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"There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us."
- Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, speaking to Variety.
Video game consoles don't have long on this Earth, if Yves Guillemot has anything to say about it.
Specifically, the Ubisoft cofounder and chief recently told Variety that he sees the future of the game industry in streaming libraries of games accessible on multiple different devices, from consoles to smartphones to TVs.
He's not the first or (probably) the last person in games to envision an end to consoles as we know them, but it's interesting to see that he thinks such a future would bring a broader audience to big-budget games -- if the work is put in to make them easily accessible.
"It is going to help the AAA game industry grow much faster,” Guillemot said. “We have to work on the accessibility of those games, to make sure they can be played on any device, but the fact that we will be able to stream those games on mobile phones and television screens without a console is going to change a lot of the industry."
Of course, a world in which streaming game services are broadly and easily accessible is a world in which physical game sales matter even less than they do now, and pirating games is much harder. While Guillemot acknowledges the challenges of trying to deliver reliably enjoyable game streaming to people around the world, he seems confident that it will be possible within a few years.
"There are quite a few people that are working on streaming, like Nvidia,” he told Variety. “So, we think it’s a trend and that it will continue to evolve. Eventually, the technology will improve dramatically, which will allow us to have a very smooth experience in the big cities of the world."
This sort of optimistic futurism makes more sense when you consider that Ubisoft just had a record-setting fiscal year, thanks in large part to "player recurring income" (read: microtransactions) in games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Far Cry 5, and Rainbow Six Siege. As part of the earnings report, Guillemot told investors that Ubisoft is now investing heavily in PC/mobile games and in game streaming tech.
"Our potential in the PC and mobile markets is massive, notably in China," he said in March. "Over the longer term, new forms of gaming, enabled notably by streaming, will allow our brands to reach a much wider audience. Consequently, we are investing in our online services platform – which boasted 88 million unique active players – as well as in artificial intelligence in order to better tailor the game experience to each player’s profile and therefore offer them ever-richer experiences."
Devs curious to read the rest of Guillemot's more recent comments can do so by checking out the full Variety article.