November 23, 2020

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Here’s why next-gen consoles might lose the battle against cloud gaming services

3 min read

While we are all excited about the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S launch, a new report suggests that next-gen consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X will make way for cloud gaming services.

To be fair, this is by no means set in stone. In addition, Sony had to trademark the names PS6, PS7, PS8, PS9 and PS10, following their recent debacle when a gamer trademarked PS5 in India.

At the very least, Sony’s trademark spree gives the impression that they plan to release five more consoles over the coming two or three decades; or rather, considering to release future consoles.

Consoles vs Cloud

Will PS5 and Xbox X be the last next-gen consoles?

As reported by Harajou Noya Science Future, analysts from Citi Securities Japan now predict that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be the last next-gen gaming consoles. At least in terms of what we’d expect from a console.

The experts predict that consoles will be replaced by a variety of cloud services, especially considering that gaming consoles have a lifespan of around six to seven years.

They say that despite console manufacturers planning to extend this lifespan, consoles, in general, won’t be able to complete with cloud service by the end of this current generation.

Console production costs to soar

In addition, the production of consoles will escalate over time, broadening the gap between the PS5 and Xbox Series X lifecycle and the growth of cloud and streaming services.

Cloud services such as Google Stadia, Project xCloud, and GeForce Now grew exponentially and cloud technology will continue to improve, as will the library of games per cloud service.

Therefore, analysts are now saying that cloud services biggest advantage is the ability to launch games on laptops with low performance, and even on mobile.

In essence, researchers and experts predict that “highly specialised” consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox lineup will eventually be abandoned in favour of running games on other platforms.

‘Everything will be in the cloud’

When asked recently if the PS5 will be Sony’s last console, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan told the Financial Times that he doesn’t know and the “truth is nobody knows”.

“Seven years ago everybody was saying ‘PS4 is going to be the last one, it’s all going to be tablets and mobile phones’, and [more recently] it’s been ‘everything will be in the cloud’, so nobody knows”.

On the other side of the coin, despite the convenience of playing games on multiple platforms through cloud services, there are still heaps of wrinkles to iron out.

Wrinkles that won’t exist for gamers who have a dedicated system (such as the PS5 and Xbox consoles). The other downside to cloud gaming, of course, is that you’ll need high-speed internet.

Still hope for consoles

The lack of high-speed internet in Africa has been one of the main reasons why Google Stadia didn’t launch in South Africa, and why we don’t have services such as PS Now available to us.

That said, anything could still happen, it’s a new world we’re living in, after all. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live and the way we consume content and entertainment.

In addition, Newzoo analysts estimate the gaming console market to be worth around $45 billion (R695 billion). This mainly due to the demand for online games surging amid the pandemic.

Furthermore, Newzoo predicted back in May 2020 that the “world’s 2.7 billion gamers would spend $159.3 billion (R2.5 trillion) on games” during this year alone, and totalling $200 billion (R3 trillion) by 2023.

Also read: PlayStation 5 review: New console signals next generation of gaming