In The Future, There Will be No Game Consoles

Right now, everyone’s being stoked by the arrival of the two big gaming consoles, Microsoft’s XBox One and Sony’s Playstation 4, both due for release within the month. These two are the current “big kids” on the block, the most highly-anticipated gaming appliances since the start of the year, or perhaps even longer.

While consoles used to be relatively different from each other in years past, this time, even the consoles are converging. This was probably due to the fact that developers found it very hard to program games for very different platforms, and it usually ended up with a lackluster product by the time it crossed over to another platform, like the good old PC.

I’m not here to talk about the current cutting-edge consoles, or even the beloved gaming consoles of the past. With all the convergence going on between personal computers, consoles (both set-top and handheld), and even smartphones and other handheld computing devices, I think the trend is moving towards the inevitability that there won’t be dedicated computer gaming consoles a decade or so from now.

Why do I think so? Well…

Very Powerful Computers

Moore’s Law seems to be holding, and the processing power of our computers, from the smallest embedded processors found on handheld devices like smartphones and tablets, to the small form factor mini ITX-based computer appliances (like gaming consoles), to desktops, servers, and even the modern supercomputers (they do tend towards parallel processing with lots of small computers, but big supercomputers still exist), computers are just plain amazing.

What am I getting at with this? Look at your smartphone. It’s a veritable desktop computer of the early 2000s in terms of processing power and uses. Now, wouldn’t it be a waste to have all this processing power just dedicated to just gaming and light internet use?

It might be the end of dedicated gaming consoles, but total entertainment “consoles,” that’s something else. Mash together an HTPC/DVR, gaming console, home PC, and other audiovisual appliances (including your TV) into one package. A next-generation smart television that has literally all the entertainment options in it, that’s what I see for the consumer market of the next decade.

The Magical Cloud

Then, there’s ever-growing trend of cloud-based services. What your home and mobile devices can’t process or store (or if you wish to access them anywhere), there’s the cloud. This could foreseeably include gaming, even if previous models of this idea didn’t quite work out in the past. With more powerful servers and bigger internet “tubes,” this could be a reality in ten years.

In essence, if internet bandwidth won’t be an issue in a decade, all we’ll need are veritable terminals that will receive audiovisual streams with the media that we wanted; your device doesn’t need to work on it too much, just display and wait for your input which it will send back. I’m sure everybody won’t like the idea that all the processing happens off-site, but most consumers won’t mind for as long as they get their fix, whether it be gaming, movies, music, or whatever kind of digital distractions we can come up with in the future.

I’m excited about the future, really. The way technology is literally leapfrogging over itself, I can’t wait to see what it brings. To infinity, and beyond!

Michael Green

Michael Green

Michael Green is a veteran of the rat race, having worked at a business consultancy firms in San Francisco and New York for most of his young adult life. He left on his fortieth birthday to become a fully self-employed entrepreneur, and settled in San Diego to pursue various opportunities within the city.
Michael Green

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