Ubisoft CEO: Streaming Will Replace Consoles

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Ubisoft CEO: Streaming Will Replace Consoles

Ubisoft Logo Hi-Res

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot thinks the next generation of consoles will be the last traditional hardware generation.

The console hardware landscape is changing. The idea of a big drastic "console generation" every 5-7 years just isn't cutting it these days with the advancements in technology, and players like Microsoft are looking at solutions such as upgradable hardware. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot thinks that the future of consoles will take an even more drastic route: one where we don't even really have hardware and it's all streamed directly to our TVs (a-la OnLive).

"We believe in streaming--it demands lots of bandwidth," he said. "We think it's going to grow but today, with the types of games we have, it will still take a bit of time to be more popular."

Guillemot believes "traditional" consoles have one more generation left in them before streaming takes over, stating that "my expectation is we will have another cycle of consoles before we go to streaming. I don't have dates or anything but what I see is the manufacturers would prefer to have again a new hardware to take up the potential of new possibilities that they can bring."

Interesting, especially considering the tragic fate of the aforementioned OnLive streaming service. Perhaps it was just a bit ahead of its time? Guillemot certainly seems to think so.

Source: GameSpot

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As much as I may despise Ubisoft, it's a really good point. Last generation consoles moved away from being mere gaming devices and this generation even more so. With the talks of upgradable hardware it is turning into the exact thing a gaming computer is.

This is furthered with the continued pushing of cross platform play. Soon it'll ultimately come down to a matter of "do you want short or long term costs reduced?"

Until data caps are removed, and bandwidth is strong everywhere, I don't think this will happen yet. He brushes off the bandwidth cost, but that is a rather serious obstacle.

And this is another example for the argument that game publishers and developers don't want to sell games to anyone but the most privileged idiots on the planet. Bandwidth restrictions are a big deal which is why gaming cannot be streaming yet. It's one thing for films and television like Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu, but the programs those services stream are not as big as games are. It seems to me that game companies (Western ones in particular) live in this imaginary lala land where everyone has infinite internet, time, and money despite reality being anything but. And people wonder why companies were shuttering weekly last generation and why most of the ones who didn't ended it in the red.

thebobmaster:
Until data caps are removed, and bandwidth is strong everywhere, I don't think this will happen yet. He brushes off the bandwidth cost, but that is a rather serious obstacle.

Yeah, he really should not be brushing this off like it is nothing. It's literally the largest obstacle to seeing this happen. My dad has around 1.2 MB a second and a max of thirty GB a month. That is the best he can get and it is insanely expensive. He better hope internet in the U.S improves massively to see this theory become true.

I kind of prefer to own my stuff, thanks. Streaming is great for convince I suppose, but I like having actual discs. And displaying them on my shelves. Old fashion, I know, but I'm slowly starting to realize that gaming is moving away from me.

the infrastructure is definitely not there yet at least in the US and big cable companies seem hesitant on fixing that. Financially they make tons off of providing the bare minimum while charging a high premium for tiers that would make streaming like that viable for the most part anyway.

Even with the required infrastructure, it's not like we could trust any of these money grubbing assholes to charge fairly for that service.

Well since the CEO of Ubisoft said it, you can put money on the exact opposite happening. Consoles forever, I guess.

Also, a console with upgradeable hardware? Pretty sure we call that a PC. Personal computer, for short.

I prefer to own my own games so I'll pass on these new consoles. I'll just stick to steam if you ask me

Streaming games is fucking awful for anything that does not require fast response time from the player. Action titles, Racing games, Fighting games, Shooters, etc are all gimped by network latency. There's no instantaneous internet speeds simply due to the the speed of light existing, so there's always going some latency, even on the fastest of internet speeds.

People have already covered the complete lack of proper infrastructure to allow this to happen, but honestly, I'm in the camp of "Gimme a physical copy or a one-time download".
I don't want to have to worry about shitty weather or crap connection fucking with the streaming and causing my game to fuck up, if I wanted that, I'd go play an MMO or other online game.

Streaming? No. Digital, maybe, sure, but not streaming, not anytime soon.

The big issue with consoles though is that they have begun forsaking all the pros they offered. I -was- one of the staunchest console defenders, but now I find myself gravitating to PC more, mostly cause PC is doing what I liked consoles for. I can play most games with a controller, and its usually quicker to download a game from Steam than install a game from disc. The fact I even have to is a pain, since one of the biggest console pros was pop in and play.

The Wii U is the only current console that still acts like it. Not that it gets appreciated for any of it.

