While the utopian ideal of a Single Console Future is never going to happen, it's certainly a bit more feasible to see cross-compatibility between systems. After all, the same games appear on them all the time... how difficult could it be? Well, it's possible despite the technical issues. The problems is down to the console manufacturers themselves.
However, external forces have expressed dissatisfaction with these closed networks and when those forces happen to be Gabe Newell and Frank Pearce... well, it's a long way in the future, but we can pray for change. In an interview for Develop
, both have discussed what they'd like to see happen with the Big Three's online services.
Blizzard co-founder Pearce stated that he would love to have "a unified online community regardless of the platform that gamers are playing on". Newell meanwhile spoke of communication between systems being "certainly technically feasible. Thatís a solved problem."
Of course he knows what he's talking about what with Steam appearing on the PS3 release of Portal 2. He also mentions that Nintendo is making development for the Wii-U as accessible as possible for indies.
While Sony is also open to new ideas thanks to the financial rewards potentially on offer, it looks like Microsoft is remaining a stick in the mud.
Pearce hopes that outside pressures will change their mind. "One of the things I look at when it comes to the modern games business, is that gamers today want to play whatever game experience they want, whenever they want with whomever they want." Surely they'll have to crack one day?
It may not happen immediately, but with connectivity between games and social media growing every day we're already seeing the beginnings of an evolution of the industry. As players seek what Pearce talks about, they will inevitably move to systems that are more suited to their needs and if those needs involve leaving a console with a closed network behind, so be it. Deals like those between Sony and Valve are the start of a long journey but at least the first steps have been taken.