Future consoles won't have discs - THQ

THQ CEO Brian Farrell predicts wide-ranging benefits when hardware makers bypass physical media by moving everything into the cloud.

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THQ CEO Brian Farrell is forecasting a cloudy future for the game industry. As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, Farrell predicted that hardware makers would eventually abandon physical media entirely in favor of cloud computing during a presentation at this week's Cloud Gaming USA Conference.

Physical media may be obsolete by the 41st millennium, but chainswords and flamethrowers are timeless.
Physical media may be obsolete by the 41st millennium, but chainswords and flamethrowers are timeless.

Farrell argued that the lack of a physical component would save money all around the industry. Hardware makers wouldn't need to include disc drives in their machines, which would make the units cheaper to buy and in turn boost sales and expand the market. As for developers and publishers, the lack of something tangible would mean avoiding the costs currently associated with producing, storing, and shipping inventory. A cloud-based game industry would also change the way game creators interact with their players.

"The box, ship, and done model is transitioning to observe, measure, and modify," Farrell said. The industry is now moving to "a games-as-a-service model where direct consumer feedback allows the ability to operate in this always on, always connected environment," he continued.

Despite his optimism for the cloud approach to gaming, Farrell acknowledged that the content still matters more to consumers than the particulars of how they access it.

"Technology alone will not give a clear benefit to the consumer," Farrell said. "Cloud computing and data storage could potentially do a lot, but it's what we do with it as game designers and publishers that really matters most."

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