Will next-gen be the last generation of consoles?

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by eloyc, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. eloyc

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    Well, I wanted to post this question in the thread Next Generation Hardware Speculation with a Technical Spin [2019], but being a bit off-topic and a complex issue, I sense that mods would take it out and just create a different thread, so here I am, posting this new thread. :cool2:

    Do you guys really think that next gen will be the last generation of consoles (at least as we know them)? Mid-gen upgrades don't count.

    I don't really think it'll be... The console market is very strong, I mean, millions of buyers. So, will all these millions just be content when they are told "play with a PC" or "here's this streaming box" (BTW, do you consider that a proper successor to consoles or just a different thing?)?

    So, to all those people who say that next gen will be the last generation of consoles, please present your reasonings.
     
  2. Shifty Geezer

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    Depends how tech progresses. Ultimately, thin clients running on remote servers is going to be the future of all computing*. If the infrastructure tech can be improved enough to get that experience streaming, gaming will go streaming. However, I think that unlikely, but then we also don't know where silicon is going to be beyond 5nm lithography.

    We literally cannot know, or even guess, because there are too many uncertainties around computing technology walls.

    * Even if that's 50 years from now.
     
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  3. xexuxjy

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    I don't think it will be the last generation but I think there will be an even further blurring of dedicated console and streaming device or PC. The ongoing shift to digital games, game pass like subscriptions and the diminishing returns of a console upgrades will make having a dedicated console less of an obvious choice. I'm already at the point , despite having had XBox, PS and most of the other consoles for the last few generations of wondering what they can actually offer as an upgrade these days. Sony seem to be in a better position with focus on unique content , Nintendo seem to have carved a niche for now against the onslaught of the phone as a gaming device and Microsoft's approach seems to be to broaden the definition of 'XBox' . All interesting approaches.... will have to see how they actually play out.
     
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  4. eloyc

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    Regarding streaming stuff, you need a very high speed connection, and not everybody has it, as we all know. Maybe in the future, but when? Also, battling against the perception that you own powerful metal instead of just a streaming box will be tough, I guess.

    And regarding 5nm, well, maybe nanometers won't be the only thing to talk about, tech can be improved in other aspects, as well (I remember the arrival of GPUs, etc). Maybe there are new pieces of hardware (no matter the nm they are) that improve performance (RT cores, anyone? just joking... well, partially :-D). More efficient ways to take advantage of the existing tech will arise, as well (@JoeJ ? ).
     
  5. eloyc

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    I understand, but that depends on the type of user. Many of us have a more technical approach and use intensively the PC, so the "advantages" of a console are less obvious to most of us, but most console users are not that way. They just want to have a device which they can turn on and play in a few seconds, comfortably in their living rooms. No matter how easy can be playing on a PC, it will never be the same.
     
  6. Jay

    Jay
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    Sounds like you've just described a streaming service more than a console
    In that regards it is just down to infrastructure, and if it's there within 10 years of not.

    Maybe for people that can't stream there will be pc? Removes the cost of making a console.
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

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    No-one knows.
    Not at all. People just want games. As long as the service is robust, it'll serve. Kids growing up today with YouTube and Netflix aren't going to lament the lack of disc players, just as we don't lament the lack of CD players thanks to Spotify et al. As long as the games are there and play well, we (mass consumers) don't care about the source.

    Without any forecasts for them, how can one predict a future console? "This won't be the last generation of console because maybe there'll be a new technology that pushes past the current limits of silicon lithography." That's not a convincing argument. ;)

    There's only so much you can do. We are talking about that for next-gen, with the TF increase potentially not being that much, but improvements in how they can be used making the difference. Where do you go from there? Issues with compute utilisation are being addressed next-gen (we had async compute this gen, and next-gen we'll have GPU's creating work themselves and being fully saturated). You'd need a complete paradigm shift of which there's nothing on the cards. So again, a hopeful plea but not based in any evidence.

    If being realistic and looking only at the facts, there's a considerable problem with being able to make faster chips locally, and an evident future towards remote computing (which will be able to progress onto quantum computing and biological neural nets and well trained mice in mazes) but an issue with remote access being fast enough and widespread enough and low-latency enough, and next-gen hardware sits between them somewhere. It is a question that cannot be answered. ;) As such, anyone saying next-gen will be the last is just guessing, and likewise anyone who says there'll be another console generation is just guessing. There's not enough data to even begin to make an educated prediction.
     
