Gaming

Xbox alum talks about the future of gaming and PlayStation’s place in it

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“I love how the topic is ‘the future of gaming,’ like it’s all up to me,” Perkins says with a laugh to kick off his presentations section of the day. He gets a chuckle from the crowd as he adds, “That’s what the guy said!” This is what will happen!”

After spending the last two years working at Qualcomm (which Perkins calls an “ingredient brand” you’ll find in everything from 5G networks to Snapdragon chips), and three years before that working on new consoles for Xbox, Perkins has spent a good part of his professional life trying to figure out where the game is headed.

Although Qualcomm has contributed to consoles in the past, the company’s current focus is mobile. Perkins notes that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Elite Gaming banner has brought “desktop-level capabilities” to phones, including variable rate shading and volumetric rendering.

Qualcomm is involved in everything from 5G to phone chips.

Getty

Not wanting to get bogged down in jargon, Perkins went on to detail “the future of the game as decided by me”. He told us, “That’s what I think we’re going to see. And that’s what got me so excited. Because of all the advancements we’ve had in the mobile space, we’re seeing people becoming more and more platform agnostic. They want great games.

Perkins adds: “I actually started decades ago when it was ‘Team Nintendo’ or ‘Team Sega’. Sega had the famous campaign, “Sega does what Nintendont”, and Sonic was out for blood against Mario. And then you saw, next generation, there was the Xbox [fans] and Sony ponies, right? »

The lay of the land doesn’t really look like that anymore. Perkins says, “What we saw, and that stems from some internal research we did…we asked gamers, which platform are you most excited about? Where do you spend the most time? »

At this point, Perkins shares a slide of startling stats, including one about people who call themselves PC gamers, but actually spend almost as much time gaming on their phones as they do on their computers. Likewise, people who primarily play mobile games can also spend a lot of time on consoles.

Analyzing the data, Perkins says, “Through it all, you see so much overlap. And this is for several different reasons. You know, number one, let’s say you game on your PC all the time, well… what if you’re on the subway on your way to work? You don’t take your PC with you, do you? But you can play another game or even the same game with cross-platform progression or cross-platform saves.

He adds, “You see a lot of games coming out that are, by nature, designed to be cross-platform. A simple example is Fortnite. It is a game that spans all platforms. And it’s great to know that I can play on my Xbox against my friend on a PlayStation or a PC. I can even be on my phone and play against these other platforms.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming has made many technological advancements for mobile.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming has made many technological advancements for mobile.

Perkins also noted an example from the world of television, saying, “If you think about it, like, say Netflix for example – nobody ever says, ‘Hey, what are you watching?’ “Oh, I’m watching Netflix phone” right? Or “I’m watching Netflix TV”. It’s just Netflix, right? And you can start watching on your phone, you can port it to your TV , we know it’s just Netflix.

“And so that’s what I’m looking forward to [in gaming], like, ‘Oh, what are you doing?’ “I play Fortnite”. And it doesn’t matter where you play. To make that a bigger reality, Perkins says you need “developers to be open to it” and you need to “have the technology for it.” He notes that Snapdragon Elite Gaming “builds this technology in, so you don’t see a full drop” when comparing mobile to other platforms.

Cloud gaming supported by the fast 5G network will also play a role in this future. Perkins says, “The end vision of cloud gaming is to be on every screen. So right now what you see are games [on mobile] which were originally intended for PC or console – you know, no one ever wanted Halo to be played in the palm of your hands.

Because of what’s possible with the cloud, Perkins says, “You’re starting to see developers thinking outside the box, like, ‘Okay, what’s that going to look like on a smaller screen?’ Conversely, you know, what will it look like on a bigger screen if you work the other way, being able to project something from your phone to your PC monitor or TV monitor.

“So ultimately all games become one, and isn’t that what we really want? Don’t be encumbered with “this game looks awesome, how can I play it?” To be able to see this game and say, “I can’t wait to play it on all the screens of my life.”

