Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter enjoys spending his weekends spelling out the end of consoles as we know them. Almost a year ago today, Pachter expressed his belief that consoles would be "going away." Where was his belief founded? Well, because items like NVIDIA Shield and Amazon's Fire exist – bits of technology that let you play games without a console.
Pachter is still standing by this thought, but has since added to it during his time on stage at DICE Europe last week. According to Pachter, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren't going to be the last consoles, but they will be the last consoles that sell well.
"This is the last real console cycle," said Pachter. "I don't mean that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will go bankrupt and shut down – they will not. Each of them will make another console, some people will buy them, and the next console cycle will be to this console cycle what the 3DS is to the DS. The 3DS is selling about 15 million units a year, the DS had five consecutive years where it sold more than 26 million. So about half as big.
"So when I say that this console cycle is the last console cycle, the reason is that console games shouldn't require a console. And I'm not talking about the cloud."
How will gamers continue to game with a console? Well, Patchter went on to explain that by the time this console generation nears its end, "you're going to have a CPU/GPU in your house that is connected to your television." When he says CPU/GPU he means anything like an iPhone to the Amazon Fire.
He believes that this will be the industry's answer to everyone who wants to play a game, but refuses to buy a console for one game.
Looking into the future I can see where the concept of a future with all digital games could be applied, especially as the coming generations consider physical copies less and less, but it's simply hard to imagine in action.