One of the biggest noticeable trends at E3 2019 is the rise of streaming. xCloud, Stadia, PlayStation Vue, these are just some of the streaming services announced for the future, and they all promise console quality gaming experiences on any screen. So does this means the console is over? Phil Spencer doesn't think so.
In an interview with CNET, Xbox boss Phil Spencer was asked whether Project Scarlett and the PlayStation 5 would be the last consoles. "Honestly, I don't know. I've been around long enough to know that there have been multiple 'this is the last generation.' That's not a new meme that comes out," Spencer says.
Spencer instead offers the following rejoinder, "When I look, even in a world of streaming and xCloud, and let's say streaming of any other form of media that's out there – music, video – the number of computer devices around us hasn't gone down, it's gone up."
Spencer also reaffirmed his belief that even with streaming technology, the best way to play high-fidelity games is on local devices. A stance Spencer has been promoting since the XO event in Mexico City last year.
His comments are the strongest defense for local hardware in the era of streaming. Other game executives have a more forward-facing view of the industry. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot for example believes that Scarlett and PS5 could indeed be the last hardware generation.
In an interview last year Guillemot said about streaming, "With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home."
There's no new console just yet, so whatever stances video game leaders like Spencer and Guillemot have are just guesses at this point. But it's clear that there's no consensus about what the future of gaming looks like once streaming and next-gen consoles hit the market in earnest.
For more, check out our E3 2019 guide for all the coverage of this week's event.