Square Enix President Yoichi Wada has claimed that a time will come when gamers will not need console hardware.

It is a fundamentally game-changing statement, coming as it does from one of the first major games publishers to fully embrace the notion of server-side 'cloud' gaming technology.

Yoichi Wada told Develop magazine that other games publishers cannot ignore the importance of social gaming.

"Somewhere around 2005 the console manufacturers' strategy shifted," said Wada. "In the past the platform was hardware, but that switched to the network. So a time will come when the hardware isn't even needed any more."

The network is the OS

And while he recognises that the shift will have a "big negative impact" on sales, he adds that format holders Sony and Microsoft are in no way in the dark or sticking their head in the sand about cloud gaming and that they "knew that this shift was coming."

"The true strength of the Xbox 360 is Xbox Live," says Wada. "For Microsoft they have always had a consistent strategy – they recently strengthened Xbox Live and Games For Windows to be more consistent and consolidated. Live is also provided in a service in Windows, so they are aligning closely in that strategy - the two are very similar."

"Instead of relying on the hardware layer, the network becomes the operating system. That move away from clients to the network is something Microsoft has done – moving from clients to the server is something Sony has done… the Cell chip is well matched to the parallel processing we use on server-based games."

You can read more about what the Square Enix man has to say about the future of console gaming in Develop's in-depth interview with Wada online.

Via Develop-online.net