Microsoft has drawn up grand plans to engage with every gamer in the world, irrespective of whether the gamer is on an Xbox device or whatever. While the move to look beyond Xbox is in itself a bold move, the whole plan in its entirety is far bigger in scope and ambition.
That is because it envisages building a whole new gaming division that is hosted up in the clouds. And the system will be designed to cater to the widest possible segment of gamers no matter what console is being used to play. The service will also be subscription based with experts already predicting the upcoming venture likely to be the Netflix for gamers.
Microsoft already offers Game Pass which users need to subscribe to for playing games. Needless to say, the bigger cloud gaming venture will see an integration of the Game Pass service as well though the specifics aren’t available just yet.
In fact, the process should already be in the final stages though Microsoft isn’t just ready to announce the launch details just yet. What it will be called is also being kept under wraps as well. The company has been thinking along this line from last summer itself.
The move also makes sense given that the Xbox has never really proved to emerge as the most popular console for an extended period of time. If competition with Sony’s PlayStation series of consoles hasn’t been enough, there is the new Nintendo Switch that too has been proving quite a significant challenge at the moment. With the new cloud gaming division, Microsoft will still be able to cater to the entire gaming community even if the Xbox console isn’t selling to the optimum.
That said, it could still be a formidable ask to stream games to every console out there, including the likes of the PlayStation 4 or the Nintendo Switch. Much of that would depend on having the active support of game developers and publishers as well.
Worth mentioning, Sony too had nurtured such aspiration with its OnLive venture but backed out soon enough. NVidia too is attempting something similar though that entails streaming games to only PCs.
Kareem Choudhry, a 20 year Microsoft veteran however exuded confidence saying they would be able to stream games to all consoles and not just Xbox. Choudhry is heading the cloud division and has earlier been associated with several of Microsoft’s success stories like Outlook, DirectX, and Xbox engineering and such.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s entire gaming division is being headed by Phil Spencer who had been keen to have in place a team of engineers dedicated to the cloud gaming venture. Spencer reports directly to CEO Satya Nadella.
On the whole, while a Netflix like service for gamers does seem promising, it remains to be seen if Microsoft can pull it off in the first place.