Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has planted a flag, stating the he believes the next console generation will be the last as the games industry moves towards streaming as a primary platform.
Guillemot points to the recent rapid advancements in streaming technology, suggesting that the future will be all about multi-device streaming, with games being delivered to anything from a high-end PC to a smartphone.
Speaking to Variety, Guillemot said: “I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware. With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home."
Guillemot describes this as one of the biggest innovations coming to the games industry and has claimed that it will help the AAA industry grow "much faster." although they will have to work on the accessibility of these games to ensure a parity of experience between people playing on a variety of devices.
Most other entertainment has seen a similar push towards streaming already. Both the music and film industries are now well-served by several streaming services — regrettably I'm already paying for three different ways to watch a movie when the mood strikes me — so it's not hard to imagine the games industry wanting to make the same jump.
However, streaming video games is altogether a tougher proposition. The recent popularity of battle royale titles for example, means that players will always be playing it online and demanding split-second feedback to their movements during a multiplayer match. This creates a need for a substantial internet connection if you're also looking to stream the game from a cloud server in glorious 4k.
However, take away the infrastructure concerns and it does seem like many games firms are pushing towards putting games on every possible platform where possible. Epic's Fortnite has recently found success on just about everything, and is now playable on anything from a smartphone to a high end gaming PC, with cross-play across most of those platforms possible.