Okay so as mentioned briefly at E3 2018 by Phil Spencer, they are deeply involved in works on their next console. Usually this could mean anything but the interesting line he dropped after was that they were also working on streaming games. Ubisoft also teased that console generations were coming to an end. So what could this all mean?
We’re not new to streaming technology with the likes of ‘Gamepass’, ‘Gamefly’ and ‘Playstation Now’ all offering a library of games ready to stream through monthly subscriptions. However they haven’t exactly set the world alight thus far…..so what’s next?
It has now been leaked that Xbox Scarlett (working project title) will release in at least two forms. The first is a fully fledged console machine like we’re used to. The second will be a stripped down streaming box. The idea that cloud technology will hold all the processing power and games will stream directly to a set top box. It’s also expected that these devices will be available in 2019. (not confirmed though)
The streaming box would most certainly come at a smaller price than the average console which is refreshing. As games are only streamed there is no need for physical discs, boxes, packaging, delivery etc. (although digital games thus far have been priced as highly as physical ones so perhaps this won’t change the price much). Most importantly, the box itself would have no expensive components/hardware for processing power which should considerably slash costs.
The biggest concern is that broadband infrastructure at it’s best still seems to fall short for high end streaming. Sony’s ‘Playstation Now’ streaming service has had mixed reviews. Games are reportedly ‘laggy’ depending on how good your broadband is and this is already using a fully powered console to run the games (processing power not handled by cloud technology). The idea that we could use our broadband to process and render 60fps speeds with 4k graphics and possibly HDR colour seems far-fetched and very optimistic at best.
Xbox Vs Xbox Vs Everything
Phil has said that both the physical next gen console and the streaming box will have the same games available to play. If we can imagine that they both play each game to the same level of graphical fidelity etc then which is the better buy? Honestly, if your broadband can handle it……I think there’s a bright future for game streaming. Not being tied to one console’s processing power means upgrades wouldn’t cost the consumer anything?? (We can hope) Add that concept to perhaps options of one-time purchases for new release games and also perhaps a monthly subscription to have access to a growing library of slightly older games and you’re definitely on to a winner!
The Future of Gaming?
Subscription services such as Netflix have taken over most people’s living rooms. It seems that the natural progression for gaming is to go the same way. Let’s hope the technology continues to advance to allow our gaming experiences to grow. Imagine playing all your favorite games with just one joypad and one box. No extra cables, no switching HDMI leads, no dusting off old discs. Everything right there at your fingertips. Long live Gaming!