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Square Enix President Says Streaming Is The Future

Streaming seems set to play a big part in the next generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony which are thought to be released next year. In a new year message from Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda, he stated that he believes that streaming will be the future of video games. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Against this backdrop of significant change, the current generation of game consoles has entered the late stage, and the next generation of consoles has become a topic of discussion in the digital entertainment industry. Meanwhile, cloud streaming services for gaming have at last begun to show signs of taking off. Streaming is likely to bring a number of new platform operators into the market in addition to the existing console providers, while platform holders are also joining the PC gaming space. These developments produce a growing number of avenues through which game publishers and developers can provide content. In particular, game streaming services will be the ultimate driver of a rapid transition from the sale of games in boxes to digital consumption. Streaming also lends itself to new subscription-based business models, so we believe deciding how to engage with these forthcoming trends will be key to future growth.

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44 comments

    1. If you make money with minimal effort, you will stop doing the things that take a lot of effort.
      So the people that will jump on the streaming bandwagon will screw the pooch for the rest of us.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Why would streaming be advantageous to the average consumer in any sort of way? Continuous need of a stable internet connection, and you don’t own the game at all so you can lose access immediately if the game is pulled from the servers or the service is shutdown altogether. If “streaming is the future” then I’ll be boycotting this to hell.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. lol @ all the saltiness in the comments over this.

      Honestly, if you don’t think this is coming at some point in the future then you’re in for a rude awakening (note: he’s talking about the “future” not “near future”)

      “Why would streaming be advantageous to the average consumer in any sort of way?” – well let’s have a think; off the top of my head:

      1) The end of console wars – no longer would you need to buy a Nintendo console to play Mario/Zelda, Playstation to play GoW/Uncharted, Xbox to play Forza/Halo. You’d just sign up for whichever streaming service allows you to play the games you want to play at that time – if current streaming services are anything to go by; on a month-to-month basis.

      2) Developers would only need to develop and optimize games for one platform: that means less development time (so the games you want get released faster/most often) plus the end of crappy versions of games on certain consoles or struggling to release versions of games on consoles with weaker specs.

      3) No reliance on local processing power. Because a server online would be processing the games rather than the console sat in your home the developers can make the games far, far more advanced in terms of graphical fidelity and in-game physics. Plus this would continue to improve year-on-year as technology improves without having to upgrade to the next generation of consoles to do so.

      4) Game on whatever device you have nearby – this means carrying on your game via any TV or mobile device connected to the internet, without having to take a console with you. Just log into your account and carry on.

      I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.

      Plus, I’d like to point out that there wouldn’t be individual servers for each game, a game would just be spun up on a virtual machine with enough processing power + memory to run at optimal performance, so I think your concerns about not being able to play certain games after some time is unwarranted – you can still listen to music from the 1920’s on Spotify, there’s no reason to believe there’ll be any difference here.

      This is obviously a fair way off yet, we simply don’t have fast enough internet speeds or the server infrastructures to support this atm and won’t for several years, but believe me, it’s coming and personally I’m exited by the possibilities.

      Like

      1. That may be a good thing “far into the future” but “streaming playing a big part in the next console generation” is what worries me. We may see a day when this becomes more ideal than how things are handled now, but through my experience on PSNow, nothing about it is better yet. It’s fine if they keep it as an option for now until they find a way to make it better and WiFi advances to the point where concerns about lag are next to nonexistent, but as far as I’m concerned that’s still far off from now, and words saying it will “play a big part” in the next gen implies to me that services will feature their own exclusive content on them. Also, I don’t think songs from the 1920’s are a valid comparison since you can still listen to old vinyl records if you choose to do so and you never had to worry about losing access to it if the people who made the product choose to discontinue the item, but with online services you lose any access to that game if it gets pulled from the shop unless if you resort to piracy, and companies like Nintendo will try to take stuff like that down despite not actively providing a current form of access to it themselves. If something like an online shop is taken down you might argue a company can just prerelease the game, but we’re currently talking a day and age where Nintendo won’t release anything other than NES titles as far as console titles go on the Switch. Even with the future you’re talking about you could still be prone to having games taken down if there is enough media backlash, or if a certain type of game like FPS games are decided to be illegal by the government.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I can’t reply to shinygold2’s comment directly to replying to my last comment instead:

        Yeah that’s a fair comment about the concern about this factoring into next-gen. Tbh I think this is likely half hyperbole and half as you say, keeping it as option for now until the technology truly catches up.