It's like they don't want us to own anything anymore so that they can continue to have something to sell us.

thebobmaster:
Until data caps are removed, and bandwidth is strong everywhere, I don't think this will happen yet. He brushes off the bandwidth cost, but that is a rather serious obstacle.

To be fair he's expecting 10-20 years to solve that problem, not necessarily for everyone, but for a majority of consumers. And that's fairly reasonable. In the last 10 years my bandwidth cap has gone from 20Gb to 500Gb each month, give it another 10 at that rate and I'll have 12 and a half terrabytes bandwidth. Of course I doubt that'll happen 'cause my country can't handle its internet infrastructure for shit, but...
And in the last 20 years here we've gone from predominantly dial up to 20+Mb/s download in most major areas.

That said, he'll eventually be right. Whether its next generation, or the one after, the whole 'appeal' of consoles is starting to become obsolete. Easy access to AAA games? Handhelds are starting to be able to handle it, internet streaming means tablets can handle it, computers are able to do it, and almost as cheap as consoles. The entire world is moving towards that easy usability. Its not really unique any more. They still have a small convenience edge, but that's disappearing over time. Its why consoles have been pushing to be a solid media centre for all your entertainment needs, and tend to advertise on TV features and such half the time these days; gaming wise, they're core appeal isn't as impressive as it used to be. Making it a home entertainment platform means people might still buy it just so they have it all in one, but once TVs themselves handle that... There's not really anywhere for the console to go.

Consoles going obsolete? I believe it. They already don't really offer more than a computer in my opinion, though I suppose other opinions may differ.

Streaming becoming standard? I doubt it. Data caps/costs are a thing, and will continue to be a thing. Additionally, the idea of a company deciding to shut down the server when it's no longer profitable is off-putting to a lot of people, myself included. I'd rather have install files and not worry about the company's financial solvency or the speed of my Internet service at that particular moment.

HAH HA HA HA.

If you want to run the best games you're going to have a powerful system to even run them, THEN you need to render more frames than necessary in case the player does X in the next few frames so you need a system even MORE powerful than that. Then you need a really good, constant internet connection on both ends and a low ping and EVEN THEN the ping will be such that for even slightly faster games(even something like TF2) you will have your ass handed to you by somebody running a normal computer.

And again you're going to have to have a shitton of data centers all around the country for better pings and what happens when they have to run a center in somewhere like Alaska? If these streaming consoles have replaced all consoles pretty much everybody there is either going to have horrible pings OR the company is going to have to eat the cost of a data center for a relatively small population.(I'm using Alaska as an example here but I'm pretty sure a lot of Canada has a similar problem with low population density and bad ISPs) Don't even get me started on Australia.

Or DDOS attacks, or publishers shutting down the servers because they aren't profitable anymore, or day one users annihilating the servers like they do with every single day one launch of Ubisoft's authentication servers(and those are just authentication servers they don't have to actually render anything).

Houseman:
It's like they don't want us to own anything anymore so that they can continue to have something to sell us.

Exactly! He'd love it to happen because that way no-one will really have anything concerete. Everything will be gated off and Ubi would be able to pull games whenever they felt like it.

The next step would probably be to only sell limited time licences for a game so you'd have to keep paying to keep playing

Didn't they say that last generation?

As much as I hate to say it, though, he may be right. I'm sure the companies would love the DRM and lack of ownership that would come with something like this.

I doubt it. There are plenty of streaming advocates, they keep being proven wrong. It might become a thing one day, but the only people that want it to happen are corporations. Streaming games is even less consumer friendly than what we have now.

So I'm going to trust Microsoft to have a stable streaming service? Same Microsoft that couldn't figure out how to keep a multiplayer running for one of its biggest titles (Halo MC Collection), yeah sure.

That would require not just a huge leap in technology but also consumers to lose half of their brain cells. PEOPLE LIKE OWNING THINGS. And why would anyone accept streaming when storage is CHEAPER THAN EVER? You can get a 4Tb HDD for $100 or so. And that's a technology that keeps improving and getting cheaper. 2 years from now SSD of that capacity will probably cost the same. So why would people want to rely on a streaming service?

When streaming becomes the only way to play games I'll stop being a gamer.

No they wont. because of multitude of problems. Heres a couple:

1. Latency. Unless you are going to have a datacenter in every town and village, latency will make streaming gaming not viable. noone likes having a 50/50 chance that when they press a button the game is going to either react or not react. Even things like wired controlls are a thing because wireless ones, even locally, increase latency and people feel the difference playing.

