NEW gaming machines tipped to launch in 2020 could be the last consoles you ever own.
That’s according to experts who think consoles are about to be completely “replaced” by apps that live-stream video games to you instead.
Next year, we’re expecting to see Microsoft’s new Xbox 2 and Sony’s long-awaited PlayStation 5.
Both devices are expected to feature powerful processors that churn out next-gen graphics.
But they could be the last of their kind, according to experts who think a bold new trend called “game streaming” – which works using cloud technology – will replace them.
“There’s no question – in our view – that the cloud is the new console,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm, a US tech firm that helps gadget giants build their systems.
He added: “It’s just a matter of time.”
Like others, Cristiano believes that game streaming will revolutionise gaming, by making it possible to access graphically demand top-tier games on any device – including a smartphone.
“You are just gonna start playing on any device, on any screen,” he explained.
“That is going to be the future of gaming.”
He went on: “If you go to mobile and take away the limitation of processor power, then you can look at [streaming] sophisticated PC games from the cloud.”
“We’ve started to see some of the cloud gaming announcements. I’m sure there’ll be much more coming,” he explained, highlighting Google Stadia specificially.
Announced just last month, Google Stadia is a video gaming service that streams the games to you from the cloud – so you can enjoy high-end graphics without the need for a console or pricey gaming PC.
It does this by running the games themselves on computers that sit in Google’s data centres around the world, and then streaming the video output to your screen.
Those computers are more powerful, by at least one measure, than a PS4 Pro and Xbox One X combined.
Video game streaming – how does it work?
We explain it all…
- When you watch a movie, the images you see are already prepared
- That’s why very unsophisticated computers inside your TV, DVD player, or computer can playback film footage
- But video games render the visuals in real-time, because a game never knows what you’ll do next
- That means you need much more computing heft to produce game visuals, compared to a standard movie
- So if you want amazing 4K PC-style graphics, you’ll need to fork out for an expensive computer
- Alternatively, you could use game streaming technology
- The idea is that a company like Google, Microsoft or Sony would handle the generation of the visuals on powerful computers at its own HQ
- Then it would send what’s effectively a video of that game to your smartphone
- You tap and play, and those commands get sent back to Microsoft or Sony, which then inputs them into the game, and sends you the visuals again
- Because modern internet connections are so fast, this all happens in milliseconds
- The resulting effect is 4K PC-style graphics on a smartphone – which is only possible because it’s not the phone itself rendering the graphics
- It also means that you could potentially be playing an Xbox or PlayStation game on your console, and then leave the house and carry on playing using your iPhone
- This sort of technology could eventually kill off gaming consoles for good, because all you’d need is a TV with game-streaming tech built in, and a controller to play with
- But game streaming hasn’t had any great successes thus far
- Sony bought a game-streaming called OnLive, but shut it down in 2015
- And Nvidia has its own game-streaming service, but laggy performance has prevented it from becoming a mainstream choice
- The next major service expected to launch is Google Stadia, which many are hopeful will be a success
“Cloud gaming is going to replace the console,” said Cristiano, speaking to reporters at an AI/5G event in San Francisco attended by The Sun.
“You’ll be able to play a sophisticated game [on a phone] that you could only play on a $10,000 gaming PC.”
Google Stadia promises to “bring any AAA game to any computer with a Chrome browser”.
It will work on any screen you want — at launch, it is promised to work seamlessly on TVs, mobile phones, laptops and desktop computers.
A demo showed off the technology working on a tablet, a phone, a laptop and a TV using a Chromecast dongle — with the player’s progress moving seamlessly from one screen to the other.
He also revealed the new Google Stadia controller, which connects via Wi-Fi directly to the computer running your game in a Google data centre.
The games are promised to run at 4K at launch, at 60FPS, and in HDR.
The stream will also be also be streamed directly to YouTube, which will get the same stream being pushed to your computer and captured for posterity or streamed live.
In future, the platform will support 8K streams as well.
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Find out how to check if your WiFi is good enough for Google Stadia.
Check out our round-up of the best games available right now.
And mobile gamers should take a look at our guide to the best Android games.
Do you think the Xbox 2 and PS5 will be the last “traditional” consoles? Let us know in the comments!
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