        With the 1920’s music streaming comparison – tbf neither of us really know what the gaming industry will look like in 10-20 years time, but my suspicion is that if a publisher will be able to make money by having as much content as possible on their streaming platform, they’re going to take that route. Content is king and that’s likely to be the case for sometime now.

        Finally, if our governments turn into lockdown nanny states, making FPS and the like illegal then I suspect we’ll have bigger issues on our hands than whether “I can still play that game I liked from 15 years ago”. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that anyway!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. So, let’s take apart these arguments:

        1) Currently, if you want to be able to play all kinds of games, you need to buy all systems on the market => expensive.
        If you want to play all games in a world where everything is cloud based, you would have to pay for all kinds of streaming services => expensive

        Now, as you suggested, you could hop from one service to the other, depending on what you currently want to play, however whether that is a good option depends on your exact use case.
        You want to play the most recent AAA games? You might get around with paying only for one or two services simultaneously.
        You want to sometimes play a round of smash online? That is one more streaming service you have to pay for.
        Other games like that? Potentially even more services to pay, unless they happen to be from the same company.
        (You could say “screw company xyz, the others are more important”, but that is what you are already doing with the console wars…)
        You are like me and play all kinds of games at the same time and therefore take time to complete them? You need several subscriptions and pay a lot of money because of it!

        Apart from that, hopping from one service to the other is a serious hassle and a lot of people will sometimes forget to unsubscribe for once and pay for another month or similar stuff like that.
        Right now it’s easier, I want to play a game and I just do it. I don’t have to keep track about what services I am currently subscribed to…

        2) That is barely an argument. On XBOX, PS4 and PC, only a comparatively small amount of time is needed for porting, since the systems are so similar, Switch takes a bit longer, but even there it mainly took time until now because a lot of the tools used for game development don’t necessarily work well on Switch (since it was new). This is, however, a non issue if the game is developed with all systems in mind from the beginning (no porting afterwards) with tools chosen accordingly.
        A lot of development time is also consumed by design work, especially graphics design in modern games. You can throw a lot of people at that to save time but those need to be coordinated so that there aren’t, for example, multiple characters that look strangely different from each other…
        When it comes to porting however, you could literally throw a bunch of people at it if necessary. They can work on different prots simultaneously without worrying much about the other teams.

        Now the company behind it wouldn’t need to spend as much money on game development if there were just one platform, but that is only good for them, not for us. (And probably one of the main reasons, companies want cloud gaming in the first place…)

        3) Keep in mind that those servers need to run these games for all users simultaneously, that means an insane amount of processing power is used just because of that. You can solve this problem by just having a LOT of servers. That would also cost a lot of money though and they already need tons of servers just because there must be a server near every potential consumer on the world, simply because distance can’t be too high.
        Now you not only want really great graphics but also want them to upgrade all of these servers so regularly so that you always have these great modern graphics? How much do you want these services to cost?

