Square Enix president Yoichi Wada estimates digital distribution and server-based gaming is poised for "exponential growth" within the next decade, advising developers to prepare for the shift. "In the past the platform was hardware, but it has switched to the network. A time will come when the hardware isn't even needed anymore," he said in an interview with MCV.

According to Wada, consoles as we know them will change dramatically, as "any kind of terminal becomes a potential platform on which games can be played." Wada believes platform holders have been preparing for the shift to network-based games and delivery systems since 2005, forcing his company to respond by increasing production of social and browser games. Square Enix is also preparing a beta release for the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV in 2010.

While the Square Enix boss believes this shift has a greater global impact, especially in regions which do not have large console markets, our major fear is having to download an entire single-player Final Fantasy. Seriously, that's a lot of gigs.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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