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Ubisoft CEO: Cloud Gaming Will Replace Consoles After the Next Generation (arstechnica.com) 144

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Better start saving up for that PlayStation 5, Xbox Two, or Nintendo Swatch (that last follow-up name idea is a freebie, by the way). That generation of consoles might be the last one ever, according to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. After that, he predicts cheap local boxes could provide easier access to ever-evolving high-end gaming streamed to the masses from cloud-based servers. "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 in a recent interview with Variety. "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."

Ubisoft CEO: Cloud Gaming Will Replace Consoles After the Next Generation

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2018 @04:44PM (#56752206)
    So here we go again. Anyone think it will actually work this time?
    • Gaming is dead to me. Greed and idodiocy abound and nothing to inspire. I'd rather just replay Bioshock, Elder Scrolls, Starcraft, Diablo, or a million other games I love. X1 is a giant dust collector in our home and PS4 never got purchased... coming from someone who has 1200+ Xbox 360 games alone.

      • You have also grown older.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          This. I used to play games and sports, watch films, listen to music and read fiction novels, but as I got older I lost interest in childish things like that. I'm into serious things that matter, like the stock market, taxes, life insurance and maximizing profit, now that I am so much more mature.

      • You know, I have moderator points but when I clicked the dropdown, there was no sadface reaction.
      • Too bad, 'cuz video games are really really good right now. You just backed the wrong horse with X1.

    • Tick, Tock. Thin Client, Fat Client. Now with games.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There'll be vintage games. There'll be the latest you can stream. And there'll be a boatload of "server no longer available" in between.

    • by leonbev ( 111395 )

      An Onlive type streaming service will work when we all have Gigabit fiber connections to our homes with less than 25ms of latency to the central server. Anything more latency than that, and you won’t have a gameplay experience comparible to a game console.

      So, yeah, cities might have this 5 years from now, but rural areas probably will not have this option for a decade or more.

  • Yawn... someone predicts this every single generation of consoles.
    • Not just consoles. Thin clients were supposed to replace all desktops by 2000. Ask Larry Ellison.

      • Well, to be fair, how much of your day to day work is done in a web browser vs a desktop application? Email? Document editing? Chat? Ellison was right, he just suffered the curse of Cassandra and was laughed at.
        • Document editing: desktop. Scroogle Crapps and Orifice Online both stink.
          Chat: mobile app, generally.
          Email: desktop app or mobile app. Webmail is slow and silly.

        • Less than half, of work. About 0% of gaming...have you seen HTML games? Pretty much any tool where I have a choice, the native application is better. The only exception being mobile apps that are just thinly wrapped web pages.

          Ellison wasn't right, a web browser is way, way fatter than the thin clients Ellison was trying to sell, which were glorified X terminals.

        • ... but it certainly no longer is. If you see the insane amounts of CPU usage for browsers executing tons of JavaScript, decoding video, rendering 3D graphics - I doubt that you can still call them "thin".
        • Probably 5-10% of my work is web-based. The rest is done via remote desktops...but I often have 5-10 RDP sessions running at a time...
          • A remote desktop is actually doable with a thin client. Pretty much the definition of a thin client, in theory, if not in practice.

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      When is this cloud computing idea going to fade away and die?
  • The only reason that hardware is becoming less important is because it hasn't been improving fast enough. It used to be that everything was obsolete within 3 years, but now set hardware can function well for 5, and in the future, it's lifetime will extend further. If Moore's Law weren't dying, console hardware would remain important.
    • It doesn't need to improve. We have enough flashy graphics now to last is indefinitely. The problem is that content and licensing aren't lucrative enough as one time purchases. So without a hardware sales boom coming, they want to just milk the games forever.

    • But hardware doesn't really need to improve anymore. PCs are good enough for most games now without going out and buying $2000 video cards, especially if you don't care about FPS. Sure, not good enough for VR games, but that's a passing fad. And consoles are nearly as good as PCs. Especially as so many games put you on rails so that you're guaranteed not to see too far in the wrong direction and screw up frame rate. Go back to games from 5 or 10 years ago, they're still good, they still look great, and

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2018 @04:45PM (#56752214)

    You will pay us fees to access the same content, forever and ever and ever.

  • Just like cell phones and tablets were going to kill consoles FOREVER!

    Oh, and all that just after consoles were going to kill PCs FOREVER.

    Oh, and just before that the opposite was true. Actually, that one kind of oscillates. FOREVER!

    People seek experiences that are new to them. None of these technologies actually subsume ALL of the features of the previous as much as any of these stories indicates.

    Just like single-player is going to kill multiplayer, and vice versa every couple of years, it's all just em

  • Wasn't the PS3/XB360/Wii supposed to be the last generation of console before streaming? I think especially with the Japanese market that as long as you can't economically stream a game over cell towers, we're still going to have the ability to purchase physical games.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Also there's the latency issue. Sending actions in multiplayer is relatively low bandwidth and latency compared to a HD/4K/8K stream that's been rendered on a remote server.