        4) You would still need to, at least, take a controller with you, unless you like playing games like Zelda on a smartphone touchscreen…
        Still, this is an argument that works in theory, but not so much in praxis.
        Let’s stay with the Zelda example:

        – You want to play on the go: Since Zelda kinda needs a controller, you need to place your phone/tablet somewhere and then use that controller. This is way worse than using a Switch or a 3DS (if that still counts in the future…).
        Apart from that, you also need a very very good internet connection, something you won’t have on the go, most of the time. Unless maybe we are talking about the FAR future, like in a 100 years or so…

        – You stay in a hotel and want to play there: Firstly, ther is, again, the problem of needing a very VERY good internet connection, something you might very well not even be able to check beforehand…
        You would still need a controller, which is, as you have luggage with you anyways not a huge problem. Though you could argue that even taking a whole console with you might not be too huge of a problem either depending on what exactly you are doing. In any case, you could just take a Switch with you instead.
        So, somehow, the Switch happens to cover almost the entire argument here.
        Also, you are saying this like you suddenly want to play somewhere without taking the console with you being a good option (especially said Switch…), but it would still need to be not a problem to take some kind of controller and without it being on the go (doesn’t relly work, as explained). What kind of situation is that even?

        To the rest of your arguments:
        Mutliple games on the same server would mean more people excessing the same server at the same time, which would, again, interfere with the great graphics you want because of massive workload. Mutliple old games on the same server would work, but putting them on virtual machines would again need far more processing power than the game would need otherwise.
        The comparison with Spotify doesn’t work on multiple levels, as music takes up waaaay less space (Far fewer servers needed), doesn’t care about lag (so servers don’t need to be so close), and the actual workload is mostly on your local system as that is what decodes the music…
        So one music server can actually, not only have incredible amounts of music stored but can also stream to an incredible amount of users at the same time and can be very far away. All of that is not the case when streaming games.
        This is like comparing a walk to the supermarket with flying to mars. Even if you compare it to movie streaming…
        Now server systems can indeed handle a lot of work at the same time, but we always have to keep in mind that we do not want any kind of lag as well.
        Just for reference: if all of this works years from now, this would still not be a pro for cloud gaming from consumer perspective. It would just show that it works at all.

        When it really comes down to it, the only notable pro that cloud gaming actually has is that it is potentially cheaper, depending on your use case.

        On the other side there are some massive cons:

        – Inevitable input lag: No matter how fast your connection is, there are some physical barriers you can’t break through as long as the interent works the way it does.
        Example: I just tested, my ping to my local google server is about 22ms. I do not have bad internet and this is the simplest and about the fastest case one could measure. Still I would have a lag of around 22ms with possible spikes.
        This lag would be much higher in cloud gaming and there isn’t much you can possibly do about it.
        Of course in many games, a little lag wouldn’t matter or even be noticable but in some it would!
        Some people even look out for a fast TV/Monitor because that alone can already cause noticable lag. (The internet lag would be added to that)
        (Some people do not even want to buy monitors with 5ms reaction time as that is to slow. FIVE MILLISECONDS…
        Of course it is debatable how much sense that actually makes, but I am just saying…)

        – Complete dependency on the servers: Too many players want to play at the same time? More lag, or even no game at all for you.
        Some technical problems with the servers? Same.
        Problems with your own internet connection? Same.

        – Cloud gaming won’t work everywhere: If you live in a big city and the servers are right around the corner, the lag might be bearable, but what about everyone else? It will still take a loooong time until everyone can have this good of a connection.

        I could go on with these as well….

        Cloud gaming might very well work some day, but it will always have big disadvantages unless maybe we get some kind of internet 2.0. Even then it would have disadvantages.
        For some people, again depending of you use case, it could be interesting as an option though. There would also be a lot less workload if only some people use it, like it is with AC in japan.

        Well, this text became so long that barely anyone will probably read it… :P

        Liked by 5 people

      4. Soo… Long… Did… Read… All of… It…. ….*falls over & passes out with tongue hanging out* In all seriousness, though, that was pretty long but I read it. Someone is bound to TL;DR it at some point, though, if they read & if someone hasn’t done it already.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. You already do not own your shiny new video games in any sort of way. When you buy a video game physically, you only own the media the game is stored onto and the box/manual. What you buy is the right (or licence) to play the game. Nowadays, you do not own the game regardless it’s physical or digital.

