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Ovosonico Head on the Industry's Future: 'PlayStation Will Likely Become a Streaming Channel'

Wccftech had a long, interesting chat with Ovosonico founder Massimo Guarini (Director of Shadows of the Damned) about the future of the industry as a whole, from the need for more mature games to next-generation consoles, cloud streaming and Virtual Reality.

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darthv72148d ago

"We'll get there, there'll be a Netflix of games of sorts. For example, the brand PlayStation will probably, eventually be just a streaming channel. Maybe the TVs and displays of the future will already have all the sufficient technology to run games or at least process those being streamed from a server farm."

I don't see Sony going that route completely but instead continue to offer the choice for those who want the PSNow experience as well as those who want traditional experience.

Tross148d ago

Neither do I. Sony does dabble in new ideas that are gaining traction at a given time, but they don't tend to replace more traditional gaming and distribution with them. Instead, they adopt them as an extra option, and I think that's the best way to approach things. That way if people like the idea of streaming for example, they have access to PS NOW, but if they don't then PlayStation still has their back. PlayStation is inclusive in its approach to appealing to the consumer. It's why I tend to like Sony more than MS.

NeoGamer232148d ago

What we are seeing right now is a business model that may be drastically changing. People perceive a console as a thing they hook up to their TV.

In the future consoles might be just services and subscriptions that work on any number of devices including future consoles.

locomorales148d ago

It just seems like a matter of time. Fully streaming over the next 5 years? I would bet not. In 2030? Probably yes.

BeOpenMinded148d ago

I agree, as with all things like this we don't see it coming. It's an inevitability just by how far things are now but I expect another decade before a true change of form.

DJStotty148d ago

when discs are obsolete they will all be streaming/download platforms

darthv72147d ago

Considering that discs today are not used the same as they were... I'd say they are already obsolete. Before the mandatory installation, you actually used the disc to read data from and load into memory to play and stream redbook audio off of. Now they are strictly storage and installation media. After that they are nothing more than a key to allow you to play said installed content.

Since you can download the same exact content... there is no point in having the disc. Unless you are someone who just likes looking at it taking up shelf space?

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Spurg148d ago

They will be using Azure

RazzerRedux148d ago (Edited 148d ago )

And? Apple uses Samsung panels in their phones. Microsoft and Apple both use Sony sensors in their devices. Corporations can be competitors in one market and partners in another. This isn't new.

roadkillers148d ago

I hope so, stick with gaming companies. Don't go to Amazon who has zero experience.

locomorales148d ago

I don't like to imagine that, but I agree. In the future all systems will be streaming. It is better for companies, and in a capitalist world that is what matters.

GamesAsAService148d ago

Ok, so I pay for subscriptions from game publishers for access to entire game library that I can play instantly on any device.

As long as they consolidate (AKA bundles, 2-3 service's that cover all games, as opposed to every publisher having their own streaming service) the value would be there.

When the tech gets there I will probably jump in.

Godmars290148d ago

You're basically talking about the mobile model for gaming.

Where is anything on mobile consolidated into one service?

GamesAsAService148d ago

When you say mobile model what one are you referring to specifically?

1) Predatory monetization with two tiered currencies (currency you earn from playing vs currency you buy that allow you to progress faster)

2) The style of game, usually simple concept, not much depth, and designed for touchscreens.

3) The fact that it is played on a mobile device? (meaning any game played on phone is a "mobile game")

Is this reference to the streaming services like stadia, xcloud, psnow?

Or something like Apple Arcade?

Stadia, xcloud, psnow, stream (some only do so locally, others over the internet) console games. This is not the mobile model for gaming (if by mobile model you are referring to simple games designed for touchscreen and have shitty currency economies that make progression more difficult thus incentivizing you to spend).

If you ask me, these that I listed seem quite consolidated to me. 2-3 services that cover most of the bases.

Apart from the fact that you can play on a mobile phone as one of the client devices, the future offered by Stadia, xcloud, psnow is not mobile gaming as currently defines. It is better than mobile gaming.

Apple Arcade is the only other subscription I am aware of and it operates like Gamepass. These games are a mixture of mobile and console style games. However seems to lack the predatory monetization schemes as they are part of a paid service and thus do not need to force you to buy things to make their money as that is priced into the subscription.

Please clarify. I am curious as to what we mean. We tend to be loose with our language which make discussing topics like this difficult.

xX-oldboy-Xx148d ago

GamesAsAService - You described exactly how this is going to go as your point for not wanting it.

