Microsoft is prepping for a future without consoles

2 min read


The big industry news at the moment is that Microsoft has forked out two and a half billion Dollars for developer Mojang and its cultural phenomenon, Minecraft. Thing is, they won’t be focusing purely on the Xbox version, nor will they be making any other versions go away. They’ll probably end up spending a lot of energy on the mobile ones.

According to Michael Patcher, Microsoft knows that soon, consoles will be going the way of the dodo – with traditional set-top consoles being replaced by micro ones, or tablets and smartphones.

“I think consoles are going away, because you used to need a console because you could not connect a microprocessor to your TV screen,” Pachter said, speaking at GamesBeat 2014.

“Now, if you have a Chromecast stick or a Roku box, you can. So why do we buy consoles? I mean, your phone will be powerful enough to power any game in two more generations. And, so, why buy a console? I think Microsoft actually knows that.”

And this is one of Pachter’s regular mumblings that I actually do agree with. I think in the future, it’s inevitable that traditional consoles are forgone in favour of tablets that’ll happily interface with your TV and allow for traditional and mobile gaming on one device.

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It’s definitely the way of the future – though I’m not sure we’re ready for that future just yet. Some speculate that the current crop of consoles will be the very last, but I’m not quite as convinced; I think they’ll stick around for a generation or two more.

We are, however, already seeing tablets and mobiles that come close to the graphical fidelity we see in the new consoles and it won’t be too long until they eclipse them.

Last Updated: September 16, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • TGS Babay (Umar)

    Guys…GUYS!! Have you heard, consoles are dead!! I mean I know the millions in sales with the latest consoles means nothing…But consoles are dead!!!We can now play Alien Isolation on our iPad

    • OVGrounded new game+++


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Consoles are DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

      • Consoles are Printered!

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Double-sided & laminated. GAME OVER. PRINTALITY!

    • Weanerdog

      Remember when PCs were dead, you console guys are so late to the party. It is not even cool to be dead anymore.

      • MakeItLegal

        Ha ha your comment has made my Tuesday ! Thank you

      • Hammersteyn

        When was that?

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Every year for the last decade or so.

      • Mossel

        hahaha! Well done. They can’t even win at losing.

      • TGS Babay (Umar)

        I love looooooove this comment XD!!

    • YAY!

  • Hammersteyn

    Sounds more like he’s saying they’ve lost this round, but it doesn’t matter seeing how consoles isn’t the future anymore

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Nah uh, I don’t want filthy console peasantses joining me in the afterlife.

    • Rock789

      BURN THE WITCH!!!! HERETIC!!!! **lights bonfire**

      Wait, what?! :p

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Come on baby light my fire.

  • Weanerdog

    Well if steam migrate the rest of their title to Linux, Someone builds that Ubuntu phone we are there almost there. I am not sure if that would really be so cool for MS though.

  • Hammersteyn

    Sony want’s to start streaming games anyways, not that it’s quite yet plausible so I can see Microsoft getting rid of the console, unless they 180 again of course

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Mobile devices are not going to replace dedicated hardware for a very long time. There’s my expert prediction, it’s worth just as much as his.

  • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

    Wait… So PC is dead. Console is dead? So gaming is dead?

    • We are al dead!

      • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

        Dun dun duuuuuuun

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      We’re all deeeeeeaaaaaaaadddddddd. Gaming is a M Night Shamalan movie!

      • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora


  • I don’t see this happening I am afraid. Not for a very long time. More chance of a Virtual Boy revival with Power Glove than me sitting playing on my brand-spanking new iPhone 6.

  • “I see dead gamers on LG”. Wow, that would make for a boring movie.

    • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

      Your face is a boring movie!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        If only it was a silent movie.

      • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

        I’m sorry that was a bit harsh @rincethis:disqus

        My apologies good sir

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          I’m sure he’ll forgive you once he sees what I wrote 😉

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      I think it would make for a good action-comedy:

      The movie opens with the Alien Emperor walking through a devastated landscape, ruined buildings & dead bodies strewn across the ground. He looks pleased. He comes across a mangled body lying face down pierced by a sai, he turns it over & sees a dead Rince. He smiles & starts kicking the body vigorously while laughing maniacally. 89 minutes later roll credits. INSTANT CLASSIC MULTIPLE OSCARS!

  • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora
  • Byron Houwens

    “…your phone will be powerful enough to power any game in two more generations. And, so, why buy a console?”