      At any given time and for any reason, a company could decide to withdraw your rights from playing any game (physical or digital, no difference). Circumventing this kind of enforcement would be seen as piracy, which also could cause you trouble with law enforcement.

      The point is that in 2019, people should stop thinking they own their video games just because they buy them in physical form. They just don’t.

      Like

      1. The sad, sad truth. People still argue that you own the game if you buy it physically but don’t if you own it digitally, so you’re a sucker if you buy your games digitally. In truth, you don’t own it no matter HOW you buy it. Like the Matrix, it’s all an illusion. Unlike the systems before the internet was a thing, on the current systems all they have to do is send a code through the internet directly to your system & block the use of that snazzy little physical disc/cartridge/card you have the game on.

        Like

      2. I’ve been hearing this argument for years and I frankly don’t buy it. The only thing I’m aware of is closing you out of the online multiplayer after a certain time, but you’re still able to play the game itself. Unless if they actively close you out if any component of the game, which I need to play an example of because I’ve never seen it happen, but even then anything from the gamecube and before that you own as far as I’m aware of because I don’t think the government will set out on a witch hunt seeing who is illegally playing on their N64. it just wouldn’t be worth it and it’s not believable since they don’t actively arrest those who pirate on their PC’s.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. What kind of diarrhea to text logic are you trying to spout? If I buy a Switch game physically and have a Switch, I can play that game on my Switch 30 years from now no problem. The only way this could possibly not work would be the BS that the Xbox One has with requiring you to create an online account for your system to even operate or with the few games that force an online connection, which are pretty much all online/multiplayer only games to begin with. I really have no idea what you are trying to argue with that logic. Unless you are talking about people thinking they have the rights to alter the games software and they re-distribute it or charge people the right to play your copy of the game, there is absolutely no sane logic in saying that a physical copy has the same restrictions of ownership on it that a digital copy does. Unless these companies start creating their own Secret Police that are going to go around and bust down peoples doors to take back their physical copies after 5 years, there is no reason at all to make the ridiculous claim that physical has the same restrictions as digital or streaming.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. It’s an illusion that you actually own the game because you bought it physically. Always has been. It’s been a lie that we’ve been fed ever since stories were put on paper & into a book for someone to carry home with them & lulling them into some false sense of ownership. You bought the right to own a COPY of the original, not a right to own the actual product.

        Like

      5. Video game ownership being like book ownership was going to be my next example until I read that. You can literally pass down a book to a family member for generations and the government won’t care, they’ll let you read it as long as you like. There’s no risk of confiscation here, and if they can barge into your home and demand something like that, that would lead into a whole lot of other problems. It is your copy. You own it. Simple as that.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. If you truly own the movie, song, or video game, why do you think there are so many restrictions on what you can & can’t do with it? Because you don’t own the rights to the original and merely own the copy but even owning the copy comes with it’s own restrictions. If you think you own it, go ahead & make copies of it & sell it on eBay or Amazon. Just don’t be surprised if you end up arrested or sued when the one who truly owns the property finds out. There is a reason the words “physical/digital copy”, “This is the property of”, & “All Rights Reserved” are there. It’s to remind us we don’t really own it & those rights are solely under the ownership of the one that has the original. If you really, truly owned it, you’d be able to do anything & everything you want with it.

        Like

      7. That’s because you don’t own the actual IP, it’s obvious that trying to make copies of a game and selling it will run you into legal trouble, but you still own the copy that you bought. If I can’t buy the game after a certain period then that’s closer to buying a license, but if I buy a game and it can be played by family generations long after I die then I own that copy.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. They should not be prioritizing that or even talking about that right now. They can’t even give proper focus or direction on their flagship franchise. The Japanese division is run by incompetent idiots. They’re only able to stay in power because they’re continually bailed out by the Europe division and mobile game sales

