The Real Platform is now the Cloud - and has shifted away from devices

Published: 11/07/2011, Last Updated: 11/07/2011

Am I stating the blatantly obvious here? (Probably). However; one my most recent assertions is that the devices (e.g. Consoles, PCs, Macs, etc) which used to historically be considered a “Platform” are far less so today. The real platform has become the Cloud and the Clouds associated services. As a result.. I’m going to be using the term cross-device in place of cross-platform for purposes of this discussion.

Why do I feel it’s important to make this assertion and distinction? With the advent of so many devices, and screens, we’ve seen come to market over the past decade, the real trick has been how do the end users access their content? We’ve seen a ton of ‘big-names’ over recent years snatch up various content providers; or secure content ‘deals’. Critical and key content for consumers is largely: Games, Movies-TV-Video, Music/Music-Video, EBooks, and so on. In the Movie Industry for instance we’re seeing broadly endorsed options such as the DECE’s – Ultraviolet (Allowing one to view their movies across their devices screens). In the Games Industry we have leaders such as Valve’s Steam moving towards more cross-device functionality where in some instances you buy the game once and their service allows it to play on your PC or Mac. There are tons of other examples to draw from. The cool thing though is we’re seeing more and more of these types of services than ever before.

Where does it take us? Is this the tip of iceberg for more cross-device functionality in our devices? I sure hope so. This does tie in well with the “buy the content once plays anywhere” type of scheme. Some other strategy nomenclature that’s been used to describe this are terms such as: “3 Screens, Compute Continuum, Any Screen” and so on. The impacts will be interesting to watch. I’d contend that ‘Proprietary’ business models or those that are more restrictive could be a recipe for disaster. If for any reason, I know that I as an end user, don’t want to buy additional special devices to watch proprietary content on. (e.g. Imagine if you had to purchase 3 'specialized' TVs - to watch 3 programs from different providers!) The device/s most likely to win, are those that allow me to connect to a Cloud-Services-Platform that can deliver my content to me, anywhere, anytime; across the array of devices/screens that I own.

I’m curious to get your take on my assertion. Feel free to comment.
Thank you
Matt

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