Will the next Nintendo console be the last game console, ever?

Next month at E3 2011, Nintendo plans to show off its next generation game console which Nintendo says it plans to launch in 2012. However there's speculation that Nintendo's next console could be the last game console ever made, at least in the form that we are used to (a stand alone device that plays store-purchased games on a TV). FoxNews.com has a story that looks at this possible scenario.

Some people believe that games as a whole are moving online to a cloud-based server system. Well known game-themed financial analyst Michael Pachter bluntly says in the article, "Gaming will move to the cloud." Indeed that move is already underway. OnLive's streaming game service, despite flaws like fixed graphical resolutions, can be played on a PC, Mac and via a TV via a Microconsole with the cloud-based model and OnLive games could soon be played on mobile phones and TVs without the need for a Microconsole.

Then there's the fact that neither Microsoft nor Sony are making any announcements about the successors to the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, respectively. Despite rumors (since shut down) that a next-gen Xbox is in development and being shipped around to publishers, even THQ's CEO Brian Farrell is saying that we won't see the next consoles from Sony and Microsoft any time in the near future. And then there's the rise in popularity of downloadable games for the PC via Steam and other services and games on mobile devices and tablets such as Apple's iPad. All of these may show that the traditional console box could be on its last legs.

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