The death of the PC. The death of consoles. They're expressions we've heard before. What I want to know is, if said platforms are to shed their earthly ties, what's going to replace them? With the rise (and fall) of cloud gaming, a successor exists — even if its mostly incorporeal to those outside the United States. So how long then will we be waiting for cloud gaming to usurp power from the likes of the Xbox, PS3 and PC?
Speaking with VentureBeat, NVIDIA's general manager of "GeForce Grid Cloud Gaming" Phil Eisler stated that he believes that the current and/or next round of consoles could well be the last. Here are his exact words:
I think the thing about the consoles... They say this is the last console and I am certainly a believer in that. The last one is almost 10 years old now in terms of the technology.
He doesn't mention who "they" are, but I'm assuming he means the media. The GameCube was released in 2001, so I guess he's having a go at the Wii. That said, the Xbox 360 and PS3 came out in 2005/2006, but the technology inside them is older than the those dates.
However you look at it, it's a big call. But is it really that far off the mark? I don't think you could have guessed five years ago that Sony and Nintendo's handhelds would be fighting it out with smartphones for market share, yet, here we are. As Eisler mentions, bandwidth is improving, latency is dropping and it's all getting cheaper. While I'll be the last to sell off my PC and living room hardware, it's hard to predict what we'll be sitting in front of in five years' time.
Of course, it comes down to what consumers actually go for. The collapse of OnLive showed that the numbers aren't there — at least not yet. These services are also exclusive to the US and even then coverage is not universal.
Eisler's confident NVIDIA has plenty of time to perfect its cloud technology as "hardcore gamer[s]" won't be abandoning their high-end hardware for a while yet. How long exactly?
There's still a gap to that GTX experience for the hardcore gamer. I think it'll be 10 years before we have to worry about them switching over to the cloud. They're pretty particular about their gaming experience. I don't think we have to worry too much about that right now.