  • Latency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, 2018 @04:51PM (#56752266)

    Streaming games might be dandy for flight sims or RTS but any game that's sensitive to latency will be complete shit.

    • by darkain ( 749283 )

      Just for reference though, the highest point in latency in the link is usually the first hop of either DOCSIS or DSL. These are typically in the 10-20ms round trip time out to the first hop. However, fiber is becoming more popular. My first hop RTT time with residential fiber is ~1ms, with full RTT to endpoints such as Google and other large providers in the ~3ms area. Considering 60 FPS gaming means 16.6ms/frame, this is already well beyond the performance requirement for that. And considering the predicti

    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      The last time I tried it (a long time ago) it wasn't even suitable for graphic adventures. Even if the latency doesn't impact gameplay, it makes your mouse feel really sluggish as you try to move it across the screen.
  • by Murrdox ( 601048 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @05:01PM (#56752312)
    Consoles are not going to be "replaced" by cloud game streams. It's not surprising that this CEO has forgotten that there are many gamers, all over the world, who do not have access to high-speed internet connections that are required for an online-only service. An average console generation is approximately 5 years. We are not 5 years away from ubiquitous high-speed internet connections in rural and undeveloped areas of the world.

    Microsoft tried making this mistake with the X-Box One, and they were so short-sighted that they almost went to market with it, before they realized that by making their console online-only they will deny themselves many thousands of valuable customers.

    Cloud game streams will evolve as a subscription model to supplement (and for some people) replace the gaming console. Just like Netflix supplements cable television for many, and replaces it for some.

    Eventually we may have cable set-top boxes or television sets with the "Xbox" app and the "Playstation" app and the "Nintendo" app built into them so that we can download and play games through these boxes instead of buying a dedicated console. However, consoles will still be necessary and still exist for the people who want to take their gaming with them on the road, or when they deploy overseas, or if they live in an area without broadband.
    • Latency. Twitch games such the FPS genres MUST be played locally. Speed of light is the limitation here. And while you could make the case that latency is already a factor when playing online, it will be even worse having having to send the commands, then wait for a video redraw response.

      A thin-client game console? Not happening

    • by indytx ( 825419 )

      Microsoft tried making this mistake with the X-Box One, and they were so short-sighted that they almost went to market with it, before they realized that by making their console online-only they will deny themselves many thousands of valuable customers.

      It's not just customers without internet but also parents who don't want their children online.

  • Nintendo Switch is already next generation. Wii U was the PS4 and Xbox One. Wii was PS3 and 360. GameCube was PS2 and Xbox. So there is no "saving up", if you have a Nintendo Switch you are already on a next generation console.
  • FarCry 5 looked great in Youtube promos, but is the most simple, repetitive, dumbed down, soulless and unenjoyable FarCry ever made. Even the story is terrible. Now this CEO is probably chums with Microsoft's current "Cloudmaniac" CEO. They must have played Golf together and decided "Lets make really terrible AAA games, charge lots of dough for them and put them all in the cloud!"
  • by Toshito ( 452851 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @05:11PM (#56752368)

    So they found a way to ignore the laws of physics?

    Current consoles already have a lag problem. With wireless controllers, a TV that does all sort of processing to the image before displaying it, all of this is adding a small amount of delay that is already perceptible.

    Adding the delay of sending the actions I do on my controller to the server over the internet and receiving the generated frames to display on the TV will add way too much lag.

    But the younger generation seems to be unaware of the growing lag problem in the current world. It seems to me that as more and more of our technology is being driven by software instead of hardware, everything responds slowly to inputs. It used to be that changing a TV channel or changing volume was almost instantaneous, now you wait half a second for the damn thing to respond to your button press. I'm so tired of having to deal with laggy unresponsive touch screens, it's spreading like cancer in the technological world.

    Now get off my lawn!

    • But the younger generation seems to be unaware of the growing lag problem in the current world.

      People mentally account for lag pretty well. Up to 3 seconds can become transparent if someone is eased into it.

    • No more dusting off your Half-Life or Legend of Zelda disc for a replay with internet-hosted game processing - you wanna play you gotta pay. Monthly.

      Add the death of second hand sales and piracy - can't crack the game if you have no access to the game's binaries or libraries - and what's not to love from the perspective of a scumfuck executive?

  • Why would game company’s shell out billions to build giant gaming centres all across the country when gamers are already willing to pay for the hardware themselves?
    And really physics is against them data can only move so fast, as anyone who has tried Steam's in house streaming can testify that is going to depend on the game. A lot of games like simulation or strategy games will work fine over a very low latency network. But just as many games, as in every first person shooter, the slight delay betw
    • Why would game companyâ(TM)s shell out billions to build giant gaming centres all across the country when gamers are already willing to pay for the hardware themselves?

