Ubisoft are so often on the cutting-edge of the medium and, yet, a simple statement from CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot sounds beyond the pale: the next console generation will be the last. So, if you’re keeping track, that’ll be nine generations and then nothing? Or is there more to it?
“I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware,” Guillemot tells Variety, hinting at an all-encompassing cloud and/or streaming service taking the reins when it comes to providing a home gaming experience. Think Gaikai powering the streaming service PlayStation Now but with a couple more years under Sony’s belt and we might be on to something special. The groundwork has certainly been put in place, that’s for sure.
“With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home,” the Frenchman opines before definitively stating: “There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us.”
So, is that it? Well, not quite. For one thing, the PS5 (which may be released in 2020, depending on which analyst you believe), and the rest of the next console generation, would still have a long, long cycle ahead of it, and may even incorporate some of the tech that Guillemot is so keen to mention. That’s without mentioning the elephant in the room, the one who never wants to leave: the death of console gaming has been greatly exaggerated since seemingly time immemorial. Who’s to say this isn’t another false dawn?