Pony’s Rejoice, Xbots Weep & Nash Teeth
10 million is a great number. It means you are making a profound impact in the video game console space, and that people are a fan of what you are doing. Still, although it is an impressive number, I feel that one console maker is still on the blacktop trying to divvy up sides while the other went into the gym because the sun went down.
This may just be a lack of understanding, as seen with the recent statements from Sean Layden (a former Sony exec) from his interview about the game pass model and how he doesn’t see it as profitable, how gaming’s reach won’t surpass the number of consoles circulating the current market, as well as his views on how the consolidation of games is bad for diversity (I’m sure he is referring to how companies buying up other companies is bad for business, but if he is speaking of branching out into other markets to attract gamers, that is a whole other topic to be dissected. Check that interview out from gamesindustry.biz here).
The idea of console generations has ended, as far as Microsoft is concerned. Phil Spencer is more focused on console-less gaming with the X cloud program (coupled with game pass) to be the future of gaming. He did admit that there are balance tradeoffs when it comes to distribution of Xbox series X consoles (me guessing that is probably a 2/3 to 1/3 split of console distributed 2 console sitting in a data center and supporting X cloud) that would allow them to put more Xbox series X is on the market, which would sell out as soon as they hit store websites & shelves, but the Xbox ideology of the cloud would not be as strong as it is now, or as strong as it will become in the next six months.
With Microsoft’s support of the Xbox cloud comes the extension of previous console life spans. This allows people who cannot get their hands on the newest generation of consoles, or even afford the current generation of console, to extend their usage of the previous console by playing newer games through a cloud-based service. If they can somehow implement a way to turn the previous generation hardware into a data hub for the cloud at your own home, then everyone who has a previous generation Xbox will be able to access future generation software.
This support works twofold, because of the cost that Microsoft consumes for producing and selling each console. During the apple versus epic trail, it came to light that Microsoft does not make any money on console sales, but in fact loses money on console sales. If they can get everybody into the game pass network and streaming through X cloud, they could technically produce less consoles (which is what they kind of were hinting at previous generations release with the end of generations speak to different media outlets) once the cloud was up and running and lose less money on production and sales. This would also mean that, theoretically if there is a way that they could adapt a series X or One X into being a hub, if someone in your apartment complex or a few houses away has the newer hardware, the strength of cloud service would be exponentially improved for those who are in the immediate area.
In theory (this applies to people who are in larger cities with fiber internet connections), Microsoft could implement this while you weren’t using your console. Imagine going into work, or turning in for the night, & Microsoft accesses your Xbox to become a server for everyone in the immediate area to use for X-Cloud. Now imagine that you are in an apartment, and there are multiple Series X’s per floor, or per building, per neighborhood. As that number grows, so does the strength of the cloud. The possibilities seem almost endless when it comes to access for everyone all around.
It is an interesting time to be in the gaming industry, either as a gamer or a company producing for the medium. Where will this end up, with the growth of the games industry (think of the game industry during the pandemic as a petri dish under a heat lamp), with gamers & non gamers alike becoming even more connected, either through the expansion of a more stable internet or the furthering of cell phone connectivity, one can’t be certain. As of now, we congratulate Sony with the moving of 10 million units, a feat that is rather impressive (especially with a chip shortage), no matter what age of console generation you’re in.