Phil Spencer – The head of Xbox thinks despite streaming improving over time, we’ll still play games ran on local consoles even in 2030.
Spencer talked about the short-term future of the gaming industry on the newest Game Maker’s Notebook podcast, which is run by Ted Price, who happens to be the founder of the now Sony Interactive Entertainment-owned Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man…).
„I think getting to a world where you don’t have to own one device to play specific games helps the industry. That doesn’t mean owning a device isn’t part of my experience. I think I’m going to have a game console plugged into my television for the next decade-plus. The best way for me to play on my TV is to have a local device, download, and play. But sometimes I’m not in front of my television, sometimes I’m not in front of a device with [native gaming capability], and that’s our bet on the cloud [gaming]. […] For us, we do mean it when we say “when everybody plays we all win.” […] The cloud is a means to an end,” Phil Spencer said. So he doesn’t think the local hardware is going to disappear any time soon.
However, he believes that we’re going to see more console variety: „We’re going to end up with more differences underneath our TVs than before. I think there will be a plethora of streaming-only consoles that don’t have a disc drive, that doesn’t even have a local storage device. It’s just how do I get that signal to the television. I think you’ll see more high-end stuff as well. If I think about video, and I think about music, streaming services have liberated those types of media to all the devices around me. I now have way more [ways] to watch TV. […] Same thing with music. I think games are going to go [a similar direction] Phil Spencer said.
One thing that’s bummed me out about console, is I usually have one TV in my house my console is plugged into. The idea that I can’t just go to any TV in my house and sit down and play the games that I want to play — we should have that ability. […] My ability to throw that content from [my main console] or from the cloud to all the TVs in my house, is something that I think we should have. That helps us in terms of families playing together and new creative scenarios. So, I think we’re going to see a multitude of different devices in my house that allows me to play,” which could explain why the Xbox Series X is a name. We wouldn’t rule out a streambox of some sorts with the name Xbox Series S – Phil Spencer said.
Previously, we wrote about how he doesn’t consider Nintendo and Sony as the main rivals but Amazon and Google, as they have a hefty cloud infrastructure (which could also be used for game streaming): „When I make statements about who I see as the competition and who I don’t see as the competition…I would much rather see companies that have been part of bringing the games industry to where it is today be leaders for the next 20 or 30 years because there are learning and responsibility those teams have held for a long time that has brought us to that point. I think that learning and understanding and responsibility should be part of gaming’s next 50 years. […] I find that my conversations with those other companies are usually more collaborative than “two enter, one may leave” scenarios. In that world, I’d love the industry to continue to evolve through both competition and cooperation. We should compete in areas that help us get better. I love the brands that are in the industry today and the safety players have with those brands and for us, as an industry, it’s great when all those brands continue to grow,” Phil Spencer says.
He also believes the industry should embrace monetization dexterity because he thinks it leads to the best creativity. He also added the following: „We need to find new players, and new forms of monetization to open up those new player bases and new ways to build games, new creativity; that’s a great path to growth.” He brought up something he experienced during his tour to Africa. He saw people in taxis or buses watching ads that gave them money to spend on the Internet. He says this model could be viable in games so players could get in-game currency with advertisements. The head of Xbox says Microsoft is in a unique situation, as the Redmond-based company is one of the first trillion-dollar companies of the world. (That’s 10^15. So write a number 1 and FIFTEEN ZEROES after it.) Perhaps this is how they can afford the Xbox Game Pass model. However, Phil Spencer didn’t answer the question of whether this service is viable or not…
Yesterday, we already touched upon the Xbox Series X, but that was mostly via the backwards compatibility. Now, let’s see what else the Xbox Wire post has. „[…] Delivering four times the processing power of an Xbox One and enabling developers to leverage 12 TFLOPS of GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) performance—twice that of an Xbox One X and more than eight times the original Xbox One. Xbox Series X delivers a true generational leap in processing and graphics power with cutting edge techniques resulting in higher frame rates, larger, more sophisticated game worlds, and immersive experience unlike anything seen in console gaming. […] Our patented form of VRS empowers developers to more efficiently utilize the full power of the Xbox Series X. Rather than spending GPU cycles uniformly to every single pixel on the screen, they can prioritize individual effects on specific game characters or important environmental objects. This technique results in more stable frame rates and higher resolution, with no impact on the final image quality. You can expect more dynamic and realistic environments powered by hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing—a first for console gaming. This means true-to-life lighting, accurate reflections and realistic acoustics in real-time as you explore the game world.” Sounds good so far.
Microsoft also promises quick immersion. They want to deliver it with a „next-gen” SSD, the Quick Resume function (it „lets you continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, returning you to where you were and what you were doing, without waiting through long loading screens”), the Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) („a new feature which synchronizes input immediately with what is displayed, controls are even more precise and responsive”), and there’s also the HDMI 2.1. It will deliver the Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and the Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): „ALLM allows Xbox One and Xbox Series X to automatically set the connected display to its lowest latency mode. VRR synchronizes the display’s refresh rate to the game’s frame rate, maintaining smooth visuals without tearing. Ensuring minimal lag and the most responsive gaming experience.” There will also be 120 FPS support.
We don’t want to repeat ourselves from yesterday (this article is long enough at this point), so we’ll mention the Smart Delivery: „This technology empowers you to buy a game once and know that—whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X—you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on. We’re committing to using Smart Delivery on all our exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, ensuring you only have to purchase a title once to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on. This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be released on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.” One studio has already decided to announce the utilisation of this function. We’ll get back to it later today. Also, the Xbox Game Pass, as well as the support of four console generations, are both important in the company’s marketing.
The Xbox Series X will launch this Holiday season. Here’s a DigitalFoundry video to wrap up.
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