Even though Microsoft is pushing services heavily, they admitted today that they don’t see subscriptions ever be the dominant form of game consumption. However, Ubisoft seems to disagree with that- in an interview with IGN, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot revealed that he feels that eventually, streaming technology will be so sophisticated that it will be better than actually playing games directly from local hardware.
“Technology is actually going in that direction,” he said. “The machines will be more powerful and the system to transfer data will be more efficient, so at one point, we will have a better experience streaming something than having to buy a machine and change the machine regularly.”
How he assumes that, given that latency is ultimately an insurmountable wall that even the fastest internet connections will face thanks to the laws of physics, I do not understand. The only way around the issues of latency is to have the local client hardware do some speculative calculation and computing to supplement the main processing going on at the host- except, at that point, given the extent of local computing you would need to counter the latency problem to any meaningful degree, why not just, you know, do all of it locally? All of this is without getting into the larger problem of internet connectivity and infrastructure worldwide simply being, on the whole, ill equipped to handle streaming of high end video games.
Unfortunately, these points were scant brought up in IGN’s discussion with Guillemot. What was discussed, however, was a pricing model, where Guillemot remained evasive, not committing to a vision for any one pricing paradigm, instead stating multiple kinds would probably be admissible.
“We’ll have different models,” he said. “Everyone will be able to choose the model that fits for the type of amount he or she wants to invest. What I’d like is the diversity of models. I don’t like one specific way to participate. I’d like to keep different types of approaches so that anyone can play with each other.”
Alright. I still think, of course, the whole errand is misguided, and we have enough failed game streaming experiments for that to be abundantly clear by now- but hey, if they want to give it another go, they are free to. I just wouldn’t expect much if I were them.