2. Visuals quality. At the moment when you play a videogame at [email protected] you are streaming data to your TV/monitor at the rate of ~600MB/s. Good luck streaming that over the internet for 8 hours straight, for thousands of people. And before you start screaming compression - NO. fuck compression. There will be no loss of visual quality when i game. its bad enough i have to put up with that shit on youtube and netflix.

thebobmaster:
Until data caps are removed, and bandwidth is strong everywhere, I don't think this will happen yet. He brushes off the bandwidth cost, but that is a rather serious obstacle.

there is no bandwidth cost (yes, data caps is a lie and a scam). There is bandwidth throughput. Thats the main problem.

Elfgore:

Yeah, he really should not be brushing this off like it is nothing. It's literally the largest obstacle to seeing this happen. My dad has around 1.2 MB a second and a max of thirty GB a month. That is the best he can get and it is insanely expensive. He better hope internet in the U.S improves massively to see this theory become true.

is your dad a time traveler for the 90s? Joking aside, Ubisoft is from France. Here in Europe 100mbps is considered "entry tier" connection.

hentropy:
Well since the CEO of Ubisoft said it, you can put money on the exact opposite happening. Consoles forever, I guess.

well.... fuck.

Houseman:
It's like they don't want us to own anything anymore so that they can continue to have something to sell us.

soon you wont be buying games, you will be renting them. For example of this see: All licensed software. they license you stuff like Photoshop or Autocad for a number of years. the years are up and you wont be able to use them anymore.

Joccaren:

To be fair he's expecting 10-20 years to solve that problem, not necessarily for everyone, but for a majority of consumers. And that's fairly reasonable.

I can give him 100-200 years and i promise he wont solve it. Why? because it would require us finding a way to transmit data faster than the speed of light and it becoming so commonplace it would be used for gaming in every house. good luck with that.

Fox12:
Didn't they say that last generation?

No, he was talking about Digital sales last generation, and it turned out to be true as most sales nowadays are digital and we got stuff like BF1 being digital-only release.

*prods Australian Internet*

...well, you can certainly try streaming, but...

What about us old fucks who like to own our entertainment in some form? I'm still not even too keen on digital purchases.

I think streaming will take over in say 20-30 years but we are no where near getting there at the moment.

I live in the capital of my country, in a dense population area and our internet "solutions" have been the same for the last ten years. I'm not saying 20/2 is the worst in the world, but it ain't exactly rocket speeds. At least it's pretty stable.
My point is that I feel lucky to even have this relatively shit connection, especially when I consider what kind of connections other people I know, have, making data streaming a currently unsolvable issue.

Anyway, assuming that connection wouldn't be an issue, I have other problems with this.
First up, it's a way to control piracy, which is what I think someone like Guillemot would love to be able to do. It's not a question of whether people do it or not, but if developers are completely free of the consequences of piracy, they will have more control and be able to manipulate prices to their advantage. I think the threat of piracy breaks up the monopoly and evens out some of the ludicrous prices we've seen across the 20-25 last years. (This is not an endorsement of piracy, I'm merely stating it's a factor in the scheme of things.)

I know he specifically says console, but on that front you still have used games, which I myself have made great use of and are the only reason that I own any consoles at all.
Arguably, a live stream service might make it a lot cheaper to play as well as give people options to try games at a low cost (or none for that matter).

My second problem is the ongoing "you don't own our games" policy, that has been especially prevalent in MMO's, where you don't even own your character. I feel this is a leap further in that direction.
The worst part about this, is the unrelenting horde of people that defend companies and will outright shit on anyone elses opinion, actively allowing for all of our consumer rights to be completely shit on.
Could we have some articles on this already? I keep saying it, but we're the worst treated consumer group in the world, just a step above heroin and meth addicts. Every right we get, is accompanied by several layers of "protections" that companies have put up for themselves.

As an example, any "Games for Windows Live" games that I own and want to play in multiplayer, are effectively useless for me. I have Fable 3 sitting in my god damn Steam list and can't play it with my friend. The only way i can play that shit, even in single player, is to use questionable third party programs. That to me, is insane and an outright scandal.
(Also, they know it's fucked, because you can't even buy it on Steam anymore.)

The anti class-action lawsuit EULA's and other "agreements" you "sign" are another example and they would be even more harsh with this system, making potential lawsuits even more difficult. We need big profiles and especially games media websites like this one, to take a stand and spend a month a year to rehash these topics, to gain some ground on this. When John "Totalbiscuit" Bain eventually kicks the bucket from cancer, we'll effectively have no one who gives a shit.

