Yves Guillemot: We're approaching the final console generation

Ubisoft boss believes that video games will transition to streaming in a matter of years

The CEO of Ubisoft believes the next generation of home consoles will be the last as substantial hardware updates make way for multi-device streaming services.

Yves Guillemot pointed to advances in cloud-based gaming as well as streaming tech by firms like Nvidia as signs of how companies will be able to deliver AAA games to anything from a high-end PC to a mobile phone.

His comments come ahead of an E3 where we are not expecting to see a new Xbox or PlayStation 5, despite persistent rumours that the latter is well into development. As and when they are unveiled, Guillemot believes they will be the last of their kind.

"I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware," he told Variety. "With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home.

"There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us."

The rise of streaming in other forms of entertainment, most famously with Netflix and Spotify, certainly suggests that games could follow in a similar vein. Earlier this year, we spoke to various companies trying to lay the groundwork for this - in fact, Polystream demonstrated a cloud-based The Witcher 3 operating on a simple laptop remarkably smoothly.

Guillemot is confident this technology will "improve dramatically" in the coming years, which will "allow us to have a very smooth experience in the big cities of the world".

While, he doesn't appear to have commented on what this will mean for players outside those cities, or even in areas with poor or inconsistent internet, he does believe this would be a greater evolution for video games than more powerful hardware.

"It is going to help the AAA game industry grow much faster," he said. "We have to work on the accessibility of those games, to make sure they can be played on any device, but the fact that we will be able to stream those games on mobile phones and television screens without a console is going to change a lot of the industry."

Regardless of delivery, the idea of platform-agnostic games is certainly one more games firms are keen to explore. The market-dominating mobile version of Fortnite has already proven what's possible when replicating a console and PC experience on smart devices - something Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney discussed with us at GDC, predicting the barrier between Xbox and PlayStation would "inevitably come down."

Similarly, Microsoft's attitude has been shifting ever since it bought Minecraft, a game it now owns but it is available on rival platforms.

Speaking to Variety, EVP of gaming Phil Spencer said: "I care less that people play Minecraft on an Xbox One, but that people can play Minecraft no matter what console or device they have in front of them."

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Latest comments (3)

Jordan Lund Columnist 4 years ago
Two problems stand in the way of a streaming future:

1) Bandwidth caps.
2) A lack of Net Neutrality.

Those issues have to be resolved first.
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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia4 years ago
Even if everyone's streaming everything at some point, hardware manufacturers will still find a way to sell us the latest and greatest upgrade every 2 years or so. I can't imagine one box you buy in 2020 will still be the only thing you need in 2040.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development4 years ago
@Hugo: you could still pay for more graphical processing power, offering consumers the ability to upgrade at an instant!
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