Ex-Xbox exec: No future for consoles

Former head of Microsoft's European game business sees an end to the dedicated gaming system.

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Convergence is a big theme in the gaming industry right now. Gaming devices no longer just play games: The PlayStation Portable is a phone; the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will both get digital video recorder functionality; and the DS can be an interactive program at the ball game or a museum tour guide.

One former industry heavyweight thinks the technological convergence of the industry is such a growing trend that in 5 to 10 years, he believes, dedicated gaming systems will be a thing of the past. Before he retired from his role as vice president of Microsoft's European home and entertainment division in 2003, Sandy Duncan oversaw the company's Xbox operations in the continent. Now Duncan's back in the gaming industry as the CEO of upstart game development site YoYo Games, and he shared his view of the future in an interview with That VideoGame Blog.

"The business model is very risky and the costs associated with creating new hardware are incredibly high," Duncan said. "There is a definite convergence of other devices such as set top boxes. There's hardly any technology difference between some hard disc video recorders and an Xbox 360 for example. In fact, in 5 to 10 years I don't think you'll have any box at all under your TV; most of this stuff will be 'virtualized' as Web services by your content provider."

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