The End Of Consoles Nigh? NVIDIA Believes So

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.

After OnLive: Here's why NVIDIA believes cloud gaming is just getting started [VentureBeat]


    I never would have taken the cloud seriously before, but OnLive did demonstrate it's possible. You don't need super tech on your end to play a super technical game, and it's something I never, ever thought of before then. So could it happen? Absolutely.

    Personally, I don't care WHAT exactly does change, as long as the games keep improving. So yeah, I'm open to anything.

      Games keep improving? Personally I believe games are declining and fast due to them becomming more and more popular and the developers/publishers starting to get greedy chasing the mola. Good examples of this decline off the top of my head are DLC, DRM and publishers "mainly EA" wanting a cut from 2nd hand sales. Gaming was at its peak in the mid 80s to the early 2000s when anyone who gamed was considered a nerd/geek and games were either released complete and free patches/updates were available. I loved when I was playing DA1 and I stumbled upon a man who was near death to give me this huge spill about what happened to him and then ask for me to buy some DLC to see what happens next.

        Bioware is one of the worst companies when it comes to DLC. But take a look at Double Fine with Costume Quest, Iron Brigade and Stacking. A lot of good has come from it too.

        Plus, graphics and gameplay conventions get so much better. I went back to play Max Payne 2, and although the story was better (only slightly, love the psychological stuff), quicksaving every ten seconds was NOT fun or immersive.

        Nvidia are simply showing their anger to losing every console to AMD, Consoles can still exist, far into the future, even if they are only ports to the internet, You can still have a console without a physical cartridge

      But you do need a super fast connection. And an always on connection. If people hated Ubisoft's always on DRM . . .

      Also, Didn't OnlIve basically collapse?

    I'd rather zero-latency computing than cloud nonsense any day.

      Exactly. I don't think that cloud gaming will ever be good enough for playing say a competitive FPS.

        I want you to stop and think about that, because it doesn't seem to have occurred to you that you already have latency between you and the server, and between the server and every other player. This way, what you see will be exactly what the server "sees". No more "What? I got him in the head but he didn't die!"

          I'm well aware of the latency you're talking about, but at least right now there is no/minimal lag between you moving your mouse and the cursor on screen moving as all of that is worked out client-side. If you're playing a reflex based shooter then it's going to be quite frustrating having even a small delay between you clicking your mouse and your gun actually firing.

          In short, with cloud gaming there will be lag between your input and the game's response to that input.

          So you should have a stop and think about what we're actually talking about with zero-latency computing.

          Except that you wouldn't be seeing what the server sees since the server would be running ahead of everything else since now on top of processing data it had to get the video rendered encoded and transmitted and it's doing this for the entire gameworld. Sending the small packet of data for players is far superior to sending large size video stream of stuff that could normally be rendered without any info from the server

          The delays inherent would make it do that you would be shooting I. The chance that someone came around the corner as opposed to them actually being there

            But, what happens when we factor in 1Gbit connection types, 1Tbit even. In an decade or so, data will become near on instant.

    Not possible until internet infrastructure is significantly improved. Not just bandwidth, Latency has to be extremely low to deliver this sort of thing in a reasonable manner. Probably need to have a cloud gaming server running in your local city to make it worthwhile.

    Not impossible but I think it's at least a decade away.

    Huh, what are they seriously expecting to replace consoles? Surely not that cloud nonsense.

      Phones and tablets most likely. Given the type of graphics being pumped out now on the iphone 5 and whats likely going to come in the next galaxy phone, compared to just 3 years ago is amazing. Consider what could be possible in 3 years time? Amazing. Before you say 'yah but its touch screen controls' who cares. That's not the point. More people own phones than consoles, wider audience. That'd be likely where the audience is heading...

        Thinking beyond even that, it won't be too long before portable devices that we all have (will have) are powerful enough and have enough storage to replace the console. Wireless game controllers connected to your phone/tablet, which is connected to your TV.
        You may even be able to buy client software from your favourite console maker that runs like the Steam client on PC. Then you could turn your phone into the Play Station 6. Say $120 bought you the latest version of the Play Station client and two controllers that runs on your phone/tablet or even both. As many people update their phone every couple of years, you'd always have up-to-date hardware too. Sounds like a good deal to me.

        Not saying this will happen, but it's a distinct possibility. Think about how far mobile devices have come since the current gen of consoles was released, and where they might be before the next gen has run it's course.

    Honestly I could see this working because its simple. Look at apple and its simplicity and market growth. Not that I'm a fan but that's why pc gaming doesn't destroy consoles. Buy a console, buy a game, insert the game, it works. I honestly think that is the key factor. If cloud gaming comes to fruition with the infrastructure to work effectively it'll be the end of consoles wouldn't you think?

      I can see it working but I also think there will always be people who want their own hardware and games too.

      Thing is though that's 90% of what PC gaming is anyway its only when debs have done a shit port job from consoles that PC has issues. And most everything is just people being picky with there settings. Plug and play is pretty simple with PC as it is.

      The idea that PC games require a lot of time to install/prepare is a misconception founded by people who want you to switch to console. I installed Borderlands 2 the other day, through Steam, it took about 5 minutes and I was playing. That's it. This bullshit that suggests you need to spend an hour downloading drivers is just that: bullshit. You rarely REQUIRE a driver to play a game, unless you just bought a brand new PC.

        And the fact that steam lets you search for the latest drivers for your Video card with one click!

    Cloud is the future, but not as a replacement to consoles. In fact, I would love to see the cloud capable of running on consoles. Gaikai developed an app for the Nintendo Wii that was unfortunately never released, which would have made PC and Xbox-exclusive games available on the Nintendo platform. Unbelievable. The success that the cloud will achieve will depend almost solely on their ability to distribute anything, anywhere, on any device. Onlive did well with this in some aspects, given that it will be released on the Ouya console next year and probably be released as an iPad client, but Gaikai still hasn't spread beyond the reach of the web browser. Also given that most consoles supporting web browsers have HTML5, Gaikai is probably relying on HTML5 to get the job done.

    But but onlive is the future of gaming.

    Well of course they're going to try and shove cloud gaming down people's throats, it's DLC and DRM rolled together and pumped up on steroids. You never actually 'own' the game, you will only be able to access it at the discretion of the servers and your network connection. Steam is bad enough, holding your games hostage unless you connect to the internet and install a fucking update. At least the game data is still right there, on my drive, and I am not reliant on an Internet connection to access it (most of the time). Steam is also free to use.

    The scum-suckers running the gaming industry are quickly learning that day-1 sales are not optimal way to part gamers from their money; ESPECIALLY if their product is crap. Requiring that players always be online, sucking data from their cloud servers gives them complete control, and they will find a way to wring a steady flow of cash out of it, be it via subscription fees, in-game advertising, or forcing players to buy the next shiny bauble by taking this one away.

    Please, don't give me some "Thervers are expenthive to run, you know *snort*" BS or call me a welfare-mooching hippie or any other insult that implies I'm too ignorant or poor to think that game companies give us stuff out of the kindness of their hearts. If they can't figure out a way to make it profitable past their (greedy) standards of profitability, it just ain't gonna happen.

    Let me rephrase the entire story, to add some truthiness:

    Nvidia fails to sell their GPUs to Microsoft and Sony for the next round of consoles. AMD wins.

    In response, Nvidia declares "the end of consoles is nigh".

    Of course, if Nvidia had won the contracts to supply the GPUs, then it would be "the future of consoles is bright!"

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