With the rise of cloud-based streaming services in the video games industry, from the likes of PS Now and xCloud to Google’s Stadia, the question of how much of an impact it will ultimately have on the industry as a whole is more pertinent than it’s ever been. But what does Hideo Kojima, one of the leading minds in video games, think about streaming, its future, and how it could potentially change the medium?
Speaking with Nikkei (translated by DualShockers), Kojima went into quite a lot of detail about just that, talking about how streaming might lead to the rise of alternative interactive experiences, the impact that 5G could have on the industry, and the changes that Google Stadia might bring about should it prove to be a success.
“Cloud gaming experienced a boom around 4, 5 years ago, but there was no phenomenon carrying it,” Kojima said. “Many say it’ll end in failure, but I think it didn’t work out because the technology wasn’t advanced enough. Now that 5G has launched, we’ll see a huge shift to cloud gaming during the next five years. Entertainment as a whole will change and allow more liberty.”
“Games we’ve never seen before will appear,” said Kojima when asked about how he thinks Stadia will impact the industry. “This is certain, considering how the entertainment industry evolved. Most movies aren’t longer than 2 hours because the audience at theaters would get hungry or need to use the restroom. Plus, it would mean less screenings a day, and theaters’ revenues would drop. When TVs came around, entertainment adapted to keep watchers glued to their screens so they don’t switch channels. Hence why concepts like cliffhangers before commercial breaks were invented.”
“As streaming keeps evolving, games, movies, documentaries and any type of video content will all be on the same platform,” he added. “This is the future I’ve always wished for. Services like Netflix will divide its content between ‘interactive games’ and ‘non-interactive movies’. Games and movies are complete opposites, separated by a border. But that border will disappear. It already started to disappear. Like with Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch published last year.”
Kojima, of course, wants to make his own mark with streaming as well. “Games will change drastically. Of course, high-end console games like the ones released nowadays will remain,” he said. “But technology will keep progressing, and we’ll be able to create brand new types of games with novel gimmicks. I’m very busy myself, but I too would love to leave my mark on this side of history.”
“We’ll start seeing completely different games these next five years as 5G spreads,” he added. “There’s one big thing I have in mind related to streaming as well. I can’t say anything more as I don’t want to spoil though (laughs).”
The potential of streaming is clear to see- the question, though, is whether or not the industry and the required infrastructure is in a place where that potential can be fulfilled. Stadia will see a limited launch in the UK, Europe, US, and Canada later this year, while xCloud will also see public betas going live- so we should get an idea of what kind of progress is being made not long from now.
Meanwhile, Kojima and his team are currently at work on Death Stranding, which remains without a release date so far. Recently, speculation has arisen that it could see a cross-gen release on the PS5 as well- read more about that through here.
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