Original Xbox creator Seamus Blackley recently made an appearance on the Xbox Expansion Podcast, where he had some interesting thoughts to share on the future of games consoles, and whether the cloud will eventually take over.
Blackley was answering a question about how well he thinks Phil Spencer is running Xbox at the moment, pointing out that the team is navigating an important time “as the meaning of compute changes”, calling it “super challenging”.
Here’s a bit more of what he had to say about this:
“Nintendo is the easiest case, but what Xbox and PlayStation mean – as businesses built on shipping advanced hardware that runs bespoke games – is really in question. It’s difficult to see what the path forward is.”
“Are we going to have local compute anymore? Meaning, are you going to have a device… or are you going to have merely a player for services that are computed elsewhere, from data which is stored elsewhere? We already do a lot of that.”
Of course, Xbox is already focusing intensely on the cloud with its Xbox Cloud Gaming venture, while Blackley pointed out that Sony is also going down that path, albeit “a little more conservatively” at the moment.
This is key, he says, as Microsoft and Sony need to make sure they’re not entirely dependent on consoles:
“Games have always followed the general trend in compute… what it means is, wherever computers go, games will follow the computers there. So, if the computing industry decides that they’re going in some direction for some reason (and part of that reason is going to be games because it’s such a big, important influence), then the nature of the business of games is going to have to follow suit.”
“You have to make sure your business isn’t dependent on anything that’s going to vanish. That doesn’t mean it’s going to vanish, it doesn’t mean that consoles are going to be over, but *if* they are, you’ve got to be ready for that.”
As Blackley stated, there’s no suggestion from him that consoles are definitely going to “vanish” anytime soon, but rather Microsoft and Sony (and potentially Nintendo as well) need to at least be prepared in case that were to happen.
Back in 2020, Xbox boss Phil Spencer answered a question about whether the Xbox Series X and S would be the last dedicated consoles from Microsoft, stating that he didn’t believe that would be the case. He said he felt there would be “a world where people want to play on a television” for a long time yet, and promised that the company was “committed to that and we will deliver great console experiences”.
What do you think’s going to happen with consoles in the future? Let us know down below.