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This console cycle could be the last- Twitch CEO

Emmett Shear expects Microsoft, Sony to move closer to frequent upgrade loops of tablets and phones

The console cycle may be in its last rotation. Speaking with The Guardian, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said he expects the current crop of systems to be the last console generation as the industry has understood it for decades.

"The problem is, the seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn't work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform," Shear said. "It's so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured and made and the full business model, that I'd be surprised to see another generation."

That doesn't mean a console-free future; Shear just expects the notion of console generations to change form. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 already receive software and operating system updates at a much faster pace than previous consoles, and Shear said it's likely console makers will start taking similar approaches to the hardware itself.

"I could imagine a version 1.1 product from both Microsoft and Sony which adds in slightly more speed and slightly more memory very similar to how phones and tablets work today," Shear said. "I think it's going to look more like the mobile phone market over time."

Shear also talked about Amazon's $970 million acquisition of Twitch last year, saying the online retailer was already a significant player in the gaming space.

"They sell video games effectively, they have a platform for producing video games, what Twitch brings to that is the missing piece of the puzzle: a community. We provide that reach, and it made a lot of sense. We also gained access to a lot of things through the purchase that it would have taken us a long time to build ourselves, if we ever actually could."

When asked about rumors that Google was on the verge of acquiring Twitch before the Amazon acquisition, Shear kept the focus on why Amazon was the right fit for the video streaming service.

"Amazon was committed to Twitch remaining independent," Shear said, adding, "I don't think I would have gone with any deal that didn't give us that level of independence."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.