This future looks good, but there are a few wrinkles that need ironing out in our view. It’s one thing to predict what the future of the game will be, but good collaboration would be needed to make it happen.

Although Xbox and Fortnite makers Epic Games seem keen on sharing their content across multiple platforms, you could argue that Sony and Nintendo are clinging more tightly to the old tradition of console-locked exclusives. . We ask the public: will this vision of the future of gaming be held back by platform owners and developers who don’t share the same vision?

Perkins replies, “I mean, I don’t think so. I think we are seeing an erosion of those walls around the platforms. Now, I think some are earlier than others, and some are a bit more aggressive about it. But I mean, if you want to talk, let’s take the PlayStation for example, right?

“Previously, ‘you need to own a PlayStation to play this Sony Studios game’. And [now] you see them on PC, launched via Steam. There’s this delay from when they’re on console [to when they come on PC]but I think they are opening up to it, aren’t they?

“At the end of the day, the consumer always wins, no matter what. Because it’s the money you put in. And I think people are starting to think about it a little differently.”

Sony's God of War game was a PS4 exclusive when it launched in 2018, but it came to PC in 2022.

Sony’s God of War game was a PS4 exclusive when it launched in 2018, but it came to PC in 2022.

sony

Indeed, Sony has started to launch into PC versions of its previously PlayStation-exclusive games, although – as Perkins alluded to – these Steam versions tend to arrive several years after the PS4/PS5 launches of the same games. And you can technically get PlayStation games on your phone if you control your console with the Remote Play app. Still, it’s hard to imagine Sony rushing to embrace a platform-agnostic future, especially when stock PS5 is still flying off the shelves.

Perkins continued, “If you want to talk about the hardware side, all hardware loses money, right? You make up for it, of course, on the software. But people are starting to review these business models. And we’ve never had so many screens in our lives, have we? Like, I mean, you’re going to be able to play games on your fridge at some point.

“And I’m not saying dedicated hardware is going to go away. Because if you can, say, in a world where you’re streaming 8K via the cloud [on your phone]. Have dedicated equipment [like a console or PC], you’re going to get 16K or 64K or whatever. So there will always be a place for that.

“But it’s going to come to a certain point where, if you want that experience, it’s going to be on that screen somewhere. And I think you’re going to see different timings. And I think some are going to adapt quicker.”

Perkins envisions a future where you don’t have to “worry about which box or which hardware you can enjoy this experience on. Let’s have this experience everywhere. And so that’s what I think the future is. And I think these [companies and developers] who have somehow been indebted to their walled gardens see everyone playing in the shared space, and there’s going to be a need to lean into the content. And let’s not worry about how it’s delivered. Let’s just provide this content to everyone.

The Snapdragon G3x development kit that Patrick Perkins brought with him.

The Snapdragon G3x development kit that Patrick Perkins brought with him.

Perkins also brought with him a prototype of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform, a new Qualcomm device that combines high-end mobile technology with the form factor of a handheld console. SDKs like this have been sent out to developers before.

This new product, which was designed in collaboration with Razer, could become an interesting option in the future of gaming that Perkins described. We had a brief opportunity to try it out, with Rocket League Sideswipe and the cloud version of Forza Horizon 4 working just fine.

Perkins noted that this hardware is still “very, very early” in its journey, but it can run Android games and stream PC games as well as support cloud-based services like Xbox Game Pass, Amazon Luna, Google Stadia and PlayStation Remote Play. It could become an attractive choice for gamers who want to carry as many of their games as possible.

“It’s all built around the mantra that I said earlier,” Perkins says, “about letting the content shine, letting the experience shine. phones, right?

Perkins adds, “But for the slide I showed, where people are playing cross-platform, it’s additive, it’s on top of that. […] I don’t expect anyone to throw away their PC, do you, but if they want to play their game in bed and they don’t want to scramble their way to their setup ? Fantastic.” Maybe the future will be here sooner than you thought.

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