The current console model – that of a piece of expensive hardware and real physical media – is about to change. Those are the thoughts of ex-Sony Worldwide Studio boss Phil Harrison, speaking at Develop today. Harrison sees a move towards a “service-based” model, and suggests that the age of manufacturers spending $3-4 billion on technology and then taking that back slowly on software is over. “That’s the business model of the last 25-30 years,” he said. He says the model going forward, on the next generation of consoles, is going to become a “combination of retail and services” and will probably be more about business models and monetisation than CPU speeds and graphics. “I don’t think this means PlayStation the brand goes away or Xbox the brand goes away,” he says, referring to how online services like OnLive have bucked the trend, “but it just manifests itself in a different way.” “The technology to stream high-quality games directly to your living room or computer or TV is not some kind of science-fiction fantasy – it works, and it’ll only get better over time. I think that’s clearly going to be a future for our industry.” Harrison also prefers the free-to-play model, a model that LittleBigPlanet was very nearly a guinea pig for. ”I think by and large we’re moving towards a free-to-play business model where the entry point is going to be free and you’re monetizing the engagement,” he said. “70-90 per cent will be playing for free, but that other per cent will make the game far more profitable than you could ever get selling it in the shop.” Some of us prefer disks, but when we’re forced to pay extra to play second hand these days – something that’s not sitting well with a good chunk of our readership at least – who knows what the publishers (and console manufacturers) will try next.[/p] Source TL;DR Harrison is basically saying that manufacturers could move away from the business model that they have now, which is spending billions on technology which is then recouped with software that is released over the products lifetime, to an OnLive type model. Harrison believes that HD video streams will only get better over time and could be better for the industry as a whole. He also likes free-to-play games. I'm not sure, I don't think OnLive has been too much of a success to make the next generation of consoles to be based around that. Maybe the generation after the next would be much more suitable when Internet has maybe got better and people are more willing to buy into these ideas.