Ex-Xbox exec: No future for consoles

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

402 Comments

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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adamchuff

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i could have said all that alot different but i did it like that. if you dont get it message me and i can dumb it down or intellectually spruce it up for you.

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adamchuff

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why is this guy not part of the xbox family still? because he is an idiot, thats why. he probably has no clue how to work one & is a $dolla chaser$. he don't care about happiness people get from gaming, people who own a console system have one because they most likely prefer it to the pc, that does not mean they don't have one. im sure there are a few people here that are older than 12 that remember when sega decided they were gonna come out with a channel that you turn on your sega, flip to the channel & play any game out for the sega gen. but hmmm... where did it go?.... seems it went 6 ft deep because people still used the system & game stores. anyway my point is, the merge of all this tech was & is so people could enjoy their console! not have to have your friend from across the globe come over to play a game w/ you. there is a myriad of reasons that they have done all that they have w/ consoles, but im pretty sure not one of those reasons is not to ultimately destroy the damn thing. if that was to happen im pretty sure somebody else would pick up where they had left off, look at linux w/ their open source programming, you can do whatever you dream up.. plain & simple i do not think game systems are gonna die out, the sega channel died which was a great idea but it was not worth it & this guy is practically saying the future is relatively the same thing that already failed. i just think he is bitter that he is not getting his fat check from microsoft anymore.

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chefbabyryan

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Wow what a moron! They are already multi-funtional now, no wonder he no longer works for them. I hear there are even these hand held things called an Iphones that can even word process and perform basic calculations. Woa man slow down you are blowing my mind!

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sellardwellar

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i bet he is right i think the next console that comes out will have everything.. except a keyboard and mouse... lol

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Danm_999

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"With all the money Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are putting on it I don't think they will let the consoles market just fall". They have no choice in the matter. Demand is going to drive and shift the industry, not supply.

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Santhin

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They're wrong in thinking that just because everything can do everything (I mean, there is little functional difference nowadays between a PC and a 360 and a PS3), that consumers will want just one of them. They'll continue to overlap functions, but that doesn't mean we won't still own PC's, 360's, and PS3's. Actually, if anything, I think it's more likely that we'll see the PC dieing away while consoles and other 'dedicated' peripherals take the stage, to the point that we just have a wifi server hub in our home while we check the internet and do everything else on pretty much every single thing we own instead of just on one single box in our bedroom.

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living_wmd_888

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Actually, my PC mostly gathers dust now. I don't surf the net much anymore - it is boring to me, I don't give a damn about MySpace or Facebook or any of that stuff. - and I'd rather game on my big-screen HDTV in my recliner than sit at a desk and stare at a dinky computer monitor anyway. Pundits predicted when CD-ROM first came out that PCs, set-top boxes, and "interactive movies" would wipe not only out the console market, but television as well, and that the current generation of that time - the Super NES and the Genesis - would be the final console generation. All-purpose "multimedia machines" such as 3DO and the Philips CD-i were the wave of the future. Those machines only sold a fraction of what the least successful dedicated machine of the following generation, the Saturn, sold - let alone the PlayStation and Nintendo 64.

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ir0xurs0x

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Personally, I agree with Lumenadducere. The age of the dedicated gaming console is coming to a close. The consoles play music, HD DvDs, as well as acess the internet. If you want to get truly technical, the 'dedicated' gaming console doesn't truly exist anymore.

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markio390

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I agree picklesrocks he should F*** off and stop talking aboulste bulls***

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picklesrocks

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maybe you should shut up you f****t you dont know s**t games will go on for ages ass the sales now are high and thats with todays tech i mean think about tommorow?

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Xaolen

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Gaming sales have never been so high. Consoles like the Wii, which have been on sale for over a year are still almost impossible to find. It's not a very accurate claim to say consoles will have no future. Its pretty much the opposite, consoles will replace all media players, more or less like the ps3.

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Fredrick2003x

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I think 5-10 years is way to short, I mean heck, I havn't even jumped on the HD bandwagon yet. I would say more like 15-20.

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DDR_Midian

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craftieman05 "I think in the future their is only going to be one console. Mainly becuase of the lace of system exclusives." Dare I take a guess at which system you own?!

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DonutTrooper

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I agree with people making these sorts of predictions, but I think they're a little too early in their idea.

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eminem_trick_01

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This fact is can be believable , as a matter of fact the graphics now (HD) on PS3 ,Xbox 360 and PC are overage , so in about 5-10 years you can't imagine ps4 with higher definition than today , it's impossible.

