There is a widespread expectation that consoles will eventually transition entirely to digital gaming in the coming years- whether via streaming, which more and more companies have begun to express interest in, or simply digital downloads. In fact, a recent study by an analyst concluded that games sales will be entirely digital in the next five years.
That may sound ambitious, but fully digital consoles are coming, according to Tancred Dyke-Wells and Neil Millstone – the co-founders of developer Solar Sail Games, the developers of Smoke and Sacrifice. Speaking to GamingBolt, Dyke-Wells and Millstone said that discs and physical games are antiquated technology, and that the popularization of streaming via services such as Netflix and Spotify has changed people’s expectations on how media is delivered or consumed.
“One question I have in mind is whether this will be the generation where the disc drive is lost and the machines become more of an entirely digital, aways-online, Steam-like service offering,” they said in an interview with GamingBolt. “If not, maybe the generation after… but it’s coming. physical discs are old technology. And I think streaming and subscription services like PlayStation Now are likely to become more central to how consumers buy and play – in the same way that Netflix and Spotify have come to define how we consume movies and music. On the other hand, consumer internet still isn’t ideal for delivering the tens of gigabytes that current-gen games consume, so if they’re even bigger next time round, it could mean games on disc stay relevant for a while longer.”
I really hope this isn’t true, to be honest. I’d even be fine with digital download only consoles (most of my game purchases at this point are digital anyway), but a shift to a streaming future for games does not interest me in the slightest. Games are data intensive, and the question of latency simply cannot be sidestepped, it’s a matter of the fundamental laws of physics. I don’t want my gaming experience to be made worse in pursuit of some ideal about the future of gaming- I hope that won’t happen in the future.
Stay tuned for our full interview on Smoke and Sacrifice in the coming days.