The next big home consoles are likely to be the last, according to Nvidia. The company's head of cloud gaming Phil Eisler says that thanks to the long lifespan of today's consoles, by the time the Xbox 720 and PS4 are out for the count cloud gaming will have overtaken traditional home consoles.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Eislier said, "The thing about the consoles … they say this is the last console, and I am certainly a believer in that. The last one is almost 10 years old now in terms of the technology."
As a man involved with cloud gaming, his support for the idea of the cloud overtaking the console is predictable, but he also talks some pretty convincing tech. He says, "Bandwidth is going up. The cost of server rooms is going down. We’re bringing latency down. The experience will just get better and better every year, to the point where I think it will become the predominant way that people play games."
He also tries to quash some misconceptions about latency, which is thought of as one of the biggest current problems with cloud gaming at present - "People worry about the network latency, but actually, in the whole pipeline, it’s the smallest piece. Our monitors that we work with today are under 10 milliseconds of latency. We think that, working with smart TV manufacturers, we’ll be able to cut that time down. It’s going to be possible very shortly to have a cloud-rendered experience that has lower latency than the current console plus standard television experience." It's an impressive claim, but one we shouldn’t expect to see come good within the next few months - let's not forget that even if the next consoles are the last, they could be around and defining gaming for a decade."
Nvidia's Phil Eisler
The cloud gaming world took a hit recently, as the best-known name in the market OnLive underwent restructuring that saw all of its employees ousted, and the stepping-down of its founder a week later.
Nvidia's Eisler says of OnLive, "I think a lot of their problems were of their own doing… We wouldn’t do some things the way that OnLive did, and it’s unfortunate that things ended the way they did there, but we don’t see that as a negative for the long-term potential of cloud gaming. We’re still bullish on it."
OnLive was bought out by Lauder Partners on 20 August, and continues to operate with around half of its employees, who have been re-hired. The future for the company is uncertain, but the future is looking a little brighter for its main rival, Gaikai. The company was bought out by Sony in July 2012 for $380 million, suggesting its tech could become part of a PlayStation-branded cloud gaming future.