The console landscape has dramatically changed over the last ten years. Services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network have brought plenty of PC-like features to consoles, such as video and music streaming. Most folks don’t think of their Xbox or PS3 as simply a gaming device anymore. Where will the next ten years take us?
David Jaffe of Twisted Metal fame believes the next round of consoles will likely be the last.
“Look, consoles are going away. I think in 10 years – probably sooner, but 10 years is always the safe thing to say so you don’t sound like an idiot – but here’s what I’ll say: I’ll go on the record and say that the next generation of hardware will be the last consoles. And they should be,” Jaffe told GI.biz.
He continued, “It doesn’t mean you won’t buy a piece of hardware from Sony, but you’ll probably buy a television that streams the stuff. And you’ll still have Sony, loud and proud and strong making these great, big, epic games like God of War and Uncharted, and they’ll be making great little games like Sound Shapes, but they’ll become more like movie studios for video games.”
“I’ll be able to stream in the next Uncharted and Plants vs Zombies and you won’t even think about it. It’ll just be like I can watch a public access show on my TV or I can watch Avatar.”
Is Jaffe crazy? Maybe not. There’s no doubt that consoles are becoming increasingly risky. For one, there’s been a decline in hardware sales over the previous generation, despite game budgets going up. While the Wii was on track to surpass the PS2 in lifetime sales, sales took a sharp dive over the past few years. And the PS3 literally has no hope of matching the sales of its predecessor at this point.
PC and mobile platforms like Android and iPhone are becoming more and more appealing simply due to the fact that there’s a guaranteed userbase there. Low-cost, off the shelf PCs are becoming more apt for gaming as well – there’s plenty that can run Portal 2 or Diablo III without breaking a sweat. In the end, only time will tell, but perhaps it’s not a stretch to say that one day we’ll be playing all our games on a single device separated by services.