The console wars are officially over. However, this is not because SEGA is no longer in the game. Or because over the last couple of years, Nintendo and Microsoft have become friendly, game-sharing buddies. It’s not even because of the ever-increasing prevalence of cross-platform play. Nope. It’s because in the near future, gaming battles will be fought in the cloud, and Sony and Nintendo just don’t have the artillery to compete. At least, that’s according to Xbox boss, Phil Spencer.
In a recent article by Seth Schiesel (in protocol.com) entitled: “Why big tech is betting big on gaming in 2020” Schiesel quotes a variety of tech companies and their leaders. Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all share their views about how gaming is already massive and will become an even bigger force and why they’re all “in” for it. Of course, Microsoft has already been at the table for some time with Xbox and so it is particularly interesting when Phil Spencer is quoted as saying:
“When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward. That’s not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years.”Phil Spencer talking to protocol.com
He was referring to future technology specifically and to be honest he obviously has a point in terms of current cloud-infrastructure. However, it seems like some pretty brave words coming from the leader of a team that will soon, once again, go head-to-head directly with Sony and the new generation of home consoles. Especially, considering how far ahead Sony is in the current generation and how the PS4 simply dominated sales for the last few years. And, arguably, how far away viable-cloud-gaming is for most of the world.
That being said, it’s clear Microsoft are coming out swinging – with big promises, a series of new studios and a brave outlook. And if they can back up some of their recent talk with solid action and eventually sales figures, Spencer’s latest remarks may soon be considered bold but ultimately rather prophetic.