Today the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences published a new episode of its Game Maker’s Notebook Podcast hosted by Insomniac Games’ Ted Price and starring Xbox division head Phil Spencer.
Price asked Spencer what he thinks the future of consoles is like and what he would like them to be ten years from now.
Spencer mentioned that he envisions a future with a variety of devices including streaming-only consoles and more high-end ones, and possibly the ability to access games from all the TVs in our houses.
“I think we’re going to end up with more differences underneath our TVs than we did before. 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.
Underneath my television… One of the things that have always bummed me out about consoles is that I usually have one TV in my house that my console is plugged into. This is very much a multiple TV bubble world that we live in where we have multiple TVs in our house, but the idea that I can’t just go to any TV in my house and sit down and play the games that I want to go play… We should have that ability.
The model for us in the industry we should think about… Yes, maybe one of them is the primary places where I play where I have the most capability, but my ability to throw that content either from that console or from the cloud to any of the TVs in my house is something that I think we should have and I think helps us in terms of families playing together and new creative scenarios.
I think we’re gonna see a multitude of different devices in my house that allow me to play.”
Spencer mentioned that a similar scenario can already be glimpsed with the Project xCloud trials, but we’re still early on in that kind of future and it’s going to be fun.
He also talked about competition and cooperation with other brands in the gaming industry.
“I’ll say the conversations we’re having with whether it’s the other platform holders – which I know at times I make comments about who’s my competition and who is not – for me it’s really about people that today have large gaming audiences and customers, and I find my conversations with those other companies are usually more collaborative than “two may enter, one may leave” scenarios.
In that world, I’d love the industry to find a way to continue to evolve through both competition and cooperation. We should compete in the areas that help us both get better, and where the winner is the team that does the best job at putting the customer at the center and bringing the right experiences.
I love the brands that are in the industry today and the safety that players have with those brands. I think for us as an industry, it’s great when all of those brands can continue to grow.”
If you’d like to hear more of Spencer’s vision, you can read his recent comments about the future of Xbox in Japan.