Forcing companies to follow strict consumer rules might mean fewer releases, but it'd also mean higher quality releases ensuring that people actually want to buy their shit, rather than just rely on more rehashes/reboots to grind money from their customers.

I know that not everyone, not even from the core, necessarily want to move away from the mainstream releases, but it's hard to deny that we need to see some actual dreams and innovations in the games industry to kick off another golden age of original and instant classic games. I know, I'm using dirty words here, but we're due this, because big developers and umbrella publishers have become exceedingly complacent, which this talk about live streaming games is proof of.
"Oh yeah, we make games, but what we're excited about is that you no longer have to pay for a console! It's all for YOUR benefit, really!"

So out of principle, along with my and the other arguments people have already made, I am firmly against this idea, even with the potential benefits.

It's already been tried, no one gave a crap about onlive and no one gave a crap about Playstation now.

We get it, companies are dead set on us not owning games, they don't want used games, they just want full control over what games we're playing. Get that old Battlefield 3 out of the way and make way for 4 and 4 only.
Ubisoft, the shitlords of DRM unsurprisingly are for the penultimate DRM, the one you can't pirate, the one that you don't own, the one you rely entirely on them for.

Their words have no weight. After their limited install BS was hated they moved to always online and everyone hated that, it was constantly being hit with DDoS because it was stupid and now Uplay which has become stagnant and has yet to improve over the years it's been out while the completion gets better and better.

What insight do they have on DRM when every damn policy they push has failed on it's ass? Every statement about improving customer service has been either a lie or not attempted.

Ubisfoft thinks that games future is streaming? Good for Ubisoft. Let's forget people all over with strict data caps, the crap lag, the lower bitrate to compensate that makes all their hyper pretty games look muddy and dull and, again the input lag.
Right, the CEO thinks this, not someone with any technical knowledge. Gooooood for him.

Has this guy beamed down from Starship Enterprise? Seriously internet infrastructure in Australia is in a constant state of horseshit because being a small nation we have a single major telco and when the government decided to create the National Broadband Network and rent it out as a utility to ISPs the opposition of the day immediately started to dismantle it upon gaining power for no other reason other than the fact that it wasn't their own idea.

With this in mind, I think it would be a good idea for the CEO's of most major game companies to spend some time in less well serviced areas their customer base live in. Might make them crowbar their heads out of their arses.

Yeah, I just love latency. In fact, I love it so much I've secretly yearned for the day I can experience it in my single player games.

Seriously, I'm well aware that internet access will only get better with time, but we aren't anywhere near the point that the majority of people's internet can support streaming to a reasonable degree that would be acceptable to even casual audiences.

So basically, Ubisoft have a hard on for putting Uplay into every home, console or PC gamer alike?

Until fast, unlimited data connection are standard in the US streaming games is little more than fantasy. Even when that is available OnLive died because it sucked, it was like playing a normal game but with a couple of tenths of input lag. The number of players willing to accept noticeable input lag is no doubt a lot smaller than Ubisoft thinks it is, although the way their games run we might not be able to tell the difference.

I'm sure he and his partners are licking their lips at the thought of total control over consumer ownership. Am curious, does he pay his taxes? He talks with the air of a person that doesn't live in the same world as the rest of us.

Deciding to bang the 'always online' drum, Ubisoft? Go ask Adam Orth and Don Mattrick how that turned out for them.

Having tried Playstation Live extensively last month, I could see this happening, as long as the price is right.

But then again, knowing how people are, even though they pay 40-60 for 1 game now, when streaming comes along they will suddenly expect to only pay 5 bucks a month or else it's a rip off. This idea is bound to fail with how moronic the general populous is, sadly.

I'd go as far to say, not only will it not happen in the next 10-30 years, it will not happen, period.

With the constant evolution of resolutions (4k eventually becoming a standard which in itself is still miles off) as well as technology (Virtual Reality, holotech) there simply is no way for internet speeds to keep up, short of some miracle new invention that gives a significant portion of the planet, ridiculous bandwidth for little cost.

In the real world, a ton of people can still barely (if at all) stream 720p reliably, let alone stream games with zero noticeable input lag.

No, I think reliance on hardware is going to increase if anything. It won't be consoles as we know them, but judging by the amount of shit you need to make even the most basic current VR games work, there's no way in hell games will be streaming only.

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