The End is Nigh! Or is it?

A new console generation is right around the corner, but could it be the last?

I had rather interesting conversation the other day. Video-game consoles have been an iconic part of gaming for decades now, they’ve enthralled us and entertained generations of gamers. The landscape is changing though.

Tablet PCs and smartphones have exploded into our homes over the last several years and new, potentially revolutionary, hardware is on the horizon. What impact on our lives, and gaming in general, will Google Glass or the Oculus Rift have? We live in an age now where portable devices are growing rapidly in both popularity and power. It’s not inconceivable that they will outstrip consoles for gaming purposes and that a console, wired up to a TV and taking up shelf space, becomes archaic.

‘But what about graphics?. Tablet PCs won’t be able to match the awesome power of future hardware – there’s just not enough space!’ This is true, which could mean PC gaming, which has always been the leader in visual fidelity, will remain relatively untouched, at least for a while.

Another opponent exists though- Cloud Computing. While it hasn’t fared particularly well for gaming so far, we could well see it rise in prominence. Cloud data storage is already in established use (for example, iTunes, Steam and many, many others). With better internet connections, the need for advanced hardware at the consumer’s end evaporates, and again, you could stream visually stunning games onto your giant TV without the need for a dedicated gaming console.

Of course, this is all conjecture. We can’t see the future, but we do stand at a pivotal point in time; new technologies and shifting markets will shape the way we game. Whether consoles survive isn’t something I can predict, but at the very least I think we should all be excited at the possibilities opening up for gaming as a whole in the years to come.

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