clearly trying to move people’s mindset away from physical media and the thought of owning a library of games. Internally it even calls its Project X Cloud project the ‘Netflix of Gaming,’ which seems to suggest that, much like Game Pass, it’ll offer a wide range of games for you to choose from for one set fee – games which you will never own.
Of course, we already have a ‘Netflix of Gaming’ with PlayStation Now. The service, which recently changed to allow you to download games, offers a library of older titles for streaming purposes. It’s not quite there yet in terms of offering brand new releases, but once Microsoft even hints at offering this with Project X Cloud, you can bet Sony will push the ‘1st Party Games at launch’ button.
Then we have the other competitors such as Amazon, Google, Verizon and of course you likely can’t count out the likes of EA, Activision, Ubisoft and other major publishers too.
Looking at the video below tells you all you need to know about streaming services – that you don’t need consoles. All you need is a Bluetooth controller which you’ll be able to connect to your devices of choice, be that a mobile phone, tablet or even your TV, which will likely house some sort of app. The servers will do all the heavy processing, meaning consoles will be a thing of the past and so will physical media. It’s hard to imagine a world without consoles or physical media, but as the world moves on, so does technology.
Things Could Get Expensive
Now I’m a forward-thinking guy, so the thought of not being able to buy physical media isn’t something which bothers me too much, however, something which does worry me is the amount of these services which could spring up. Imagine a world where we have streaming services from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon and major third-party publishers too – the market will be saturated and if you want to play the latest games you may have to pay a fee to a good handful of these services in order to do so.
What if for instance, you could only get THQ games on Amazon, while FIFA was only available on EA’s streaming service. Add in the first party exclusives on their respective services and it could all get a little expensive, although chances are, as with most things, the cream will rise to the top and some of the services will eventually fail.
There’s certainly a lot for these companies to figure out and while we will most definitely see the PS5 and Xbox One Two release in the near future, looking further ahead is a bit more cloudy as far as the future of consoles is concerned.