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Lumenadducere

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Makes sense - we're already seeing it with the PS3 and (to a lesser extent) the 360. It's kinda funny how consoles split away from the PCs and now they're slowly working their way back. Heck, a console that plays movies, music, games, and lets you go online really is a PC with a different UI.

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drangel_jam

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5-10 is too soon. Maybe 20 years from now, if so. People will always go to the store for hardcopies.

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dithindious

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I agree with him enirely. I see one general purpose device such as a pc that can be accessed with various medium ie a tv and handset etc. Local hardware while neccesary in certain areas ie the access medium or handset will probably be 'virtualized' as he said. With network conectivity and bandwidth speeds increasing all the time it'll be more likely you pay a certain amount to access hardware stored in a warehouse hundreds of miles from where you live. Just my thoughts and agreements though.

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edhc44

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He's just spiteful that he's gone from a heavyweight name in the industry to a probably flash-based game development site with a stupid name. But then again, the guy is selling his fish, 'though I can assure this fish is rotten.

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zgreenwell

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All entertainment options will converge into your video game console.

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Hvac0120

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PC's have their problems too. Upgrades are required to be able to play the latest games. If you want to play Crysis with all the perks, you will have to go out and upgrade pretty much everything on your PC. It costs a lot more money to do that than to buy a dedicated game console and a game disc. Also, a lot of PC games require an install, meaning that storage is taken up. Also, BC on PC's is just almost as bad as on consoles because it's all about the operating system. If the operating system can't install the program because of changes from the previous one, then you are out of luck or you have to be technically inclined to know how to get multiple OS's running in order to play. I see consoles continuing to add functionality and becoming a center of the media room. I see PC's doing what they are best at - office work, video editing, and internet. I think there is a good market for both, but I also think the distinction between the two is going to get slimmer as time goes on. Digital distribution has a lot of problems that it needs worked out. Mostly is the fact that people like me don't want to pay for something and never actually own it. Imagine you purchase a game, play it for two days, and then the company shuts down their servers. You are now out the money for the game and you don't even get to play it. There are also a lot of other problems such as broadband availability, current download speeds, storage space, and more. The U.S. is not ready to move forward to all digital and I don't think it will be in the next 10 years. Not unless a lot of thought goes into it and companies invest in faster-than-broadband for the entire nation.... Just too many hurdles.

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craftieman05

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I think in the future their is only going to be one console. Mainly becuase of the lace of system exclusives.

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thenephariouson

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As long as theres Consoles, there will be money to be made.

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AceCometh

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As long as there's money to be made, there will be consoles.

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MetaRidley42

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Where's my flying car, Mr. Duncan?

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glennwinton

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yeah, i'm sure that will happen, everyones just gonna be like "well, we aint making enough money, lets just stop making hard ware and start making games for the PC"

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DJ_Quack_Quack

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This dude is either on too much crack or he watch too much sci-fi film. If he is not on those two categories, somebody call the mental asylum. I think they are missing a patient. "There's hardly any technology difference between some hard disc video recorders and an Xbox 360 for example.." That is one of the most ridiculous quotes and an insult to anyone who thinks. How the hell did this guy got into microsoft and became an executive if he does not know the difference between the two products he mentioned?

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Pete5506

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Dose this guy know what he is talking about?

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nate1222

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There are hardware devices that play games and utilize OSs; They're called "PCs". Most people have one, some two. If the day ever arrives when consumers learn how to compare and install video/graphics cards, PCs may well take over the gaming scene. Add the prospect of PC game developers having lower system requirements (like WoW, Counter Strike, WarHammer 40,000), and that day might be sooner than y'all think. Why not just game on a device you already use.

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mudasse

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Duncan under-estimate 1 fact ; Big companies need to sell a lot of hardware to survive, and customer are always looking forward to buy the next greatest thingy. Even if it is crap eye candy! So, unless Nvidia and Ati start selling "3D TV" or "3D Reality projector" to play a game virtualy in your living room, there will be some kind of consoles! Thought, that would be awesome to play a fps and shot a 3D model in front of you! Might wreck the whole place by jumping right and left and Intel will sell replacement furniture also !