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  8. eloyc

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    :-D Kind of... even though that doesn't take into account other factors I mentioned.

    That's exactly what I think, even though I didn't make that clear in the OP. In the meantime, we can discuss the possibilities, and I'm already reading interesting POVs in here.

    EDIT: something really weird happened with quotes! I had to rewrite my post.
     
  9. McHuj

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    I don’t think it will be the last, but it maybe the longest simply do to slowing advances in tech.
     
  10. eloyc

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    Maybe... So, in that case, the console makers better release a really capable beast... or a humbler entry model, with more powerful mid-gen updates (I mean, really powerful).
     
  11. Jay

    Jay
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    I understand why you say this.

    The trouble is it would be the wrong approach.
    Need to design and build the best for price point you can here and now, regardless if you can make a big enough jump in the future or not.
     
  12. eloyc

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    And that's exactly the humbler model I was talking about.
     
  13. Jay

    Jay
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    You'll have to explain to me how that makes a difference in the future. I'm missing something
     
  14. eloyc

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    No problem. I'm just referring to something like the base PS4 and XBox One. They were built to get the best for a reasonable price (more or less, your words).
     
  15. Jay

    Jay
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    I meant at every price point they are aiming at, low, middle and top end, whatever.

    Can't worry what will be possible performance wise in the future, can only build the best you can now.
    Either something comes along and you can release a new gen, or just have to keep the current one going at the time if another console is on the cards
     
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  16. Silent_Buddha

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    Rolling generations kind of takes care of that. If the speed of technology advancement slows WRT CPUs and GPUs, move towards focusing on the games and offering incremental hardware upgrades to the hardware to keep up with whatever small advances come through in tech.

    Have a release cadence that is similar to, but slower than the smartphone release cadence. Every 3-4 years instead of every 1 year.

    This also leaves you far more nimble as a company to react to potentially radical changes in how things are done. Quantum computing suddenly becomes reality at an affordable price 2 years after your last console launched? No problem, launch your Quantum computing version in the next year or two.

    Leave the choice up to the consumer as to whether they want to keep gaming on an older console because the pace of tech advances isn't leading to a compelling hardware upgrade. Focus on delivering the best possible games on the top end console of the time and scale things back as far as you can.

    Something like this would not have been possible with the rapid advances in technology during the NES -> SNES -> PS1 -> PS2 generation. But with how much the pace of technology has slowed due to the increased difficulty of moving to smaller manufacturing nodes, having a continuous spectrum of constantly upgraded hardware able to tap into an entire library of games seems really attractive.

    So, I wouldn't say that the next PS/XB is the last console generation. But it may be the last "traditional" console generation, assuming that PS4/XBO wasn't the last "traditional" console generation and the next one is the first in a new console paradigm.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #16 Silent_Buddha, Feb 27, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  17. Shifty Geezer

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    How do you have a paradigm shift in hardware without a clean-break console generation? In the past, a console generation has been defined by a clean break because the new hardware was so much better and different than the old hardware, and we had to break compatibility to do things the new way. Using the same core PC architecture means, going forwards, we can introduce rolling generations, but a super new tech will surely break that.
     
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  18. Silent_Buddha

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    True, in this case then, the PS4/XBO might be considered the first of the new console paradigm if rolling generations becomes a thing. Or just PS4 or XBO depending on if only one company transitions to something like that.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  19. milk

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    Nintendo successfully managed just that with the Game Boy to Game Boy color transition. I can't think of many larger paradigm shifts than adding color to B&W games, and the transition was considerably smooth and progressive. That was in the freezing 80's. I can't believe the industry still struggles to reproduce it.
     
  20. lefantome

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    No way unless all people become dumb to subscribe to crappy streaming services.

    but...

    The next next one will be the one ending the classical cycle of console generations.

    Once we have achieved 4K and proper ray tracing I don't think there will be a market for new machines every 5-8 years.
    Maybe every 10 or we will have a common base tech and different console hardware manufacturers releasing similar products every now and then
     
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