Twitch CEO Emmett Shear has told The Guardian that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will likely be the last generation of dedicated games consoles as we know them.

He suggested that in future, games consoles will likely look more like set-top boxes. They’ll have a shorter life-span but be able to do more than just play games.

“The problem is, the seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn’t work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform,” he told The Guardian.

He believes that games consoles will have to “change form”, and imagines a world in which Microsoft and Sony iterate their console designs, adding more processing power and memory in a similar fashion to how mobile phone-makers update their hardware.

Shear’s comments somewhat miss the point of a dedicated games console: that of having a set hardware specification for which to develop games, something that allows game-makers to deliver the exact same experience for all of the console’s users.

By changing hardware and allowing some people to upgrade while others lag behind doesn’t make any sense, as the appeal of a console is the level playing field and low cost of entry on offer.

Twitch itself, meanwhile, is doing quite well on both current-gen consoles. The streaming service has over 100 million subscribers, and Shear admits that the implementations on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 that let gamers stream directly from their consoles using the Twitch app have been a success.

He added that PC is still the best platform on which to use Twitch. “The top end of broadcasting still tends to come from PC – if you want to produce high-end content you want more  than is going to be prepared for you in any off the shelf set-up, but it’s gotten a lot of people started in broadcasting and that’s really important.”

What do you guys think? Is Shear right, or will consoles of the future resemble what we see today, just with better hardware and tighter operating systems?

[Source – The Guardian]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.