David Jaffe: The Next Generation Of Consoles Will Be The Last Generation

David Jaffe: The Next Generation Of Consoles Will Be The Last Generation

With the Wii U coming out towards the end of this year, and increasing speculation with regards to what Sony and Microsoft will do next — people are finally starting to talk about the next generation of consoles, and what they’ll mean for a rapidly evolving industry. David Jaffe, speaking to Games Industry Internation, believes that, no matter what happens, the next generation of consoles will most likely be the last generation.

“I don’t think any of the consoles are going to do as well as they used to,” he said. “It’s a declining market, I think. That doesn’t speak ill to any of them as pieces of hardware – it just speaks about the fact that the industry has changed, the business models have changed and the world has gotten even smaller with smartphones and tablets and the internet, and stuff like Gaikai and streaming.

“Look, consoles are going away. I think in 10 years – probably sooner, but 10 years is always the safe thing to say so you don’t sound like an idiot – but here’s what I’ll say: I’ll go on the record and say that the next generation of hardware will be the last consoles. And they should be.”

Jaffe believes that ‘AAA’ titles like Uncharted and God of War will still exist, but the delivery method will be different.

“The asteroid has hit the Earth, the dust cloud is covering the sun and the dinosaurs are on the way out – but not the games! We’ll always have great games and bleeding edge graphics… it’s just going to be a new delivery mechanism.”

It’s well worth heading to the full Games Industry International interview — to hear Jaffe talk about his opinions on the Wii U and more.

Game consoles will be extinct after next-gen, says Jaffe [Games Industry International]


  • So…what are people supposed to play games on then? Mobile devices? Can’t be serious about that can you? As much as all of these portable devices have taken the market by storm, many games just can’t be played well on them. Unless you expect every single “hardcore” gamer to turn a blind eye to their big screen, sound system, good controls and the like, I don’t expect consoles to just all of a sudden die off. Last I checked, the younger generations also loved their consoles.

    • He did say there will be a new method of delivery. Streaming games is one of the growing technology that allows people to play it at the best setting without ever the need for extreme pc setup. One idea might be creating something like appletv as a stream controller and we just stream any games we want by paying for the game or some monthly fees. It is still not considered console at that point of view.

      • Streaming games and digital distribution will be just one of several options for a while – I don’t see it becoming the only option for a long time. Especially in a market like Australia, with such a large portion of the population with access to sub-standard internet options, or anywhere in the second (and maybe even third) world.

        These are viable markets that a digitial-only economy would exclude.

      • Best is extremely subjective

        Most of the current streaming services have dont match what a local system could do and if you have enough packet loss compensation can actually look worse even if they are running better tech much in the same way YouTube video quality can get worse the further away from the centre of the video you get(since the argument is that the centre is of a higher priority than the extremities

        There is also the issue that the Internet cant handle that throughput since current tech uses 3GB+ an hour and while we may be talking 10 years time.

        Without some fibre or better technology there are quickly going to be massive bottlenecks.

        There is also the issue of developers then using streaming for control of the game. Never release the data for home use only allow a stream meaning they can remove the game at will from everyone who ever bought it because they have decided that they no longer want to support it. Something which could be a real issue considering that of you are only goin to stream th game you would be picking one specific computer config and programming to use that and only that for optimal performance and to root out the need for making it work on a variety of configurations

        Which is great for performance in the long run. But it could mean that in a generation or 2 of GPU’s when they start to retire older components to make way for the new the programming might not translate(which is exactly why this generation aren’t straight backwards compatible, MS emulation isn’t perfect and some games play far worse because of it and sonys was too expensive)

      • I agree. If my TV could stream all of my media, including AAA games, music and movies etc, then I would happily do away with a console. Ideally, all the storage would be cloud based too. No discs, no console, no clutter. Of course if the stream was slow and unreliable then the whole process would fall down.

      • Yeah to be fair you watch when the NBN reaches some sort of penetration point (probably in 50 years time!) OnLive will be out here quick smart and a lot of people will jump on that. But there will always be people (myself included) who will prefer a controller to either a touchscreen or KBM, these people will need to be catered for in some way.

