Julien Merceron, Square Enix's worldwide technology director, has been waxing lyrical about the potential for expansion and innovation that cloud services can offer the games industry, branding it "instrumental" to the next generation and hypothesising about how it could revolutionise the way players interact with one another as well as NPCs.
"When it comes down to future hardware platforms, and official home consoles, I think its going to be instrumental," he said, chatting to GamesIndustry.biz. "I think it has tremendous benefits. I don't see any good reason not to investigate for platform holders how they could actually think about cloud storage and cloud computing for their next platforms.
"If you imagine platform that would basically have cloud computing capabilities, for example, then why would you eventually need to change the hardware? Because actually what you then just do is basically change the back end to be more powerful."
Merceron also predicted that cloud gaming could potentially change the way NPCs are designed, suggesting that there might be ways for AI to mimic the behaviour of your friends, let alone break new ground in other areas of design and portability.
"I think it's going to change also the way players interact together, and the way NPCs are designed," he suggested.
"You could potentially have NPCs in your game that play like your friends, or like some of your friends. So I think cloud storage will actually have a huge impact in terms of gameplay, game design, artificial intelligence, etcetera. It's also going to allow players to play an experience almost on any platform, if they want to, and that's a big changer both for the business and for the games."
Cloud gaming has been in the headlines this year so far, with OnLive announcing their new Windows 7 Desktop App and Gaikai partnering up with Green Man Gaming and also predicting at CES that one of the current console holders would fail to make the jump to next-gen.