Always online is the future.The funny thing is, I kinda agree. Inter-connectivity is getting more and more important e internet population is growing, fast! Technology has a hard time keeping up in fact, specially when it comes to wi-fi connectivity in urban areas. At this pace 5G can't come soon enough frankly.
That said, it's still too soon for always online. Tech-development and interest are increasing, yeah, that's undeniable! But politics are lacking behind, infrastructure isn't there yet, many countries are not putting money and efforts into such projects and technical issues are not really a rarity. How often did your internet connection drop for instance? Also what would this mean for single player titles, mods and titles which servers that are out of service? Piracy? You know how often people pirated software and games that they owned because the online DRM yoinked with them? It's not just gaming, Adobe could write a book about that back when CC was new.
I truly doubt the next gen will be always online quite yet. Games as services will become more common for sure and streaming games will be more reliable than ever. I can even see a cheaper version of Xbox and PS focused solely on streaming games, but imho it's still going to be a choice and not the established status quo.
Yeah. Phil Spencer said there will be straight ahead a "line-up of consoles". Will be probably like every gen a FAT, a slim and a premium. Or they will add this cloud service.
In according of my knowledge, rumours and understandment, Mike Ybarra, Vice-president of Xbox, he said it's was very gratefully they had invested early on development and technology on their cloud, Azure.
If I understood well, cloud computing can divide process between console. There some variables and constants on the game. Constants like maps, climatic change (snow, rain, cloud movements, etc.), objects, itens, etc; can proccess on the cloud and send to console to help on calculations. Variables like character skin, body modification, weapon skins; everything can't get a pattern, will be processed locally and physically on console. The only problem is the latency they can't beat.
The advancement of technology of streamming today only permmit games focused on Single Player. The latency, still a barrier. And there some locations where internet can't reach well. If they want to be an success, this console needs to sell and reach to everyone.