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Andytizer

What are your PC gaming predictions for the next decade?

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I would like to invite community to predict what major PC gaming changes will happen over the next decade, please comment below if you have any thoughts. My own predictions are rather dour, I can see the 'end of PC gaming' as we currently know it will happen at some point in the future, but will it happen in this decade or in 50 years from now? 
 
 
Current year 2020:
Microsoft releases Xbox Series X and xCloud.
Sony releases PlayStation 5.
 
Future:
Microsoft Xbox sales higher than Sony PlayStation spelling the beginning of the end of Sony’s gaming division. Xbox Game Pass and xCloud merge to become thede facto game subscription system on their unified console/PC platform.
 
Steam release Steam Cloud, a desktop streaming service where you can play all your Steam games streamed directly from their content delivery network ala Stadia. It becomes a popular option for PC gamers that competes with Xbox Game Pass.
 
Stadia shuts down in 2023 due to lack of consumer interest which is overshadowed by Xbox Game Pass and Steam Cloud.
 
Microsoft release Xbox Series X Desktop, a new hybrid console and light PC that runs Windows X, a stripped down Windows OS that can only play Xbox games and run Microsoft Store apps and OneDrive/Office 365 and is designed to be used with keyboard, mouse and monitor. The next Xbox ‘console’ will run Word and Excel and kids will get them to do homework on.
 
At the end of the decade, light PCs emerge as the dominant new product range in general - with locked down operating systems and heavy cloud integration but with good enough gaming capabilities. Think Chromebooks but with passable GPUs and frictionless access to game streaming services and cloud services. PC hardware begins to become relegated to enterprise and hobbyist pursuits.
 
DRM like Denuvo becomes less relevant as games and consumers move to convenient subscriptions or streaming services. Game ownership question becomes far less important to gamers (see what happened to ‘music ownership’ once Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube became popular). PC games become far more consumable, one-time use products and general users stop caring as much about game preservation.
 
Ultrawide resolutions rise from <2% to 25% adoption rate due to popular use in enterprise, replacing the 16:9 aspect ratio. 4K adoption languishes as computing performance begins to plateau and convenience of streaming takes over where 4K streams are heavily compressed.
 
Oculus releases another all-in-one successor Oculus Quest 2 and discontinue all other product lines ie Oculus Rift. Overall sales of VR games still do not dominate. VR games will only peak at up to 20% of the market, and it will be focused on the all-in-one product line and not PC VR. 
 
Despite the short term success of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve Index sales slump and Valve step out of production of VR hardware due to low sales ala Steam Controller but still push SteamVR as the platform neutral choice. Third parties still compete on low cost VR headsets but Oculus Quest 2's Android platform will be the de facto place for VR gaming.

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Somebody should finally release a handled x86 console (GPD only did potatoes till now, for the records)

Ray tracing and VR of course.

Linux gaming.

And no, I really don't see gaming moving predominantly on the cloud. 15ms is a good network latency. Not so much if it's display or input latency.

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The same thing we've been seeing since forever.

  • Ports of old Japanese games that no one wanted and haven't been relevant for decades, which still retain framerate locks but are never addressed because "they're old games, stop being entitled".  Also expect abysmal keyboard and mouse controls because "just use a controller bro".
  • Rockstar and other assorted publishers continue to release console exclusive games and continually doubt the possibility of a PC version, and when they do announce them they'll tout standard features such as "4K resolution" and "uncapped framerate" in the trailers.  Despite the delay, the PC ports will have issues, see Monster Hunter World and Spyro Reignited.
  • In fact, maybe even MORE publishers will hop onto the "delay the PC version for no reason other than to grab a couple of extra bucks" train.  Expect Skyrim 2 on PC a year after consoles.
  • Games will tout ultrawide support, but all games will have cropped cutscenes.  Community fixes will prove that there's no reason why they even exist, but developers will continue to do it.
  • RTX support will continue to offer minimal graphics boosts at a huge computational cost, until the next generation of consoles will be able to do their own version of pathtracing.  Sony will continuously boast about the pathtracing capabilities of the PS5 and use their flagship Naughty Dog/San Diego developed titles to showcase just how much better their proprietary methods are compared to typical multiplatform attempts.  Publishers are forbidden from making PC versions of their games look too much better than the console versions in fear of being reprimanded by the console makers.
  • Even more "retro style" games that try to evoke the aesthetics of games of bygone years while having system requirements that make Crysis look conservative.  Be prepared for a game that looks like Tomb Raider but needs a 16 core Zen processor and a GTX 1080 Ti as its minimum requirements.
  • More "remasters" of current generation games that look only mildly better than the originals, yet feature significantly higher requirements.  Maybe some games will finally be ported to PC as a remaster.
  • Unity engine rubbish as far as the eye can see, while Epic continues to murder the niche couch gaming aspect of the PC by removing games from Steam, and thus remove games playable via Steam BPM and Steam Link.
  • More Japanese publishers will support PC as a viable platform, but Atlus will remain forever adamant on never releasing games  (or at least Persona 5/Royal/Scramble) for PC.  NIS Japan will not re-enter the PC market while NIS America will continue to publish random games with abysmal PC versions, precisely the reason why NIS Japan has skipped PC in favor for the Switch.
  • A few years ago, EXAMU Inc. had the brilliant idea to Kickstart the PC port of an Arcana Heart game, perhaps because they had little faith that the platform would let them break even.  A few months ago, NEOWIZ had the idea of releasing their PC port of DJMAX Respect V on Early Access, perhaps because they feel that people will be less critical of any problems in an early access game.  Perhaps this decade will see the dawn of Kickstarted Early Access PC ports, spearheaded by our friends from the Land of the Anti-consumer Sun.

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I agree with Andytizer that Sony could be in a lot of trouble next generation. If streaming and cloud based stuff becomes more popular they simply don't have the infrastructure for it.

Media claims how great Sony and Nintendo are doing, but I am not convinced.

Last generation Nintendo sold 100 million Wii and 155 million DS consoles. This generation Wii U + Switch + 3DS are only at around 135 units sold in 9 years.

Last generation PS3 and Xbox 360 together sold 170 million units, this generation so far is at around 150 million units, assuming Xbox sold around 50 million, but we have no confirmation for it.

So, Nintendo took a serious beating since casual gamers moved to smartphones and tablets, as well as developers who used to flood their Wii and DS consoles with games (like Ubisoft or Activision that would release series like COD or Splinter Cell on their consoles). PS stole the Xbox users, but together they are stagnating. The important thing to consider is that there are now like a billion people more than when last gen started, plus China now allows the sale of consoles, so together this generation had 2 billion people larger market, yet they have not grown.

 

As for PC, I don't know and don't care, I have my old games. I do agree with Mirh it would be interesting if more companies started making handheld gaming PCs, because now we have some advancements in Intel integrated graphics and AMD APUs. GPD has showed few days ago WIN MAX with Intel CPUS, there is that Alienware UFO thing,  and ONE Mix has teased last year they will also make a small gaming handheld in the middle of this year, so by end of year we could have 3 new devices from 3 different companies. With streaming these devices now don't need to be too powerful to play the latest big games, but you could play older titles or smaller games on it without streaming.

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