Written by Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)
We’re only a month away from the beginning of a new decade. The twenties show a lot of promise for many industries from automotive where the big push to electric continues through to the global push for climate change and a better world to live in.
For gaming, it has the potential to be a decade that changes gaming forever.
Sure, it sounds super-dramatic but seriously, think about it. This past decade gave us some interesting developments, less the original Xbox One and Playstation 4, which on the whole, were already behind the times when they launched, I’m talking more about the Nintendo Swtich, the PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, graphics cards with ray tracing support, native 4K support, HDR, faster frame rates, VR headsets, AR headsets, cloud streaming and much more.
So how will the next decade top that?
I’m a console gamer, get over it. It’s natural for me to revolve the world of gaming around consoles despite the fact that PCs are generally the better technology for playing games in every way. Regardless, 2020 already promises to be a great year for consoles. Maybe even the first time in a decades that a console can match the technology, power and ability of a top end PC and at half the price.
With the promise of native 4K resolutions with high frame rates, the potential to support 8K resolutions, ray tracing and generally enough power to run the next 5 years or so of games, consoles might finally break through a decent choice over the humble PC.
One year from writing this, I hope to be sat playing my brand new Xbox with Halo: Infinite loaded up and all the memories of why I fell in love with Halo all those years ago!
The death of consoles?
In the same decade that consoles are finally going to break through as power-houses, we might also see the death of consoles. In recent interviews with Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, he alluded to the idea that they considered not making another console. New initiatives like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud are paving the way for cloud streaming that doesn’t need a console at all.
It’s true that they both launched in the teen decade but it’s going to be the twenties that they either fly or fall. Unfortunately for Google, Stadia hasn’t been all that well received so far, with many reviews basically saying the internet infrastructure just isn’t yet good enough to support full cloud streaming. Because of this, you’re basically still restricted to playing in your own home, at which point, you start to question why you wouldn’t just buy a console? Maybe price but when you weigh up the monthly subscription cost and the price of new games (only ever full price as well), a second hand console and second hand games is actually the cheaper option and doesn’t fully rely on the internet.
That being said, the next decade looks promising for new internet infrastructure and technologies that could make cloud gaming a reality, not only in the home but on phones, laptops and other devices capable of streaming.
The next phase of Internet Infrastructure
There are a few different internet infrastructure upgrades that could change the way we game. Firstly, there’s 5G. It’s in its early stages but tests have been promising with the speeds and connections looking pretty good.
Then there’s fibre and cable that is improving everyday and at least in the UK is growing in infrastructure all the time allowing more and more people access to high-speed internet.
An evolution in computing
PC gaming has been evolving decade after decade and more accurately, year on year with improvements in architecture, power, cooling, memory speeds, clock speeds, processing and just about every other element you can think of. It’s also PC gaming that keeps driving consoles forward as the demand and drive and many other industry breakthroughs make PC gaming better than ever.
Processors are getting smaller but more powerful, graphics cards are capable of running higher native resolutions and frame rates and RAM and storage speeds allow smooth running of games. Couple all of this with the improved internet infrastructure previously mentioned and the advances in cooling tech, computing continues to develop and the 20’s will be no different.
While I can’t predict what the next 10 years hold for computing, and in fact, gaming in general, I would take a guess that by 2030 we’ll see more affordable VR options (providing it doesn’t die out completely), better options for accessibility to keep gaming diverse and inclusive, better internet allowing for better online gameplay, much better console gaming and of course, a rise in cloud streaming that opens up games for a lot more people that can’t afford an expensive PC or console.
Personally, I believe that the next decade of gaming is going to be the most inclusive yet and that is a truly great thing!