Friday, March 28, 2008

Former Xbox Exec Proclaims Death of Consoles in 5-10 Years

Could the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii be the last round of true consoles? Sandy Duncan, who ran the Xbox business in Europe, envisions a radical change to the games industry.

Sandy Duncan spent 15 years with Microsoft and as the former VP of Xbox Europe he played a key role in setting up Microsoft's console presence in the region. Now, however, Duncan believes that the very idea of the console itself could be on its way out. Speaking to That VideoGame Blog, he said that consoles could be extinct within five to 10 years.

"The industry is fundamentally driven by technology. I think dedicated games devices i.e. consoles (and handhelds) will die [out] in the next 5 to 10 years. The business model is very risky and the costs associated with creating new hardware are incredibly high," he commented. "There is a definite 'convergence' of other devices such as set top boxes. There's hardly any technology difference between some hard disc video recorders and an Xbox 360 for example. In fact in 5 to 10 years I don't think you'll have any box at all under your TV, most of this stuff will be 'virtualized' as web services by your content provider."

And if this does happen, it could represent a radical change to the structure of the video game industry itself and the hierarchy of the dominant players. "[Look] at how quickly Popcap or Oberon are growing, or look at what has happened to World of Warcraft in the last 3 to 4 years as so many more homes have easy access to decent broadband services," Duncan said. "Maybe you'll see YoYo Games competing with EA in 5 years... [and] why not?"

YoYo Games is a company Duncan founded with Michel Cassius. via gamedaily

Jason Kiwaluk

Mower & Shoveller,

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