In a recent interview regarding Baldur’s Gate III, Larian CEO Swen Vincke gave his two cents about the new technologies that Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles will introduce, such as SSDs for storage. Noting that PC gamers have enjoyed this perk for a while, Vincke doesn’t think the developments will be that exciting, as they’ll merely improve upon what every new generation brings (e.g., better graphics and more complex worlds thanks to more memory and CPU power).
Instead, Vincke is more fascinated with the power of the data centre and what cloud-based consoles like Google’s Stadia could mean for games. One huge improvement he alludes to is a level of physics that would be impossible with local hardware.
I think that the more interesting question is how stuff like Google Stadia will change things. It gives developers something different. In the data center, these machines are connected to each other, and so you could start thinking of doing things like elastic rendering, like make a couple of servers together to do physics simulations that may not be possible on current local hardware. I think you’ll see a lot of evolution in this direction.
When you have an almost uncapped amount of computation sitting in a data centre that you can use to support your game design and ambition – whether it’s in vastly superior multiplayer, whether it’s in distributed physics, or massive simulation – there are things we can do inside a data center that you could never do inside a discreet, standalone device.