Original Xbox creator Seamus Blackley recently appeared on the Xbox Expansion Podcastwhere he had some interesting thoughts to share about the future of game consoles and whether the cloud will eventually take over.
Answering a question about how well he thinks Phil Spencer is currently running Xbox, Blackley pointed out that the team is going through an important time “because the meaning of computers is changing”, calling it “super challenging”.
Here’s a little more of what he had to say about this:
“Nintendo is the easiest thing to do, but what Xbox and PlayStation mean — as companies built on shipping cutting-edge hardware that runs custom games — is really up for debate. It’s hard to see the way forward.”
“Are we going to have even more local computing power? That is, are you going to have a device… or are you just going to have a player for services computed elsewhere, from data stored elsewhere? We’re already doing a lot of that.”
Of course, Xbox is already heavily focused on the cloud with its Xbox Cloud Gaming venture, while Blackley pointed out that Sony is also heading down that path, albeit “slightly more conservative” at the moment.
This is key, he says, as Microsoft and Sony need to make sure this isn’t the case whole depending on console:
“Games have always followed the general trend in computing… what it means is that wherever computers go, games will follow computers there. So if the computer industry decides that for some reason (and partly for that reason) because it’s such a big, important influence), then the nature of the business of games will have to follow.”
“You need to make sure your business isn’t dependent on something that’s going to disappear. That doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear, it doesn’t mean consoles will be over, but *if* they are, you, we have to be ready for that.”
As Blackley said, there’s no suggestion from him that consoles will definitely “disappear” anytime soon, but Microsoft and Sony (and possibly Nintendo) should at least be prepared in case that happens.
In 2020, Xbox boss Phil Spencer answered a question about whether the Xbox Series X and S would be Microsoft’s last dedicated consoles, stating that he didn’t believe that would be the case. He said he felt there would be “a world where people want to play on a television for a long time to come”, and promised that the company “is committed to that and that we will deliver great console experiences”.
What do you think will happen to consoles in the future? Let us know below.