How's Nvidia NOW going?

The publishers are greedy pricks and people like you are facilitating their greed.

This is bad for gamers in the long run - gamers just have realise it.

GamesAsAService148d ago (Edited 148d ago )

PART 1

Something I find really frustrating when trying to respond to you is that you speak with such surety with regards to how something will end up. It is like you have spoken to someone from the future and they have let you know that game streaming didn't work out. You say that it is bad for gamers in the long run but fail to give me your reasons. So I have nothing to respond to directly.

I will say this however.

What would be your dream outcome for the state of gaming? Divorce your answer from what is happening in the gaming space right now. Look at it from the broadest and most general terms.

For me the dream is that I can play AAA games everywhere, on whatever device I want, with whatever controller I want, with who over I want.

Now what would need to happen to make sure that that reality happen? What are the different approaches?

1) Mobile cpu's and gpu's get very powerful and power efficient allowing them to natively play AAA games we enjoy on consoles and pc. This would also have to go hand in hand with battery breakthroughs that allow for decent playtime. This is ideal.

2) As things that are not dedicated gaming devices will probably not be able to capably handle AAA games, they will need to creatively overcome their computational limitations. This is achieved through having all computational work done offsite and the video / inputs are streamed in.

Method 1 has not materialized yet. While there may have been tech demos showing where we are with mobile performance, we do not have AAA games releasing on xbox, playstation, pc, switch, and mobile. That is not a thing yet. Another hurdle in the realization of method 1 is that the performance gaps between the preferred platforms (PC, xbox, playstation) and mobile are still too large. This performance gap has to get within reasonable distance of the gaming boxes to be taken seriously, and development across the preferred boxes and mobile has to be easy to do.

Now pay close attention to my mental leap.

You ready?

It will probably get to a point where this is possible. The technical hurdles that stand in our way currently will be overcome. Just as they have been overcome to get us to this point, they will be overcome to get us past this point.

If your iPhone has more computational power that the fucking spaceship that got us to the moon, I think it is perfectly reasonable that we will be playing AAA games locally on our phones in the relatively near future.

Now with regards to method 2. What are the technical limitations?

Latency and video quality.

What about these two issues seem unsurmountable to you? It is another technical problem. IF I GIVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT TO THE FIRST METHOD, WHY IS IT NOT POSSIBLE TO EXTEND THE SAME CURTESY TO THE SECOND?

Networks will improve. Video compression will become better and move towards no loss in quality. Latency will decrease over time (just as it has been decreasing for decades). Video quality will increase over time (just as it has been increasing for decades).

AND GUESS WHAT????

A version of this works right now?!?!

Is it perfect? No. But it is a pretty good first try. Will it improve? Most likely.

Am I saying that this is the only way we will be enjoying games in the future? NO. But it will be ONE option.

Look at anything technology and see the progress made over time.

GamesAsAService148d ago

PART 2

Now any other critique you have of streaming is an issue with the BUSINESS MODEL as opposed to the underlying technology (which we have established above will improve). Here I have more sympathy.

Ideally, games would not have to be repurchased if you already own it.

Ideally, you should be able to stream the games you own for free.

Let us evaluate the business models of the different streaming services.

Xcloud. (Technologically second after google, but azure is very popular and give them much capability and reach with their data centre coverage)

This is bundled with xbox live and game pass. The ability to stream is a nice cherry on top. You do not have to repurchase games for streaming to work. The value seems to be there.

PS now (probably going to use xbox's azure for their streaming service. Network stuff is not their strong suite)

Similar to xcloud.

Stadia (Technologically the most competent when it comes to all things networks. Most data centres, probably best latency, etc)

Have to pay for usage of service. Have to pay for the games.

Other services exist but this is a good example of who will have the advantage as a result of their technology COMBINED with their business model. Sony and Microsoft are currently best positioned as a result.

However, an adjustment to stadia's business model could make their offering much more attractive.

Anyways, I just encourage everyone to put in some mental energy in thinking through the implications. Don't just think something is bad just because that is the consensus. Do the legwork for yourself and see where you end up.

xX-oldboy-Xx147d ago

I ain't reading your book mate - but I'll answer the first question.

Quite simply - a future where streaming is an option NOT the only option.

I game at home, I live my life/socialise when I'm not home - funny concept I know.

Unfortunately - IF streaming gets any sort of traction, it's over. They already want to limit 'ownership' of titles.

