Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer has suggested that the internet is simply not quite ready for cloud gaming to go mainstream just yet, reiterating his company's support of the hard retail sector, but stating that he believed the likes of Gaikai and OnLive would become the standard "one day".
"Cloud is a huge opportunity," he said. "And someday, yes, someday. But if you look at the internet capabilities today, it's a challenge. Even, forget about games. If you said everybody was going to watch the Champions League Final concurrently via the internet at HD-level quality, the internet can't handle that. And that's just people watching a game. That doesn't include the level of interactivity of a game and a two-way pipe going back and forth.
"So there's just bandwidth issues in terms of metering and things that are out there. So I believe, yes, in the long run we'll land in a spot where there's cloud distribution of all content and Microsoft is clearly invested in that. I like the work that Gaikai does, I play games on Gaikai, and if I get the right bandwidth situation they're actually good experiences.
"But today it's not really up to scale. You're still going to be pushing boxes out to people's houses that they're going to plug into the TV. That's what they're going to use to play their AAA games. And I think that'll be the case for a while. But that's not trying to downplay what Gaikai is doing, because I think that it's great that they're investing in it."
Although there were rumours that one of the next gen consoles might reach for a purely digital experience, Spencer believes that's jumping the gun somewhat, saying that retail will remain an important part of the games industry for years to come yet.
"I would say, and not just for PR reasons, that retail is very important to us," he said. "Retail distribution of games is going to be very important for years. When you go to a Midwest town, there are still people where retail is still the way they buy, even music. There are millions of people who still buy DVDs. And they're going to buy [retail] games and they're going to buy consoles." [News.com]