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'PS4, Xbox 720 aren't the next generation - your TV is'

If consoles forget what they're for, they'll be passed up, reckons Gaikai's David Perry

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"But if they enter the market as media hubs, there are tons already on sale - the TiVos, Boxees, Rokus and everything else - and all they're doing is entering their space, and the one thing they're bringing with them is games. The problem is, they are $500." As opposed to $90 to $100.

Your next console: a TV

What is Perry's solution to the creeping multimedia-isation of consoles? "The thing is, the cloud gaming stuff is running off much more expensive hardware than what Sony will ever be able to put in its box. It's a bit like the arcade days, when the arcade machines were $10,000 and you were paying for your time on them.

"Once the other media hubs can have games - and I don't mean Checkers, but things like Call of Duty - the public will get confused. With that in mind, who is able to make a TV? Sony is already making them, so it will have to take all that stuff into its TVs.

Zoom

"So: my prediction is that Microsoft will have to make a TV. What choice do they have? There have been lots of reports that Apple has bought out a large LCD panel-making company. It's pretty obvious that they're on the trail too."

Sadly, Perry passed up an opportunity for extra mischief by suggesting that Microsoft could brand that TV as the Zune and, of course, self-interest underpins his words: Gaikai recently signed a deal to embed its technology in LG's televisions. But he's right to highlight the dangers with which console manufacturers flirt when they forget what consoles are supposed to be.

Microsoft seems particularly bad at that: you often get the impression that it forgets a world exists beyond America. As evinced by the impossibility of getting far enough away from a Kinect in order for it to work in the average-sized British living room, or its refusal to countenance that, unlike Americans, Brits already paying a subscription for Xbox Live might be reluctant to add subscriptions for Netflix, LoveFilm and their ilk.

At least Sony doesn't extract a subscription for the PSN; nor has it redesigned the XMB in order to push games to the back. And the half-hearted nature of Nintendo's attempts to add non-gaming services to the Wii could actually end up working in the company's favour.

So, the next generation of consoles need to be presented as consoles - not media whatevers or entertainment whatevers. Otherwise they will be ignored in favour of Web-enabled TVs. Whoever embraces that concept most enthusiastically may just end up winning.

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