    • I will remind you all this is David jaffe speaking he is an astronomical moron and has no idea what the market wants otherwise he would still be making God of war games

    • Pc’s are much more versatile and fluid, they will dominate the console brand wars, just hope all the game devs find a home should consoles die

    • Next year with Tegra 4 Nvidia will have a SoC as powerful (they say) as the Xbox 360/PS3. In ten years time we will have smart phones/devices with wireless connections to TV’s, sound systems and physical controllers. That same smart phone will also meet 90% of peoples primary computing needs and will also be capable of connecting through wireless networks for cloud computing.

      Just picture instead of a games console next to your TV you instead have your preferred smart phone. Every else will stay the same.

  • Even if the big players move away from “consoles” a niche market will emerge and be filled by say Sega or Nintendo.

  • All I can say is wrong! With all the console apps, console browsers, movie disc playback, streaming from PC, connect a mobile or tablet to the console etc. I think he is way off.

    So currently there are over 130 million combined PS3’s & xbox 360’s out there, you think that market is going away? Xbox had their largest console sales late last year and early this year.

    I personally have replaced my blu-ray, stereo, foxtel etc all with one console, the xbox 360. It handles all my movie rentals, all my music, displays my PC content, allows me to use YouTube on my TV and I can watch my Foxtel.

    I don’t see my iPad handling my Halo gaming, my foxtel, my PC based music or my windows phone etc.

    This guy is flat out wrong, sure things will segment but consoles have a long long life ahead of them.

    • I agree with this. Making consoles into media centres is a form of future-proofing. Time will tell how effective it is, but I suspect that the above article isn’t taking these features into account.

      Will be interesting to see what capabilities the console of tomorrow has.

    • So then your console is effectively not a console anymore. It’s a Home Media Box. You’ve effectively just proved David Jaffe’s point. Consoles are dying, and the makers have to adapt with the changing market, thus they are moving more toward a home media focus.

      • What?

        Was LG’s move to put internet access in the fridge a sign of the decline in whitegoods?

        These were features designed to distinguish consoles from their competition, not to save the console gaming industry.

    • Agreed 100%.

      Maybe consoles will loose the drive and will become digital download only….but i think that’s about it in terms of the next 10 years. several years beyond that….who knows….maybe console will become powerful mini PC’s with swappable parts (lol). Either way, i doubt consoles are going anywhere soon unless the 720 and PS4 fail hard.

    • Agreed, what we know as a consol is evolving so fast as well it blows my mind when i read stuff like this. Its not like cartridge based super nintendo days, my 360 is my homes cental media hub and my wifes personal fitness class. It can only get better from here!

  • Portable tablets that can be plugged up to the big screen and have controller-like peripherals connected to them, I could see that happening. This wouldn’t hinder the gaming at all if the hardware is good enough and obviously you would be able to use the tablet for tablet-y things too. Actually, it could be kinda cool.

    • Would need a decent cooling system for the tablets though. Playing a game, say…Crysis, on a modern tablet would likely be possible. But would draw a lot of power, and thus increase the heat output of the hardware.

      Heat management would need to be beefed up in gaming tablets, or maybe there would need to be an adoption of external dispersion methods…like docking stations with fans built in.

  • I disagree. Both Microsoft and Sony, though more Microsoft, have really being pushing consoles as more than just games systems, they’ve being pushing them as complete home media systems. I think because of this consoles will stay relevant for quite some time. At least until all that sort of stuff (dvd players, recording TV, streaming stuff) is built into the TVs themselves, which I honestly can’t see happening for quite a while.

  • I sort of agree with him. I have my PC hooked up to the TV via HDMI, and an XBox 360 controller plugged into it, providing the same experience as a console (for games with control pad support). However, it’s upgradable, easily patched, has practical applications outside of games and can stream and download content of many different flavours. Given that the next round of consoles sounds like they are moving closer to a PC architecture, it’s not hard to see why people might be predicting the death of the traditional console.

  • Weren’t people saying the same thing about the current gen stuff before it came out?

    Having said that though, I think consoles will still be around but not as we know them today. With the power we can squeeze into a handheld system now I think a fusion of big console and small handheld (and don’t say the vita is already there) with more fancy stuff, such as Augmented Reality will be the way things will head.

    And I don’t think that is really a bad thing myself.

    • They have in the past. In the 80s mario appeared on the commodore 64 in the original single screen Mario Brothers arcade game. IF and only if Nintendo hits a financial issue one day, they will.

      Don’t be so arrogant as to say they won’t either, you’re obviously not old enough to remember the days these words were said:

      “Sonic the hedgehog will NEVER appear on a nintendo console.”

