It’s no secret that the gaming world has changed dramatically these past few years. The rise of smartphones has put a major dent in the sales of handhelds, while digital distribution and free-to-play models for online games has changed the way developers and publishers can monetize their titles and reach new audiences.

With the recent trends in the industry combined with the extended life cyles of current generation consoles, it may not be so much of a surprise that NVIDIA’s Phil Eisler believes the next generation of consoles will be the last.

Speaking to Venture Beat, Eisler – NVIDIA’s general manager of GeForce Grid Cloud Gaming – speaks out of his belief that consoles will soon come to an end. His exact words being “they say this is the last console, and I am certainly a believer in that.” Eisler believes consoles will soon be replaced by a relatively young distribution model: Cloud Gaming, which Eisler believes will “get better every year.”

Even as Cloud gaming continues to improve, there is one noticeable barrier standing in the way: bandwidth restraints. Users are generally subjected to bandwidth limits put in place by service providers. Aside from lining the pockets of ISPs, bandwidth restrictions do nothing but limit how much a consumer can use their internet. However, Eisler doesn’t think this is going to be much of an issue going forward:

“Bandwidth is going up. The cost of server rooms is going down. We’re bringing latency down. The experience will just get better and better every year, to the point where I think it will become the predominant way that people play games.”

Skeptics will also make mention of latency, which can hamper the experience of Cloud gaming – a service dependent on one’s internet connection. According to Eisler, many gamers are already used to playing with latency, the kind that’s created by most HDTV’s. By improving the hardware on the server side, Cloud gaming companies will be able to mask the network lag.

“Our monitors that we work with today are under 10 milliseconds of latency. We think that, working with smart TV manufacturers, we’ll be able to cut that time down. It’s going to be possible very shortly to have a cloud-rendered experience that has lower latency than the current console plus standard television experience.”

Cloud gaming has become a popular sensation in recent years. For the longest time OnLive was at the forefront of the movement, before financial troubles placed the company on the brink of death. OnLive’s current situation shouldn’t be taken as a sign of the future of cloud gaming however, as competitor Gaikai was recently bought by Sony, with founder David Perry expressing his interest in bringing the service to Sony’s next console.

As it stands, the problem with Eisler’s statements is that it alludes to a future where the physical medium is dead. Eisler, referring to rumors that the PS4 will use Blu-Ray for 4K resolution, claims that no one wants to carry around discs anymore. While it’s true that digital is a convenient alternative, I’m certainly not the only gamer who wants to keep owning discs, let alone enjoys the feeling that comes with opening a new console. If Cloud gaming does find the prominence Eisler believes it will, then it better be as an alternative to the physical format.

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Source: Venture Beat