The Next-box Will Leave Discs Behind
Are we heading towards disc-less consoles?
With the recent UK release of OnLive, a totally online disc-less gaming console, the way we think about our games and the discs they come on could see a huge change. With the latest update of Xbox Live, expected within the next few months, Microsoft will add Cloud save files to its service. Is this yet another inevitable step towards a totally online service?
The Xbox 360 has already pushed the acceptance of online, disc-less content with it Games On Demand and XBLA titles and the examples set by the movie and music industry suggesst that bigger hard drives and zero discs is a future we can look forward to. But, will future consoles really come with nothing but a hard drive and a connection to the internet?
Speaking at the Cloud Gaming USA convention in San Jose, THQ’s CEO, Brian Farrell, described a future of the games industry that could be dominated by consoles that don’t rely on discs.
As well as being the next big thing in the PC world, cloud services are set to offer a number of quick revolutions in how we access content across the internet. Everything from personal pictures to music, movies and gaming are set to benefit from the technology, but THQ’s Farrell believes that future consoles won’t even need disc drives and will access games straight from the internet from services like Xbox Live.
In this future, Farrell described a console and players that were always connected and always online. He went into detail about the innovations this could fuel including a greater connectivity between publisher, developers and the gamers themselves, which could throw up any number of new opportunities for gaming. COD Eilte has already stated that it will have designated officials playing along with gamers, watching and refereeing special online matches; imagine what could be done on an even grander scale? RPGs with full casts of real actors for you to interact with?
Alright, we’ll admit, that one might be a bit too ambitious, but cloud gaming is opening up huge amounts of creative opportunities for the industry, the lack of a disc drive on the next Xbox might even go unnoticed by the masses. A digital future it seems, for many, is an inevitable part of the evolution of the industry and will see the high street store, second-hand games and boxed releases become as antiquated as the SCART cable.