One of the most exciting services coming to the Xbox Series X is Project xCloud. A streaming functionality that will allow Xbox players to turn their tablets and other devices into portable Xbox consoles.
It’s all very cool and for many, represents a major selling point to the Xbox Series X. It also offers Microsoft a way to evolve the game console concept into something more fluid. Beating Stadia at their own game.
The concept would allow Microsoft to break into the portable gaming market. Something that Nintendo has sown up when it comes to triple-A gaming.
Right now, the Nintendo Switch is running unopposed, and a challenger is inevitable.
Many felt that mobile or smartphone gaming would represent this challenger. But mobile gaming is still something that only really appeals to casual gamers.
Those who enjoy traditional gaming are more likely to invest in a Nintendo Switch. Or take part in something like Project xCloud.
This is why Microsoft needs to get this right. They also need to do it before Sony gets their act together with their PS Now service.
The PS5 may offer Sony a chance to reboot this venture, which has received a lukewarm reception from gamers. If Microsoft can make Project xCloud a success, they could carve out a very valuable niche for themselves.
What Does Microsoft Say About Project xCloud?
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has recently chimed in, teasing something resembling an Amazon Fire Stick, but for Xbox. In an interview with Stratechery, Spencer said:
“I think you’re going to see lower-priced hardware as part of our ecosystem when you think about streaming sticks and other things that somebody might want to just go plug into their TV and go play via xCloud.”
He went on to say, “You could imagine us even having something that we just included in the Game Pass subscription that gave you an ability to stream xCloud games to your TV and buying the controller.”
Spencer’s comments give us a fascinating insight into how Microsoft views modern gaming. As well as what they could be planning for the Xbox brand in the future.
Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft will all have to do more to differentiate themselves from each other in the coming years. And this generation of consoles could see their paths diverge in different ways.
Could The Cloud Be The Future?
For Microsoft, Project xCloud represents a way for the Xbox brand to transcend traditional games consoles and become something new entirely. While we think games consoles will exist for a few more ‘gens’ yet, it’s evident that recent advances in streaming technology have created a potential alternative.
The traditional gamer will always want to purchase a console, with Sony and Nintendo offering this for the foreseeable future. But it seems like Microsoft has other ideas.
A new console generation begins in earnest next month. It will be interesting to review this idea in a few years when the dust has settled. Should the crown belong to the PS5 or Nintendo Switch Plus - Microsoft may have a way for Xbox to retain its own kingdom.