The Xbox Series X will not be the last console from Microsoft. But the days of console systems are drawing to a close…
For over three decades, gamers have used consoles. Things really got cooking in the 1980s with the release of the Nintendo’s NES.
Then came Sega with the first MegaDrive, and finally in the early 2000s, Sony and Microsoft’s market-defining PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
From the mid-2000s onwards, the console gaming market has been dominated by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
But as Nintendo enjoys its massive success with its Switch console, Microsoft and Sony are looking at life beyond the console.
Microsoft Will Kill The Xbox Console – Eventually…
Microsoft knows this, and so too does Sony. Game developers and tech giants like Apple and Google do as well.
In the not to distant future, console gamers will play games in a similar fashion to how we consume TV shows and films via Netflix.
You’ll pay a monthly fee for a Game Pass and all you’ll need to play Xbox games is a controller, a HDTV, and a solid internet connection.
No console will be necessary, apparently. This isn’t going to happen over night, though – it could take years, maybe a decade. No one seems to know the exact roadmap for when we’ll go fully console-less.
Microsoft On The Future of Console Gaming
“Cloud is key to our hardware and Game Pass roadmaps,” said Liz Hamren Xbox corporate VP of gaming experiences and platforms.
She added: “But no one should think we’re slowing down on our core console engineering. In fact, we’re accelerating it. We’re already hard at work on new hardware and platforms, some of which won’t come to light for years.”
And on the subject of integrating Xbox directly into TVs, Hamren said:
“We’re working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Game Pass experience directly into internet-connected TVs, so all you’ll need to play is a controller. Beyond that, we’re also developing stand-alone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection you can stream your Xbox experience.”
Microsoft Doubles Down on Cloud Gaming
Speaking at E3 2021, Microsoft confirmed that Game Pass will be coming to iPhone and web browsers in the coming weeks, a big move that will unlock the service to potentially millions of more users.
With its focus on cloud gaming via Game Pass, Microsoft now has a robust two-prong gaming operation: it has its hardware (with the Xbox) and it has its cloud-based option Game Pass.
Game Pass is the future. Cloud gaming will remove the need for consoles at some point in the not too distant future. But there are hurdles we need to tackle on the way.
The most notable of which is internet speeds. Not everybody has fast internet.
The long-term evolution of 5G will help expedite this to an extent, but there’s always going to be people left out – those in poorer countries or in rural areas.
The idea, at this juncture in time, of a complete, 100% cloud-based gaming ecosystem for Xbox seems bonkers.
But just keep in mind that just over 10 years ago no one had smartphones. And now look at where we are?
Could we see the Xbox console killed off inside the next inside the next 9 years, before the start of the 2030s? It’s possible…