    Liked by 2 people

  3. No thank you. Not a future I want. Especially with how internet works in the US. Now if the way companies like AT&T are allowed to run over the little guy & buy out large rural areas to keep competition away changes where they aren’t allowed to pull this bullshit anymore, then I might be open to it as long as it’s an optional thing & I can still download digital games to storage devices like an external hard drive. Otherwise, you can keep your future & shove it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sure it’s gonna be bonfires and kumbaya.
    Now you have to subscribe 2 or 3 services if you want most of the shows you actually are interested in.
    Every major publisher will think they’re the worth subscribing for, and each of these services will cost that 60$ a month.
    Not to forget all the microtransactions, loot boxes and I am pretty sure they somehow will find a way to squeeze in multiple collectors editions and pre-orders.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. If the future of Square-Enix games is streaming then the future is me not buying them.

    It’s all about control people. If Square-Enix could flip a switch that would shut off your ability to play FF7 on your PS1 and force you to buy that shiny new PS4 version, they would.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There is always going to be a market for those that just want quick access, just like there will always be people that want a archived, “best-experience” version of something, which is why we have people that use NetFlix and those that buy a blu-ray. Gaming will be no different and if these companies think they can force their “ideal” system on everyone, they will see a strong decline in sales from a long-standing portion of the customer base.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. And now Square enix enters the realm of the retarded! Streaming is the future Maybe in the land of the rising sun where income flows like 1st rate piss but overseas our economy is nothing like yours, use your head you fools gamers overseas are not smartphone,digital weirdos thinking streaming is the future we prefer physical media giving us an intensive purpose to go out and purchase something we can actually own and not play when you say it’s ok.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Historically, that would be awful for gaming. Think about games like Goldeneye and it’s place in history. Due to copyright issues, it can’t be re-released. The fact that it had a physical copy (and thus a rom) allowed it to be preserved so that people can still play it today. P.T. is a good example of what happens when physical copies don’t exist.

    Streaming games would be as good as non-existent as soon as the service that’s running it shuts down. Companies need to think about more than profit and to also consider what’s good for preservation of the medium. Of course, judging by some of the stuff Square Enix releases these days, it doesn’t surprise me that they would push something like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Video games, movies, & books that came out over the last 100 years is part of what some would call our modern mythology. These things need to be preserved because it’d be sad to lose them to the pages of history because someone didn’t bother to preserve the original copy of them. Some video games have already suffered this like the original Silent Hill because Konami lost the damn original copy of the game which is why the remake for Wii & such was even made.

      Like

      1. Back before the 1950s, film stock was made of nitrate and was highly flammable and you could not buy motion picture films on 16mm or 8mm to project at home. Instead, the only place to watch films was at the theater and often times a major film studio owned the theater. As was inevitable, several fires started over the years, the most notable ones being the at Universal, Fox, and MGM, and the only copies of films were burned to nothing. And it wasn’t just a few. To quote Wikipedia

        “Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation claims that “half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost forever… A study by the Library of Congress states that 75% of all silent films are now lost.”

        I can imagine something similar happening if games were streamed and I can already imagine it happening with less popular indie games that only receive digital distribution. Of course, the data on large servers is usually redundant with backups in other facilities but businesses go out of business, computers get repurposed, and code gets lost.

        And we haven’t even considered what that would do for indie game development. Now developing for a console will maybe require a dev kit that’ll cost a few grand but it’s a one time cost. Would a small indie developer instead have to rent space and processor usage on a remote development server on a monthly basis? When the game is done, are they continued to be charged a fee to have their game host or does the service just take a larger cut of their profits? Would it be like current web space services where you can rent cheaper packages with virtualized servers that share resources with completely unrelated websites and potentially have another game’s shitty code actually take down streaming for your game?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. One of my favorite movies of all time Legend (with Tim Curry & Tom Cruise) lost a scene that was removed from the main film due to a fire. It’s always sad when stuff (or animals) is lost forever due to the mistakes we’ve, as a species, made.

        Like

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