Andrew House talks about the next gen of consoles
Although Andrew House is no longer at Sony, he still thinks that consoles like the PlayStation 4 have a bright future in the upcoming years. He believes that every next generations of consoles, will have longer lifecycles. He noted that the current generation of consoles still have been slow to being commercially successful in many markets, like the Middle East countries and China. With consoles having a longer lifecycle will give this generation of consoles a longer time to be successful on those markets. Consoles right now, can take advantage of features like streaming, sharing, and free-to-play games to expand their audiences.
“PC clearly pioneered many trends,” House noted, referring to features like livestreaming games. But then the PlayStation 4 was able to make those features safe and better-suited for a mass market.
Andrew House believes that in future consoles, disks will still be a part of them for a while, but he thinks that streaming games on the console 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 it is for music, or 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 content, he said that it is a subject of debate within the industry. Some people think it will hurt the industry, but House is bullish on free-to-play content on console. This gives gamers more flexibility on what they would want to play, and gamers are smart enough to see the different payment models and pick what works for them. But Andrew House does have one concern. He’s worried that dominant franchises can take over the gamers time on consoles, so free-to-play games gives developers a better chance to capture the attention of gamers.
House noted that with free-to-play games comes things like microtransactions. Since adapting monetization on games comes with a learning curve, he said: “We’re probably going to see a few missteps,” referencing EA’s controversy with Star Wars: Battlefront II’s microtransaction.
Here’s what Andrew House said in an interview with 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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