Consoles Will Eventually Be Replaced by Streaming, Ubisoft CEO Says
Consoles as we know them may be on the way out--but probably not soon, Yves Guillemot says.
Assassin's Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft has chimed in with its thoughts on the future of gaming consoles. During an earnings call today, CEO Yves Guillemot said he expects the industry to eventually get to a place where consoles as we know them fall away and streaming takes over. But before that happens, Guillemot predicted we will see another generation of what might be considered traditional hardware.
"Now on the console side, we expect there will be new consoles that are going to make this market continue to grow and we feel it's... we'll still have another generation of consoles before we have new types of consoles coming to the market," he said.
On the subject of streaming specifically, Guillemot said Ubisoft is optimistic about this becoming commonplace...but not for a while.
"We believe in streaming--it demands lots of bandwidth," he said. "We think it's going to grow but today, with the types of games we have, it will still take a bit of time to be more popular."
Later in the call, Guillemot was asked specifically about mid-cycle hardware upgrades such as the rumored PlayStation 4.5. Guillemot said that Ubisoft, like Electronic Arts, is not losing sleep over what might or might not happen, in part because the last console transition was "smooth."
"For the new consoles, there's nothing official on that so my expectation is we will have another cycle of consoles before we go to streaming," he said. "I don't have dates or anything but what I see is the manufacturers would prefer to have again a new hardware to take up the potential of new possibilities that they can bring.
"And I feel that last transition was very smooth and the volume that was bought by consumers was very high quickly so we don't see transition now as a potential problem; we see that as more of a way to boost the market."
Guillemot is not the only one in the industry who believes that consoles as we know them won't be around forever. EA's Peter Moore recently said that in the future "games will be accessed by streaming technology, so we don't need hardware intermediaries in between the two."
"If you and I want to play Battlefield 12 against each other, we'll just jump into a game via whatever monitor we happen to have in our homes," he added. "It'll be on a chip, rather than in a box."
In 2013, Tekken boss Katsuhiro Harada offered this take: "When there's the PS5, it will probably be just a controller and a monitor. Then, the thing that will be left is the name of the service."
More recently, gaming veteran Lorne Lanning said that PlayStation boss Shuhei Yoshida told him Sony itself was unsure if there would ever be a PlayStation 5.
What role do you think consoles will play in gaming's future? Let us know in the comments below!