  • Streaming is the future and I dont see why people are so against it. You dont need to buy expensive hardware and no need for upgrades.

    I do admit that its easily 10-20 years off before it becomes the viable option.

    Game streaming is relatively new so give it some time and it will get better and more responsive. I have tried onlive in the us and didnt notice any input lag myself. I knew it was there but if someone told me I wasnt streaming then I wouldnt of known.

    • For this to take off, there needs to be not only a technological shift, but a sociological shift as well.

      Currently, consumerism is king. People like owning things. The recent proliferation of insane collector’s editions should be proof that this social movement is in full swing and shows no signs of slowing down soon.

      Streaming is a matter of digital renting, in most senses. You have access, but you’re limited in what you’re allowed to do with it (For example, you can’t resell it, lend it out, or [presumably] go digging in the source code to make mods). And you don’t get something nice to put on your shelf and brag to people about. Until people are happy to give away those ‘rights’, ownership as a concept is not going away.

      Which means that there will be a market for consoles as well.

  • I think Jaffe, part of the 1% crowd is really trying to tell us that doom on earth is approaching. You can see it in his cold dead eyes. He knows its over. His basically telling us that in our post apocalyptic doom that there simply won’t be any PS5.

  • Perhaps another point of view is that consoles will still exist, but in a different form. For example, we may see the realisation of what the 3DO set out to achieve – a standardised console. In the same way that DVD/Blu-Ray etc have a standard feature set but the devices are made by various manufacturers. We could see a console with a core set of specs and features that companies (sony, samsung etc) can licence and modify.

  • I don’t think it’s reasonable to say conclusively what will or won’t happen in ten years when you look back at what we’re doing now compared to 2002, and compare THAT to 1992. But I think we’ll still have “consoles”, they just won’t be exactly like the consoles we have now. Look at how much the 360 alone has evolved in it’s capabilities compared to what it was at launch.

    The Xbox 4 will likely not be sold as a game console, but as something else that also plays games. I know the South Park guys made fun of the whole smartglass thing at E3 but why the hell not jack that shit into your fridge or oven? Why not have a device that is a hub for your entire household? Control your TV, stream media, play games, dim the lights, change the temperature. Isn’t this the kind of thing we want to be computerised anyways? Why not have that device be an Xbox you can remotely control with your iPhone? Why the hell not?

  • Wait… wait… hang on… I thought the cool thing was to say that the PC was dying… now consoles too?? So in 2022 all I’ll have to look forward to is single-player Abacus 1000?
    If Consoles AND PC are dying, what the heck is doing the streaming?
    As games get bigger, hardware requirements increase, dedicated hardware will always be needed. In 10 years the 4k/8k definitions will be out – try streaming THAT on the NBN…

      • I think you missed my point.
        Streaming is fine for vids/music, but since we are talking games…
        The reason consoles exist now is that your DVD player doesn’t have the components to run Halo, etc. Consoles will become suped-up media players, but will always be consoles (where they get the media from is irrelevent). It’s the same reason the PC video cards are available – your onboard chips are fine for your basics, but if you want to see FarCry 8 in all it’s glory on your 4k TV 10 years from now, you need special hardware.
        And as for streaming game services, aussie bandwidth (even NBN) gives average performance in now gen games… so ramp the requirements up over the 10 years.
        Persistant local media will need to exist, unless games stop evolving now.

        • I think crowknee doesnt understand game streaming. Services like onlive remove the need for expensive dedicated hardware on your end at the expense of instantaneous input. The graphics are generated at the other end and streamed to you with all the graphixs tuned way

          • Turned way up. The nbn creates a perfect tunnel with all the bandwidth you will ever need. The. problem will be server locations and latency

          • And here is the point – to be able to provide todays console experience via streaming, the backend tech and infrastructure will be hugely expensive.
            When I talk streaming, I’m not talking just the info to the “box” (and isn’t this a console anyway??) but streaming GAMING. Latency is a pain in online multiplayer – would general users care for it in their stand-alone games?
            Streaming isn’t a replacement ideaology – it’s an option. You still need some type of box at the other end – your controller talks to something. That controller has a brand, so your box has a brand. That box handles your inputs/streaming/games… oh wait! That’s my console!

      • Um… I’m sure it would be totally possible to stream ultra hdtv on 1gb Ethernet over the nbn. This tech is already here and something nbnco plans to introduce in to the build at some point.

