The times, they are a’changing. Much like everything else, the video game industry is in a state of disruption and flux. Streaming is slowly, but surely, becoming a part of gaming, and subscription services are starting to pop up all over the place. It’s hard to imagine where gaming will be in the next few years, what it’ll look like, and how we’ll consume it. But Xbox Head Phil Spencer has some ideas.
In the latest episode of the Game Maker’s Notebook podcast, Spencer shared his thoughts about where the industry is heading. He imagines it’ll be a lot like the music industry, where new avenues will mean more broad access, thinking of something like Spotify, which you can access on many devices- but for games. Interestingly, he also thinks there will be way more devices in general for gaming, talking about streaming-only boxes, high end hardware, and anything in-between (big thanks to Twinifinite for transcribing the interview).
“I think we’re going to end up with more differences underneath our TVs than we did before,” said Spencer. “I do think there’ll probably be a plethora of streaming-only consoles that don’t have a disk drive, don’t have a storage device, and everything is coming through, and then it’s how do I get the signal to the TV… maybe some of those are built-in…
“I think you’ll see more high-end stuff as well. I just look around and try to pattern-match on things. If I think about video and music… the streaming services that are out there have liberated those media types to all the devices around me. I now have way more devices than I ever had to watch TV.
“With the advent of Disney and Netflix and everybody else coming in, it has not lessened the number of devices. It has actually increased. The same is with music. Now I have Spotify in my ear, I have Spotify in my pocket, I have it in my home… I have the ability to connect to my music services across so many different devices with different levels of fidelity… large screens, small screens, stereo sound… sometimes I listen to music with one earpiece only.
“I think games are going to go in a similar way. I what we’re going to find is as games are able to run in multiple contexts and on different devices, you’re going to see a lot of different devices grow up, supporting different scenarios.”
That’s quite the big idea, but I imagine Spencer isn’t too far off here. Gaming, much like everything else, is going into a fractured state of media, it feels like. The times, they are a’changing.