While gamers’ excitement for the next console generation has just started to build, Ubisoft is here to swat us down with the prediction that it will be the last generation we see.
In a recent interview with Variety, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot discussed the impact that streaming has had on the future of gaming hardware. While Guillemot believes there will be one more console generation, he claims that streaming will soon be the exclusive medium by which gamers game.
“I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware,” Guillemot said. “With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home. There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us.”
The console-lovers among us may perceive this as dark days ahead, but Guillemot expressed that this evolution will help the industry grow and become more accessible.
“It is going to help the AAA game industry grow much faster,” he said. “We have to work on the accessibility of those games, to make sure they can be played on any device, but the fact that we will be able to stream those games on mobile phones and television screens without a console is going to change a lot of the industry.”
When Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime was presented with Guillemot’s theory, Fils-Aime told Variety that Nintendo’s recently launched Switch has no intention of slowing down.
“Nintendo Switch is the only platform delivering console-quality games that can be taken anytime, anywhere,” Fils-Aime said. “[The Nintendo Switch] just celebrated its first year on the market, and it has much more to offer in terms of unique experiences.”
Xbox’s Phil Spencer was similarly asked to comment on the prediction. Spencer expressed that Microsoft was less about outlasting the console competition, and more about improving the gaming industry as a whole.
“Our focus right now is asking the question, ‘What can Microsoft do for gaming?’ instead of simply how to stack up against the competition,” Spencer said. “It’s why we look at expanding the audience with Xbox Adaptive Controller, or how we make sure games can be multi-generational with projects like backward compatibility. I care less that people play Minecraft on an Xbox One, but that people can play Minecraft no matter what console or device they have in front of them.”
This suggests that Microsoft would not be adamantly opposed to the collapse of the rigid console generation structure if it meant better experiences for gamers. Spencer expanded on this stance, proposing that both hardware and software will transcend the generational format.
“Regarding your specific question about console generations, this is why I still see games themselves evolving beyond generations, and I’d like to keep evolving hardware as multi-generational too.”
“[Gaming is] less about having specific devices to play a certain game on, but having your favorite games accessible on any device you have.” he added.
Even if console generations are on the way out, we know we have at least one more ahead of us. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera recently confirmed the publisher has begun planning for its next console, although any kind of launch is at least three years away.