With “Project xCloud” and Google Stadia on the horizon, many gamers have been questioning the future of dedicated hardware that sits under your TV. While Google thinks that it’s not necessary – despite Stadia’s known 166-millisecond input lag – Microsoft thinks differently.

Our very own Jez Corden managed to interview Microsoft’s Gaming Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra and Partner Director of Program Management Jason Ronald to find out more about the company’s vision for the future of gaming across Xbox, Project xCloud, and PC. The following excerpt discusses the conversation about dedicated hardware.

‘I believe there will always be a need for local hardware,’ Ybarra said, referring to home consoles. ‘There’ll be a need for cloud computing too. We need to give gamers the choice to play local, to play via the cloud, to mix it. I’m going to do everything. It’s about giving them the freedom, and the choice to game the way they want. If that means local hardware, right? We’re there.’ Ronald impressed that the whole point of streaming is to appeal to gamers who might not want a console at all, not to simply replace consoles. ‘At the same time, we’re trying to appeal to two billion gamers across the world. And everybody plays different kinds of games, some people prefer console, some people prefer PC, there will be customers that will not want to have either device and xCloud streaming is a great solution for them.

Given current streaming technology and the promise of consoles even more powerful than Stadia, it’s understandable why many gamers would want to purchase those devices. Additionally, given the fact that you never truly own your titles if they can’t be downloaded, that’s another reason to keep traditional consoles alive.

With that said, it’s up to gamers to decide where they want to play. There’s no way to predict what will happen in the future, but this is a transformative period which will change gaming as we know it.

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