Andrew House talks about the next gen of consoles

Andrew House is no longer at Sony, but he still thinks that consoles like the PlayStation 4 have big future ahead of them.

House believes that consoles will keep having longer lifecycles. He noted that consoles still have been slow to take over in many markets, including places like the Middle East and China. A longer lifecycle gives this generation a longer time to penetrate those markets. Consoles are now able to take advantage of developments like streaming, sharing, and free-to-play to expand their audiences.

“PC clearly pioneered many trends,” House noted, referring to things like livestreaming. But then the PlayStation 4 is able to make those features safe and better-suited for a mass market.

As for what future consoles will look like, House believes that disks will still be a part of them awhile, but he thinks that streaming will also be important for the future of console gaming. He believes that streaming of digital content will eventually be as important to the gaming industry as is for music for movies.

“There is no reason why streaming shouldn’t be just as present … as we’ve seen it change the music industry, as the television and movie industry.” He noted that the original PlayStation marketed itself as a media shift from cartridges to CDs.

As for free-to-play, he said that it is a subject of debate within the industry. Some think it will hurt the industry, but House is bullish on free-to-play on console. It gives players more flexibility, and players are smart enough to see different models and pick what works for them. House does have one concern. He’s worried that dominant franchises can take over players’ time on consoles. Free-to-play gives developers a better chance to capture the attention of gamers.

With free-to-play comes things like microtransactions. Adapting monetization comes with a learning curve. “We’re probably going to see a few missteps,” House said, referencing EA’s problems with Star Wars: Battlefront II’s microtransaction woes.

Interview with Andrew House: (Kotaku)

“In 2013, the vast majority of conventional wisdom was saying that consoles were dead,” House said. “The whole market was moving to mobile and there was no future for this. I remember saying to myself, to use a very English metaphor, ‘Am I going to be the last governor of Hong Kong, overseeing the end of consoles?’ Fortunately, all those impending doom mongers were all very wrong.”

House predicted that next-generation consoles will still likely operate with discs, rather than downloads and streams-only.

“I don’t have any firm knowledge on this, but my sense is that you will see the disc around in the industry for a while,” he said. “If you’re going to tap into some of these [developing] markets, then allowing for that more traditional physical purchase model as an option is probably no bad thing.”

House said that cloud-streaming of games will likely be a significant factor in the next generation of consoles.

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