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Do Consoles Still Have A Role In The Future Of Video Games?

Do Consoles Still Have A Role In The Future Of Video Games?

August 19, 2019

Could a xbox custom controller help you on a console? Video game consoles have been largely the most popular way for people to play their games for nearly 40 years. Paying a one-time fee gets the person a machine that will play tons of games, and the console itself is easy to set up and operate compared to a PC for most people.

Since the days of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, small rumblings have circulated the video game community about the console’s role in the video game industry. Back then, the concern with the console lifespan was mostly attributed to the growing “PC master race.” Maybe xbox custom controller was not high on your list for an Xbox 360.

The PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and even the Xbox One to a certain degree have proven that the current generation of consoles is still alive and very, very strong. What about the future, though? Streaming technologies have made slight appearances every now and then, but none have been good enough to harm the home console. With multiple big time gaming companies preparing for the next console generation, as well as streaming services, will the home console still have a place in the future of the video game industry?

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The Streaming Parties

Anyone who keeps up to date on video game news is aware of the discussion of streaming your games in the future.

The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer has been very open about the impact he thinks Microsoft’s Azure streaming technology will have on gaming in general.

Sony, while not having any substantial streaming service of their own in the pipeline, decided earlier this year to team up with Microsoft to focus on streaming technologies and how they could benefit each other.

Google is looking to make a big splash in the gaming industry when it releases Stadia later this year.

There are rumors of an Amazon streaming service coming.

Even Nintendo has practiced streaming games to the Nintendo Switch in Japan.

The Case Against Consoles

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Any way you look at it, streaming is going to be one of, if not THE major discussion point over the next couple years. Which streaming service will work best? Which ones will fall into obscurity? Will we own our games? How will consoles be affected by this new technology?

One of Google Stadia’s most talked about features is its ability to play on any screen that has access to a Google account. This can be your phone or PC that has Chrome, or even a television that has a Chromecast connected to it. There is no other device needed to run the software of the games playing on the service, so if you decide to pursue Stadia, you are paying for the service and maybe a controller if you do not have one of the supported ones already.

Xbox’s upcoming Xcloud streaming hasn’t been shown off much, but we do know that phones will be able to play console-quality games on the go. Xbox controllers are now Bluetooth so connect your dream controller and your good to go. Technically, you could not own an Xbox console and still be playing Xbox games wherever you want.

It’s possible that streaming services could harm the market for a video game console.

The Case For Consoles

Even though the previous passage brings up some valid concerns, it is not a total slam dunk that consoles will be useless with streaming technologies around.

While there are not many details on how the next Xbox (Project Scarlett) will handle streaming itself, there are some safe assumptions we can make. Game Pass has been the best service for Microsoft since its inception over two years ago. It is a given that that service will continue being a driving force for the company, but it has nothing to do with streaming yet.

As of now, all games played on Game Pass are fully downloaded to your console, so you have access to them at any time. There is a chance that they might add functionality for the games to be streamed, but I do not see how that would benefit anyone besides saving hard drive space.

On Xbox, streaming might be used to cut down on loading times and be the place to get the best home console experience. In a recent interview with Gamespot, Phil Spencer said, “To me, it’s about what you as a gamer want to do, and I’m not trying to tell you that owning a box that plays video games is a bad thing or that somehow that’s not needed.” He believes that cloud gaming as an exclusive form of gaming is coming but is not here yet. Spencer plans on streaming to be a way to connect the Xbox to your phone like it is connected to your PC right now.

As mentioned earlier, Sony has not revealed their plans for streaming yet but have teamed up with Microsoft to use their Azure technology. As of now, the PlayStation 4 can stream games available on previous PlayStation consoles, and I would bet that Azure is going to be used to make that service more stable. Players often complain about controller input lag with their games, which is one of the biggest questions with streaming games. If Sony can nail down that problem, they would hear much less flack on the fact that Xbox One has backward compatibility, but the PS4 does not.

For Nintendo, the streaming tests in Japan on the Switch have been used to see how the console handles streaming games that normally it would not be able to run. If Nintendo feels that this aids the console enough without being a bad experience to the player, they could roll it out to all parts of the world. This would address the problems for people who complain that the Switch is not powerful enough to run their favorite games.

With streaming services coming down the pipeline, the gaming industry could potentially be seeing big changes. The reliability of streaming services playing console-quality games wherever your phone is could harm the market for owning a home console box, but I think that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will find ways to make use of streaming technologies in a way that benefits everyone in their consoles.