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dirty55409

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I'm glad I didn't actually get flamed for that post. I must say with some of the positives of having less console oriented gaming, I'm not looking forward to proprietary everything. e.g. renting movies 4 dollars a piece and expiring after 72 hours or whatever, or what if a hard drive crashes (magnetic platters don't last forever) all your movies, games, music, downloads etc are all gone!? yeah putting all your eggs in one basket isn't always the best idea, but that is the way the electronic/virtual/wi-fi/ juggernaut is heading. God save us all lol jk it probably won't be drastic, or even across the board, you don't have to clutch your consoles so tightly :)

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woofie13

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lol, a lot of people bought the PS2 because it was a dvd player... I don't think there's been a dedicated console for a while. except the wii, but it was downgraded... can't even play dvds. so annoying. I would much expect the next console to have a huge HDD, like 500gb- 1TB... and have multiple OSs, like Linux on the PS3, but more so. Beryl would be tite! I can't see gaming dying for a long time; I could see the download service increasing though.

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treb3

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EA needs to make a system after they buy 2k

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synapticflow

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Yuck! I'm tired of this drive for the "you pay, but get no physical media" world.

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dual_barrel

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could be!

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nate1222

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I doubt consoles will actually "die". I do think they'll cool off a bit, though. Like many long time gamers, I've grown weary of the propietary issues with consoles. I still own a GameCube and plan to get a Wii. But for the most part, I'm a PC gamer. The main reasons regard practicality: when I purchase a new PC - I can install my old games, video card, RAM, etc... MY INVESTMENT CARRIES OVER. Current consoles don't even allow you to use your old controllers or mem cards and the BC with software is half hearted if even existant. No one likes the idea of having to keep 3 or 4 clunky boxes around in order to play their old favs. I, sure as Hell, don't. The Wii addresses these issues. The PC has been for years, though I've only recently stopped being lazy and learned the ropes. There will always be dedicated gaming devices. But I think that more consumers are going to get aquainted with vid cards and system requirements as a viable way of gaming on a device (their PC) that they actually NEED. There'll still be console gamers, but consoles' market share is going to pare back a bit.

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R3DN1N3

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What a horrible future if it ever comes true. The day video games play in ONLY 1 console or the day we all bare witness to the extinction of game consoles is the day I stop being a gamer.

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oskermayor

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Wow... I cannot believe the ignorance of some people on here. I have to totally agree with dirty55409 on this one. Long gone are the days on a dedicated video game console, i.e ONE THAT ONLY PLAYS VIDEO GAMES. Now we have consoles that play dvd's, blu-rays, hd-dvd's, stream music and videos, store music and videos and pictures, browse the internet, and soon to include DVR capability. He has a point, the so-called dedicated consoles are moving more towards your standard PC. It is good, but also a shame at the same time, as these additional features can take away the power of some of the hardware. :-/

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dirty55409

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ugh does anyone here know how to read??? He's not saying videogames or gaming business will die! He's saying that DEDICATED consoles will die... We'll still be playing videogames, but trust me cutting out hardware affiliation(aka fanboys) would be a great thing. Imagine being able to instantly stream a game to your HDTV in realtime. People predict optical drives will become obsolete eventually, why not consoles? Bandwidth is getting bigger, so big games(crysis?) could be handled easily in 10 years. The future is always full of surprises

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keyser27

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Good lord. Usually trolling is what message board readers do, if this guy was on here I'd flame him as an ignorant troll. People who believe this way have no business being in the game business at all. He should be selling "bandwidth".

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jbot666

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Maybe this is why he is an ex Xbox exec? No consoles huh? I doubt the business model for video games is going to change anytime soon It's one thing that console makers are diversifying but to eliminate the console all together I dont think so.

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y2guru

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This guy is a Yo-Yo!! from a software development standpoint I can see that a single platform would be a nice to have, but as long as you have companies out there with deep pockets willing to risk vast quantities of cash to introduce a new platform there will always be more than 1 platform. Silly boy, thats like saying there will be only 1 PC Manufacturer in the world.

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Jebril

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There will always be a demand for video games, thus there will always be a demand for video game consoles.

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advandam

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bit off a generalisation i think. i think consoles will still be around just more like PC's and digital television. the console would have to exist, coz my parents who were born in the 1940's-50's won't wana buy something that has the option for playing games!

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DrKill09

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@willripyouanew1 Yeah, and before the ps1, there was the Sega CD, and that came out in, what, 92? This guy is out of it. Game consoles have done more than just games since about 92.

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smbius

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My response: << LINK REMOVED >>

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dryden555

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One issue with virtualization that will concern businesses is the great potential for piracy.

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necronaux

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A lot can happen in 5 to 10 years. He could have just as easily said there will be one system that does everything. Who's going to remember what he 'predicted' in 10 years?

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willripyouanew1

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Gaming systems have been more than just gaming machines for a while, the Playstation One used to play Music CD's and that was loooong time ago, so what is this old fart talking about.