'Netflix of gaming' won't happen any time soon, says ex-PlayStation chairman

Former Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden is skeptical and dubious that game streaming will replace game consoles in his lifetime.

2 minutes & 2 seconds read time

Will game streaming replace dedicated gaming? Not any time soon, at least that's what former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden believes. The "Netflix of gaming" isn't expected in his lifetime.

Back in 2019, game streaming was all the rage. Google made a big splash into streaming with Stadia, the failed game client-and-storefront package that attempted to sell AAA games at big $60 prices. Microsoft also furthered streaming with xCloud, wrapping it in a convenient and well-managed package with its Game Pass subscription. Sony had established streaming years ago after its purchase of Gaikai, transforming the service into PlayStation Now, and further evolved it into PS Plus Premium. NVIDIA likewise has dominated PC game cloud streaming with its GeForce Now service.

Despite these big, expansive (and expensive) efforts from some of the biggest names in tech, game streaming hasn't taken off according to plan. Google shut down Stadia, and both xCloud and PS Plus streaming options are mostly used to sample games--not as the primary way to actually play long sessions.

This trend is expected to continue, at least according to former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden, who is skeptical that the mythical "Netflix of games" will pop up and change the face of gaming forever.

In a recent interview with IGN, Layden shared his thoughts on streaming and how the technology is far away from becoming the dominant model for gaming.

When asked if streaming is 'ever going to get there,' vis-a-vis streaming replacing consoles, Layden said:

"No. Never's a long time, but not in my lifetime anyway. I still think one of the things that mitigates against the widespread proliferation of game streaming platforms is the crap internet that we still have.

"If you live in Tokyo, Seoul, or Stockholm, you can have a streaming game life fight now. If you live in Stockton, Muncie, Indiana, or even London, England, you can't have a streaming experience.

"The spread of streaming gaming is limited by the ability to have the infrastructure to provide that. That's the one thing.

"The second thing about is...when you talk about cloud gaming, there's two aspects of that. One is the cloud as a delivery device, streaming gaming via the cloud, going out. The other is cloud gaming where you are able to leverage the power of server-side CPU and GPU, which would give you more power than your console ever could at a price point you could afford. Then it becomes kind of interesting. If we make the server side do more of the heavy lifting, provide something that current technology or even next-gen can't do, then we maybe get some more interesting ideas around that.

"As far as the 'Netflix of gaming,' I don't see that happening any time soon...successfully."

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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