Video Game Tuesday: Streaming Consoles

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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Hey all for this week’s Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover some thoughts on some of the rumors and comments I’ve heard recently. It’s all about Streaming Consoles!

Streaming Consoles: I’ve heard multiple comments and rumors saying that the next generation or the one after will be all about streaming like PS Now. Here’s why I find that concept to be utterly laughable.

Why?: Well okay there are many reasons including but not limited to the reason most people buy a console now a days, other than exclusives like Zelda games, is because it’s a one time buy that will last for years and will consistently play games with little to no maintenance on the user’s behalf. You don’t have to worry about malware mucking up your console to the point of being unusable. You don’t have to search for constant upgrades for the console, like you might with a PC either.

In addition they serve as excellent media centers for homes even when you don’t want to use the console for gaming. I rarely play a game on my PlayStation 3 anymore, but I use it all the time to watch Netflix or other things.

But that’s not a good enough reason!: You are absolutely right, however here’s the biggest and best reason I have that streaming consoles are a long, long way off. Infrastructure. Yes you read that right, Infrastructure is the main reason you won’t be seeing a streaming console any time soon by my estimates. Sure some people with delusions might think that it’s a great concept, but they forget a really simple fact. Most people have rather shitty Internet connections. Playing a game on multiplayer with a poor connection is an exercise in frustration and then you want to stream games exclusively? You want people to play a game with decent quality? You’re going to need to have them getting much better connections to the Internet than they are most likely getting. Unless you live on the coast in the US and are in a big city like Seattle or Los Angeles, you most likely don’t have that great of an internet connection.

Sure it might be okay for Netflix or the like, but that’s because the data being transferred is almost 99% one directional. If it was two directional, like it would have to be to be playing a game, most American’s would have a truly terrible gaming experience. That fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s a simple fact of life that right now ISPs like Comcast or Time Warner don’t want to upgrade their systems to handle better speeds. It’s a huge expenditure that they don’t want to take on and they will fight tooth and nail to avoid giving every American citizen decent Internet. Hell even I don’t get that amazing of Internet, I get maybe 35 mb/s download speed and 10 mb/s a second upload at best where I live. There’s no way in hell that streaming a game is going to be doable with speeds like that.

This isn’t even taking into account countries like China, or European countries. I’m not fully up and up on their ISP situations, but business is business and their Comcast equivalents are going to be just as unwilling to upgrade their systems as their American counterparts. So no I see this concept being utterly stupid and ridiculous and not even profitable for Sony or Microsoft.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

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