    Because then I won’t be able to use my phone while I play… You know, for its intended purpose?

    Even if tablets and phones do mirror consoles in their capabilities, games are not what they were actually built for and people know it. No one buys an iPad thinking “man, can’t wait to play those sweet games on this baby” and no one buys an Xbox One thinking “finally, just what I need to chat over Skype”. Those things can do the extra stuff, but that’s not their focus

    • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

      Well said

    • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

      Do you think they built the first supercomputer thinking “Daaaaaamn.. I can’t wait to Redtube on this bad boy.” Hells no. Even if that is what PC’s are almost completely used for now.

      Oh. And playing games. That too. 😛

      My point is.. if I can get everything in one system (and it’s the size of a tablet but it can connect with my Gods awfully huge TV screen) I’d be super keen.

      • Byron Houwens

        PCs were designed to make work life easier for the people using them. And yes PCs are very much used in basically every industry, so no, it’s not just for porn and games. Yes, PCs can do those things too (for some that’s clearly all they do) but their original purpose is for work and that’s what they’re used for.

        Still, I get your point. PCs are kinda unique in the sense that they’ve taken on many roles in our lives. Phones and tablets are quickly becoming that way too, but PCs haven’t killed Playstation or Xbox sales. What makes you think a powerful phone will?

        • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

          Hahahaha. I was only kidding with the Redtube comment. I was just trying to highlight that the reason we create technology and how it is ultimately consumed are often very very different. It is not inconceivable that a tablet/phone hybrid technology currently unknown to us could be an all in one super system that we all use in much the same way we currently use PC’s. Maybe this is a few generations away. Maybe right around the corner.

          I’m not saying that PC’s killed consoles. Or that consoles will ultimately die. But I’d be super interested in an all-in-one system on a personal level and would quickly jump ship to that if it were available. And with the rate of technological advancement as it currently stands, who knows how soon that will take?

          • Byron Houwens

            Absolutely, good points!

  • Ryanza

    Microsoft with Xbox One has shown that their focus is not really on pushing the best video game console. Microsoft’s focus is on online DRM and the Cloud (server based computing).

    If phones will be powerful enough to run games in 2 generations. Just think what PC graphics and CPU’s can do in 2 generations from now. So if console makers are not making consoles anymore, it’s not because of phones, tablets, the Cloud. It will be because console makers just doesn’t want to make a fucking console anymore.

    I can not see myself support anything that will cause lag towards the games I like to play. So when you play a game over the internet because there are no consoles, I for see lot of lag.

    Every house on this planet needs to be connected to the internet for a non console server based internet gaming to work. But for most households on this planet having low latency internet, erm, 50 more years, 100 years?

    As we moving towards a always online, always connected to the NSA, society, will we even want to support games in that fashion. I know I wouldn’t.

    I’m glad that phones can play GTA SA. I’m glad that phones can play GTA 4 in 2 generations time. But you ain’t seeing me playing that shit on my phone.

    I think that Sony and Nintendo will be in this console business for a very long time because that’s what they do. Microsoft is still kinda new to this console business. So if Microsoft wants to fuck off from the console business and try to take as much gamers with them, then good luck Microsoft. Cause when Microsoft fucks off, it just means that some1 new will enter the market.

    There will always be video game consoles. Don’t follow Microsoft into hell.

    Don’t support DRM

  • Mark Treloar

    Cant see this unless you are streaming the games in which case tablets and phones are redundant, since other cheaper devices can already facilitate this. The biggest hurdle still is broadband speeds that cant support it. Since the US is also trying to impose caps and is already guilty of massive throttling for high end users (gamers are included in this) its unlikely any time soon.

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  • oOqUiS

    DAMN SON!!

  • Greylingad

    Hmmmm….. this is interesting, you see, the time it takes to merely draft the design of a console is equivalent to that of a complete design and production of a new cellphone(give or take maybe a month or so) simply because the technology needs to be firstly mass produced and secondly easy to work with, in addition to this comes the signing up of game developers, whereas using something like Android or iOS staying constant and relatively easy to develop on vs that of creating a whole new OS for a console could be quite daunting, with this said, it makes the eyebrows of the guys at Microsoft and Sony raise uncomfortably high, especially if you take into consideration that Sony has already synchronised their latest phone with their console…. And Microsoft still hasn’t created anything close to this….

    P.S. in the time you’ve read this 3 new phones have probably been released…..

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