Former Xbox Exec Says The End Of Consoles Is 'A Serious Question'

Image: Microsoft / Valery Brozhinsky / Kotaku (Shutterstock)
Image: Microsoft / Valery Brozhinsky / Kotaku (Shutterstock)

Peter Moore knows a lot about making video game consoles. He was Sega of America’s chief operating officer and president from 1999-2003, the man behind the Xbox and Xbox 360 at Microsoft from 2003-2007, and an EA executive vice president from 2007-2017. (You might remember him for his (possibly temporary) Halo 2 and GTA IV tattoos, which is totally fair.) Moore has since left the industry, butt the former gaming big-wig still has lots of big thoughts about the state of the games industry. In a March 8 IGN interview, Moore speculated that we could be coming to the end of console gaming as we know it.

Read More: EA’s Peter Moore: ‘We Can Do Better’ (And Aren’t the Worst Company in America)

Asked about stagnation in the console business, Moore said that it’s at a crossroads right now. Microsoft is investing heavily in cloud technology, seemingly anticipating a future where gaming-specific hardware isn’t a necessity.

“What you’re now seeing and certainly hearing from a company like Microsoft is, does the cloud replace the need for bespoke hardware? Does streaming change the way we game to the devices that we’re now used to, in particular smartphones? I don’t think people are gaming less, they’re just gaming differently,” Moore explained. “And more and more you’re seeing a generation coming through that is not about to sit down for an evening in front of the television with whatever the game du jour is this week.”

Moore mentioned that he’s been having this conversation with industry colleagues since all the way back in 2007. But this time, he seems more convinced than ever that the industry is increasingly becoming all-digital, and that little black boxes under your television will soon be a thing of the past. While he says Microsoft’s already well on its way, PlayStation is the shoe he’s waiting to see drop. “Sony is very much a hardware company, so I would say that that’s your barometer company. Microsoft, not so much,” Moore says. “But I think it’s a real serious question that’s being asked I’m sure in Tokyo, in Redmond, Washington, in Kyoto. That’s what everybody’s working on right now, because when you start off that next [hardware] generation, you’ve got to be ready to absorb billions of dollars in losses.”

These comments come at a particularly interesting time for Microsoft. The company is gearing up for a rumored mid-cycle Xbox Series X/S refresh later this year, which will reportedly be an all-digital system. Some recent big-budget Xbox games, such as the recently released Alan Wake 2 and the upcoming Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga, don’t or won’t be available onphysical discs. It’s evident that Microsoft is betting its chips on a digital future, but with a Nintendo Switch 2 coming and Sony’s post-PS5 plans uncertain, the market for game consoles could look very, very different in just a few years.

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