I love David Jaffe. David Jaffe loves everything he’s involved in. He thinks God of War is the best action game ever. He thinks Twisted Metal is the best vehicle combat game ever. He thinks Calling All Cars is… well, exceptions prove rules. The point is, Jaffe loves his work and for that, I love Jaffe.
But enough of the painfully unreciprocal bromance, let’s read about what Jaffe thinks of something he’s not involved with anymore: consoles. David left Sony’s feathery underarm mere months ago and he’s already predicting the end to their only profitable arm of business.
Look, consoles are going away. I think in 10 years – probably sooner, but 10 years is always the safe thing to say so you don’t sound like an idiot – but here’s what I’ll say: I’ll go on the record and say that the next generation of hardware will be the last consoles. And they should be
Now, before we all start roaring and wailing about what an outspoken idiot David Jaffe is because he holds the opinion that something we really like quite a lot is going to die soon, let’s take a moment to consider how much things have changed in this business in ten years and what the next ten years might bring.
Can you imagine if, in 2002, someone had told you that people in general would spend more time playing games on a website than they spend playing games on consoles that plug into a television. And yet, Facebook gaming is by far a bigger time sink than consoles, for far more people. I remember people being roundly ridiculed for suggesting that most games would be bought and downloaded rather than purchased in shops and I’m fairly sure that wasn’t even ten years ago. Ten years ago, YouTube wasn’t even an idea.
Jaffe isn’t predicting the demise of console makers, or gaming. He’s saying that what those makers sell us and the way we obtain those games is likely to change. Sony would become content providers, streaming games to us that we play on their space age foldaway television screens, or whatever they’ll be making in ten years time.
The next ten years are likely to be driven by soaring HD development costs, soaring mobile gaming market share and profitability (unless that bubble pops, and then we’re all screwed) and potentially great leaps forward in broadband and streaming technology. Jaffe might not be wrong, you know.