For decades, games consoles have been the default way of playing the biggest video games. Over the years, there have been threats from mobiles and PC, but ultimately the conversation about PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo tend to dominate.
With internet speeds increasing and the abilities of our televisions ever improving, it is only a matter of time until every smart TV can play the latest and greatest games at the touch of a button. Does that spell the end for the traditional console?
It’s an interesting thought experiment, because the answer is so obviously yes. Ultimately. One day. If you can download the Xbox app on your TV, hit a couple of buttons and be playing Starfield as though it was native, what good would a console do? There’s already some TVs capable of this through the Xbox Cloud Gaming service.
But what’s it going to take to get us to that point? Naysayers point out slow internet speeds and issues with latency – and those people would be 100 percent correct. Those are two of the biggest issues right now, alongside image quality and concerns with all your purchases being server-side. Some of these are fixable. One day, internet speeds will be fast and widely available enough that the humble video game streams as though it’s a YouTube video.
Others are less easy to get over. How do you convince someone who still collects physical discs that there are advantages to having all your games in the cloud? Convenience isn’t going to help them in the slightest, and in fact, they’d be happy to pay a premium for the lack of convenience.
Game Pass and PlayStation Plus will convince some people, but not everybody.
TV Apps – Changing the Face of Gaming?
But they might not have much choice. Microsoft is clearly heading in a direction where cloud is very important to them, and recent rumours suggest PlayStation have their own cloud gaming device on the horizon. The idea of making loads of money without having to invest in research and development on an actual console, with all that entails, is magic for the manufacturers. They would take almost any amount of minor bad will if it meant they can avoid all the headaches involved in the actual release of a console.
So we’re back to the idea of not if, but when. Is this something that is going to happen soon? Should we cancel our hopes and dreams for the PlayStation 6?
There’s nothing to indicate that this is going to happen soon. The migration to the cloud is so reliant on a dozen different things, and nobody wants to be the first and only manufacturer to do it. Why buy a Cloud-based Xbox if PlayStation still has a console, and is superior because of it? It would be suicide. Like with almost every step forward the industry has taken, it’ll be collective and obvious when it’s about to happen.
As a last note, think of Nintendo. They probably aren’t going to rush to join the cloud revolution. Will this give them a unique edge, or will it be like those boys in Back to the Future 2? “You use your hands? That’s for babies!”
Time will tell.