The whole concept of console-exclusives will go to the wall as the games business moves towards cloud computing, according to the original founder of EA, Trip Hawkins.
Interviewed on the latest episode of Game Theory (below), Hawkins explained that the games industry previously adopted a "winner takes all, single platform model," but says now it's "clearly never going to be that way again."
Hawkins reckons that in the future "any kind of game company will have to have a technology approach that gives them agility across platform boundaries." He also predicted that games publishers in the future would adopt a pay-as-you-go style business model.
They will "become like SAS, or Software as a Service," says Hawkins, "where customers are going to the cloud, and they have an account and they have virtual items and they can play, but they might come in from a variety of different devices. It's going to be about simplicity and convenience and making that model work."
So while we might have a variety of different gaming platforms or consoles, Hawkins reckons every game will be available to them online. This could potentially mean the end of console-exclusives such as Gears of War on the Xbox 360, or Little Big Planet on the PlayStation 3.
However, it's also worth bearing in mind that Hawkins left EA to found The 3DO Company in the early 1990s. Remember the 3DO? Nope? That's probably because it was an expensive, over-powered console that was soon eclipsed by Sony's original PlayStation. He might have got it right when he founded EA, but that doesn't necessarily mean he can successfully predict the future of the console business.
Hawkins has since founded casual game developer Digital Chocolate, which is exactly the sort of developer that would benefit from a cross-platform cloud approach. However, we can't see Nintendo suddenly giving away the next Mario or Zelda game to every device connected to the cloud.