Look at P.T. and how that turned into an absolute shitshow.

Wake up mate - THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR GAMERS.

GamesAsAService147d ago

"Quite simply - a future where streaming is an option NOT the only option."

This is one of the things I say. So we are in agreement here.

In my post I differentiate between the technology of games streaming and the business model.

Basically I say that most people have an issue with the business model more than with the technology itself. A business model correction is much easier to change and should not be a pain point for so many people.

Godmars290147d ago

I mean that once game companies control direct access to IPs they own over traditional single product purchase policies, which they have been contesting since code wheels, there's nothing to stop them from adopting, from giving into the temptation, of using the mobile game model in its entirety. Stadia's and Xclouds have specifically used that they can play on anything, mobile devices especially, as an advantage. Don't think that just because you're paying a subscription to access a library of games that you wont have to deal with DLC, MTs as well as season passes. Or that such, ads, can't be inserted into old games because they already have.

It just foolish to think that as console game companies introduce things similar to mobile gaming that they wont eventually use the model in its entirety, plus whatever new anti-consumer tricks they can come up with. There may and likely will be a few ethical outliers who give you what you pay for and don't try to take another cent, but sadly that mentality could vanish with the wrong CEO being put in place and the flick of a switch.

GamesAsAService147d ago

I am genuinely curious to know how you handled the transition from dvd's/blueray to streaming.

You seem to conflate innovation with anti-consumer tricks.

I have never understood the resistance from specifically the gaming community to new technologies. As it has been a medium that has benefited the most from improvements in tech. You would think that there is an open mindedness, or at least a benefit of the doubt approach to seeing how new tech impacts our favourite hobby.

So many of you are so terrified of change. 95% of people who speak about streaming have never tried any of these services you speak of.

Godmars290146d ago (Edited 146d ago )

"You seem to conflate innovation with anti-consumer tricks."

Given that attempt to transition from DVD to BR got confused with the BR/HD-DVD "war", an attempt to effect the value of physical media in favor of streaming, or that streaming itself is at "war" with several studios bringing out their own services pulling their content from current ones, nevermind the active censoring on Disney+, yeah, pretty much guilty as charged.

And I've used PSNow, just as I currently sub to Netflix and Hulu. While I will readily admit that streaming is good for certain things, when a pro-Xbox site or poster insists that Xcloud is the future, i have to point out that the same company wanted always online and to be able to control all points of sale and trade for games on the XB1 - and more than 5% of gamers said "F**K NO!" to that.

GamesAsAService146d ago

Good points.

Although my argument is that most things are always online. If anything Microsoft was early, and telegraphed where the industry would go years later. The hurdle is not as high as it once was. Most people outside of games don't really bat an eye at the notion of always online.

xX-oldboy-Xx146d ago

Buddy - don't think for one second think they are doing this for us gamers.

Digital already takes ownership away from gamers, this is another way for them to have more control over our games AND increase profits.

It's not for gamers, it's for SHAREHOLDERS.

GamesAsAService146d ago

I think I commented something along those lines in an article about guerrilla games response to the criticism over releasing horizon on PC. Fiduciary duty to shareholders is what guides decisions, not fan backlash.

I understand that my temperament predisposes me to fall in the glass half full camp when discussing things with potential upside and downsides. More of an optimist, but I do see the concerns people have.

Godmars290146d ago

"Although my argument is that most things are always online. If anything Microsoft was early, and telegraphed where the industry would go years later. The hurdle is not as high as it once was. Most people outside of games don't really bat an eye at the notion of always online."

And my argument is that consoles should be semi if not fully functional independent systems without an online connection. That a game should be complete enough to play offline and as soon put into a console instead of having to wait hours to download a day-one required patch that's bigger than what's the game's suppose to be.

And again, if I haven't said it here I've said it elsewhere many times over, given MS's overall position in the tech industry they only dictate the direction it goes regardless of being right or as often wrong. If not more so.

Likewise, my go to of how they influence the industry while utterly failing to capitalize on it will always be how they had Netflix as an exclusive Xbox service for nearly a year, yet because of insistence to tie their own paid sub service to it, Netflix only took off to make the streaming market a thing till after becoming available without strings on the PS3 and later other devices. That the PS3 and the gaming market was as yet as online dependent as it is now is probably why the console closed the worldwide sale gap with the 360. Would have officially surpassed it if not for MS using its influence to announce they'd stop announcing console numbers and much of games media complying.

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