      The recurring revenue of making it SaaS will make the data-centers more profitable, long term. And MS and Sony have the cash on hand to sink billions into data centers.

    • If gamers really paid for the hardware, they should have all the rights to their property, including the ability to install their own OS. Linux on PS3 turned out a farce and only managed to highlight the fact that the HW is sponsored by game prices.
  • Cloud gaming will end gaming sales after next generation.
  • Even if they could somehow solve the latency problem to make regular games playable, it still wouldn't be fast enough for VR. VR still needs local rendering hardware no matter what.
    • If anyone is wondering why VR needs local hardware it's because even very tiny amounts of latency between your head movements and the rendered image will make you nauseated.
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @05:27PM (#56752466)

    And hit your download cap how fast?

  • So we have this special "game mode" [cnet.com] in TVs to reduce processing delay to a minimum, but at the same time we expect to stream the game video from the cloud, at 10's to 100's ms RTT plus additional video encoding and decoding delay?

    Makes perfect sense to me...

  • First, Nintendo has stated that they intend the Switch to last 7 to 10 years. It's 15 months into that life cycle.

    He's overestimating how well gamers will tolerate being pushed into a business model very similar to Adobe CreativeCloud, with the added "features" of microtransactions and pay-to-win. Gaming is not a profession, it's recreation; as such, the market's perception of "necessary" is different.

    Then again, as much as gamers say they hate EA, they still put up with EA's skulduggery.

    This proclamation

  • Something about this doesn't quite sound right.
    I'm assuming there's a reason those empty boxes only only a "download the game at ______" are still showing up in wal-mart etc. I assume contractual obligations to the retail stores (otherwise there would just be a poster ad for the game or a voucher with a key you pickup. Why bother with a physical box?).

    Just my speculation, obviously: I would guess Ubisoft (probably in connection with other developers/publishers) are negotiating their terms with the likes of

  • A: How do you PAY for this? No one seems to be able to answer that. It's been six+ years now since "Cloud Gaming" has been the future and no one can answer how to get gamers to pay for this stuff. It might make sense for some corporations, but after a two years of heavy gaming on an Amazon instance you'll pay as much as a decent gaming PC of your own, let alone the price of a console.

    B: You can't play VR games on the cloud. You just can't. The lag would make you throw up a thousand times over. And VR is
  • I don't think this has anything to do with better gameplay or cheaper hardware or anything like that, I think it has more to do with them having more control over every aspect of the games. If none of it lives on anything local to you, then you have no control over it. Also: games as a service, instead of as a product. More renting things, less (or abolition of) actually owning a copy of a game. Or worse: you 'buy' a 'copy' of it, but it's 100% digital, and they can revoke it anytime they feel like it, and
  • I've been beta-testing this GeForce NOW cloud gaming thing from Nvidia. It's terrific. I can play the latest AAA games on an old potato with everything on high or ultra. I'm not joking. I can play games that were never released for Mac on my wife's Macbook Pro. Even games where I don't meet anywhere near the minimum requirements. No lag, no stuttering. Multiplayer games. FPS games. Racing games. Works flawlessly for me. The beta forums have people saying they're getting lag on PUBG or Fortnite but

    • Considering that internet providers are fighting tooth and nail to do as little as possible to provide service, and the fact that a monopoly has no incentive to upgrade their infrastructure, how long will it be before a reasonable number of people have sufficient ping times for this? Decades?
      • Considering that internet providers are fighting tooth and nail to do as little as possible to provide service, and the fact that a monopoly has no incentive to upgrade their infrastructure, how long will it be before a reasonable number of people have sufficient ping times for this? Decades?

        Good point. This will be a premium service, no doubt, but there were also people questioning what would happen when Netflix and streaming services were becoming huge.

        GeForce NOW might be a premium service when it rolls

  • Sell customers thin clients that connects to Cloud computing resources and stream the game.

    Sure will prevent piracy, you don't even have the hardware anymore. Forget 'jailbreaking' or otherwise tampering with their console, all you got is basically a lame Chromebook.

    Oh and forget forking over your payment and getting a console. This baby will be subscription based, like EVERYTHING is turning into. This last point I'm still on the fence of it being good or bad, there's some nice pros to subscriptions.


  • The position of this story is really ironic: right after a story about how 30% of West Virginia doesn't have internet access. Not just broadband. They don't have any internet access at all. And he really thinks streaming is ready to replace consoles?

  • I, for one, am looking forward to getting subscribed to our Cloud Overlords and stream Dwarf Fortress in h265.

  • When I was younger I was told we'd all be driving flying cars by now. I wonder how many people buy and play console/PC games vs how many people will have a good enough broadband connection to stream that service. And with net neutrality gone how much extra you'd have to pay for a lag free experience. In the last 16 years my internet connection has gone from 33.6kbps to 7mbps. With the last 10 years being stagnant at 7. Given the release schedule of consoles I think UBI's ambition is slightly higher in exp

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly