Cloud gaming services are, undoubtedly, the most significant phenomena in the gaming industry, allowing gamers to enjoy their favorite titles without actually owning specific gaming hardware or a personal copy of the gaming software. In short, gaming-on-demand is dubbed, by many, as the gaming of the future. Microsoft is the latest and probably the most prominent company to invest in cloud gaming, as the company plans to push its Xbox experience onto internet-enabled TVs and other devices outside of traditional gaming.
As reported by IGN, Xbox started working with TV manufacturers to build their gaming experience directly into internet-enabled TVs, with only an extra Xbox controller required to play. But that’s not all; Microsoft’s thinking beyond traditional gaming devices and plans to expand and improve their gaming ecosystem by producing cloud-gaming devices and other gaming-on-demand hardware alongside its console production. Although the company insists that its consoles remain its flagship gaming experience, gaming-on-demand hardware is meant to bring the Xbox gaming experience to users who don’t own the necessary hardware. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, announced several other improvements to their gaming ecosystem that would significantly improve gaming-on-demand and gaming services overall. These improvements include Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service, All Access Payment service, and Game Streaming capabilities, encompassing Microsoft’s effort to reach platforms other than its proprietary consoles and PCs. Spencer stated, on behalf of Microsoft, that the company wants to enable everyone on Earth to join in on gaming, regardless of what type of device users have access to and their location, without having to upfront the full asking price of their flagship console.
As we previously stated, Xbox is already working with TV manufacturers, which will likely use Game Streaming services instead of utilizing the TV’s onboard hardware for game storage. Also, the company started developing streaming devices for cloud gaming, allowing users to play their games on regular TVs or monitors while simultaneously upgrading Microsoft’s datacenters with Xbox Series X hardware to improve the overall cloud gaming experience. But this won’t be limited to TVs and streaming devices. Microsoft is actually planning to equip its flagship consoles with cloud gaming properties, which admittedly denies the whole purpose of owning the console in the first place. But does it really?
Well, no. Equipping Xbox consoles with cloud gaming capabilities would allow gamers to play Xbox titles without purchasing them or test them before buying and downloading them. It’s a good strategy that would appeal to most gamers, allowing gamers a somewhat hardware-limited (due to limitations of cloud-gaming) “test drive” of specific titles before actually purchasing the title for a flagship gaming experience on an Xbox console.
The entire Xbox and Xbox-related services strategy is meant to bring Xbox to gamers, regardless of the system they’re playing on. This shift was previously highly speculated, rumoring that the gaming community could play Xbox games on Nintendo Switch – an exaggeration, to be sure. But some of Xbox Live’s functionality exists on Switch, with x Cloud currently available on PC, Android, and iOS. With everything said, neither Xbox nor Microsoft disclosed any precise dates, but we should see some extension of Xbox’s services to other platforms outside Xbox’s ecosystem. Until it eventually becomes sentient and changes its name to Skynet.