  • Consoles as we think of them today almost certainly won’t exist … but the industry is showing no sign of a decline in games consoles per se.

    Whether mobile, streamed, TV integrated, “airplay”, VR … jeez stuff that we haven’t begun to explore yet – fear not, the console experience from your sofa in the living room is here to stay.

  • He has a point, and if 10 years ago you said people wouldn’t buy discs and everyone got stuff off steam and PSN, then I’d laugh in your face. But now I buy barely anything retail, all my handheld games and pc games are off digital marketplaces.

    So yeah, streaming might be the way to go. It’s awesome tech, and it can only get better, most likely we’ll all have streaming boxes attached to TV’s or built into some. I think he has a point. Mobile gaming won’t change, I still see a market for the Vita/3DS with their buttons instead of touch screen only games, but I think our perception of a home console will change entirely.

  • These comments have some merit.
    Personally I’m not a fan of “streaming” games, least not any time soon in Australia. But digital distribution is only going to grow.
    Personally I think the industry should start converging on a standardised hardware platform. Kind of like a steam box. Think optimised PC running something like Windows 8 hooked up to a TV with full support for controllers, wheels, kinects, moves etc
    At the end of the day a console is a PC with limited non game capabilities. I predict a single piece of hardware that could be your home PC, your Console, your Home Theatre device, link easily to your tablet and smart phone and connect to all other network devices.
    The benefit would be developers and game designers would have a single standardised platform, but I doubt this would ever happen because of the competition in the console market.
    I think it’s a utopian solution, ideal but ultimately unreachable.

  • i wont mind streaming games to tablet like devices but please for the love of gaming do NOT MAKE IT TOUCHSCREEN CONTROLS ONLY! It still is horrible compared to physical controls. If used together with regular physical controls touch screens are fine (make something like the Wii U controller).

  • While I really like Jaffe’s games, he does have a habit of running his mouth. If he honestly thinks that streaming will be the mainstream form of gaming in 10 years, he is talking out of his ass. Do you know how expensive it would be for company’s to install the infrastructure for that? It would take two decades or more, just to get it even started.

  • Yes we know consoles are changing with delivery, DRM, online persistence (another word for DRM), collector’s editions, alternate media, apps and more changing over the last 3 years alone we can expect the landscape in 10 years to be in a completely different place.

    I just don’t have the arrogance to submit an answer as to what that may be in 10 years.

    What we can surmise from the current movements is that the next gen consoles should and will be looking to become the hub of all forms of entertainment delivery in your living room. That is what they built the PS3 to do and retrofited into the 360 and trying (read: failing) to do with the Wii U. The next gen is simply going to extend this further.

    I honestly don’t know what will come after that.

  • I suspect that consoles will be integrated into tv sets when Sony and Microsoft make deals with manufacturers. It will use some form of digital delivery (psn/live/steam). controllers can be bought for it for those that want to use it for more than an inbuilt media centre.

  • Your phone/tablet will be your console. Wirelessly connect to your controller for input, wirelessly stream the video/sound to your tv.

  • I think that if you use the traditional description of what the console is ” a machine only plays video games” then this rent a quote guy is a merely stating the obvious. Consoles now days are really content delivery systems that push content from third parties and then from the manufacturer whether that is Sony, MS or Nintendo. Just look at E3 as an example

  • Have to say I agree.. what we are going to end up with, and we are already seeing them appearing now, is all-in-one systems that do everything but are made up of standardised parts. The reason consoles work so well is that they are standardised and it makes it not only easy to develop for but also to ensure a consistent end-user experience. We’re already seeing laptops and PCs that are standardised insides emerging into the market for this very reason.. in 10 years, I hope that is what we basically end up with.. even now you can pretty much get 5 (sometimes more) years out of a decent PC setup and still be playing the latest games are decent resolutions… with a bit more standardisation it will make getting the best setup cheaper…

  • Consoles are here to stay for one simple reason… DRM.
    It is a lot easier to use a DRM scheme to protect software on a console, streaming is easier still but requires a level of internet access that I honestly can’t see happening for more than 50 years, at which point games will have evolved and data requirements changed to a point where we probably still won’t be able to do it.
    The delivery method is changing now, from physical to digital, but that is boosting the console economy (as you can’t sell a digital download, and the DRM keeps it from being pirated)

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