Video game visionary predicts console-less future

no wiiHideo Kojima, one of the world’s most famous video game creators, thinks consoles will be extinct “in the near future,” thanks to server-based systems like On Live.

“We’ll have games that don’t depend on any platform,” the former NES developer and long-time PlayStation man said at a news conference this week. “Gamers should be able to take the experience with them in their living rooms, on the go, when they travel — wherever they are and whenever they want to play. It should be the same software and the same experience.”

PlayStation boss Hiroshi Kawano was in attendance and seemed “rattled” by the remarks when responding “with a nervous smile,” according to Reuters. “It’s a bold prediction,” Kawano said. “We hope he continues to develop for [our] platforms, but we deeply respect his sense of taking on a challenge.”

Kojima made a name for himself with the release of Metal Gear in 1987 for the NES. His fame skyrocketed, however, after moving the series to PlayStation in 1998.

11 Responses to Video game visionary predicts console-less future

  1. Apoklypse says:

    Kojima made Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake for the MSX2. He wasn’t involved with the NES port of Metal Gear nor Snake’s Revenge. In reality he never directly worked on anything for a Nintendo home console. It was always either ported by someone else or someone else using his characters.

  2. Kale says:

    With the advent of browser-based applications becoming more and more practical, console-less gaming is a viable and attractive gaming platform (ever played Quake Live?). However, I seriously doubt there will ever come a time when there are NO little black media boxes connected to our TVs.

  3. Relden says:

    ArsTechnica had a story on this earlier: http://arstechnica.com/business/future-of-cloud/2010/04/cloud-gaming.ars

    In some ways, this future is already here thanks to Steam. Maybe the next Nintendo console and handheld will be the last Nintendo console and handheld, especially if third party developers decide to go it there own on On Live or Steam, rather than jump through Nintendo’s hoops.

    I wonder if Nintendo can survive just selling Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games on these new services, or will they get absorbed by some bigger company?

  4. deepthought says:

    i made this prediction back in a paper in 2003 😀

    though i thought we’d be much much closer to that reality by now….

  5. elmer says:

    Twoddlespeak I say, but perfectly sums up Kojima’s attitude to gaming.

    Platformless gaming simply can’t ever work very well because enjoyable gaming as an interactive medium is totally dependant on the interface. A ‘universal’ platform, or completely hardware standards free platform would have absolutely no standard interface: keyboards, remote controls, touchscreens, accelerometers, mice (mouses?), control pads – it would be an utter mess. At best a developer conglomeration would vote on a standard control pad – the lowest common denominator, which would invariably end up being a dual stick 360-esque piece of unimagination. Creativity and innovation in interface, and therefore the most important path for evolving interactive gaming would dry up dead overnight.

    Of course if you’re in the business of guided interactive movie making then it’s all dandy. Guess which business Kojima’s in.

    Don’t get me wrong: I think the power/economic benefits of cloud computing are potentially staggering and a definite part of the future of gaming – heck, the future of consumer computing. But it must supplement proprietary platforms – because if Nintendo’s not around to push the interface then nobody will be, and gaming will be stuck in the paradigms of the 90’s forever.

  6. Jeff says:

    BREAKING: Man who bet on wrong horse foresees future without Horse Racing.

  7. Relden says:

    I agree with you, elmer, about the interface, but this is really a software problem, and is probably easily fixed for developers.

    Think of it this way. You’re playing Call of Duty 12, or Tiger Woods 2017 on your TV using some console-like controller. Somebody wants to watch a show, so you shut the game down, and go up stairs and play it on your computer using a keyboard and mouse. Oop, now you have to go out. You grab your cell phone or tablet and pick up where you left off on that. In each case, the interface changes, but you’re playing the same game.

    Writing one game to support multiple interfaces like this is probably a lot easier and cheaper for developers than porting a game from one system to another.

    Also, I doubt Nintendo would be able to survive if all they were left with was making controllers and hoping developers would add them to their interface schemes. That has worked so well with the MotionPlus and WiiFit!

  8. Jeff says:

    “In some ways, this future is already here thanks to Steam. Maybe the next Nintendo console and handheld will be the last Nintendo console and handheld, especially if third party developers decide to go it there own on On Live or Steam, rather than jump through Nintendo’s hoops.”

    I would like you to understand that developers still have to jump through hoops no matter what platform they are on. Steam, 360, Wii. All have operational standards and basic requirements. The free-wheelin’ days of mid 90’s PC development are long gone. Cloud gaming will also have standards to be met.

    “I wonder if Nintendo can survive just selling Mario, Zelda and Pokemon games on these new services, or will they get absorbed by some bigger company?”

    Nintendo will have to underperform for a LONG TIME before it’ll ever get so bad that they’ll have to go “third party.” (Is this seriously what you are suggesting? Nintendo’s made a yearly average of ~$2.5 BILLION dollars for the past five years. They could make several bomb consoles IN A ROW and still have more cash on hand than every developer on the planet.)

  9. Relden says:

    Of course they would have to jump through hoops. But only one set of hoops.

    Do you think EA or Activision, Sega or Square Enix would bother porting their games to all the different platforms if they knew they could just develop one version of it for Steam or On Live and sell as many, if not more, copies? When that happens–and yes, that’s likely still years from now, perhaps near the end of the next console cycle–New Wii, New XBox and New PlayStation will go and join the VCRs and Dreamcasts. Microsoft and Sony, because of their other businesses, probably won’t care so much: they’ll still make money from games. But Nintendo? Well, they’ve gone through great changes before (playing cards, hotels), and can probably do it again. I guess it depends on their shareholders.

  10. Jeff says:

    Call me when Steam actually raises PC gaming out of its obscurity instead of being a defensive move against pirates. So far all it has done is raise Valve to a Nintendo-ish level for PC games, being that they vet every game that comes through.

    And I’ve really finished trying to pry into the mindset of third parties, but I would imagine they’d want to keep all their options open and not pledge fealty to OnLive just for the sake of “cloud gaming.”

    And LOL on predicting Nintendo to leave the game console market, just because cloud gaming might exist. Ah well… entitled to opinion and all.

  11. Mark says:

    Eh, I doubt it. Sales record show that people very much prefer to actually own their products which you simply can’t do with browser or download titles. Browser based games have lots of users, sure, but how many would actually pay money for them? That’s a very different story. And the PSPGo shows us that relying on download titles simply isn’t a very viable solution.

    Maybe someday in the distant future it could happen, but we can pretty safely say that its not going to be any time soon. Especially with game consoles focusing much more on interface nowadays. The Wii, the DS, and even Move and Natal are all things that couldn’t have happened without consoles. As long as consoles continue to provide experiences that are unique, people will continue to buy them.

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