Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has said in an interview that he doesn’t think that game streaming is going to replace traditional game downloads or loading them from a disc in the near future.
In a recent interview with LevelUp, Spencer was questioned on his opinion of the future of games streaming, as well as the cloud technology that supports these services. Specifically he was asked whether or not he thought that games would disappear as media the consumers purchase, replaced by a game streaming service which titles are immediately released through.
His response was that he doesn’t believe that game streaming services will replace traditional downloads or purchases anytime soon. He said that the best way to play a game on console or PC right now is still to download it because it runs better with files stored locally.
However, he did add that at some point in the future it could be possible that game streaming will replace traditional game purchases. Right now he doesn’t see how game streaming could become mass marketed, because only a few companies are doing it right now. Once more companies are offering game streaming to consumers, and that streaming service is robust enough to make it easy for consumers to choose to stream a game over purchasing it, then it might be possible that traditional games media will disappear.
Currently home consoles have only a few options when it comes to streaming games, Playstation Now and Xbox Game Pass among them. While these services have strong library of titles, they’re still at the mercy of the quality of internet connection at the end user’s location. Right now there’s no way for a game streaming service to overcome this barrier apart from downloading the game to the consumer’s console whilst it’s being used, which takes up device memory and time.
Phil Spencer ended his interview by saying that game streaming isn’t about trying to replace traditional games media as a purchasing option, it’s about giving consumers a choice. Companies such as Google are already experimenting with their own game streaming services, but even they can’t compete with a downloaded game at the moment.
In the future it might be possible that consumers only stream games from a library of titles as they release, but it seems like many believe the industry has a long way to go before that happens.