This console generation is finally starting to wrap-up, which has prompted many gaming companies to begin looking to the future of their platforms. Microsoft is one of these companies, though it seems to have a much clearer vision of where the games industry is headed and how it intends to survive in a shifting market than some of its competitors.
Speaking with a room full of journalists in Microsoft’s headquarters, CEO Satya Nadella outlined plans for the tech giant’s future, stating that the company intends to become the “Netflix of games” through the upcoming Project xCloud, which will allow users to stream a vast library of games to nearly any device. Rumors have been circulating for months that Microsoft intends to launch a streaming-only version of the next Xbox, and these apparent ambitions certainly add fuel to that fire.
According to Nadella, users would be able to access games on any device, from laptops to mobile phones. This would eliminate the need for televisions and game consoles, which many people simply don’t have access to.
This move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to fans. Microsoft already has a Netflix-like service in Xbox Game Pass, which allows users to access a vast library of games for a monthly fee. While not a streaming service per se, it has proven to be popular among fans, making an entirely streamed version of the service a logical next step for the company.
Microsoft isn’t the only company to have game streaming ambitions – both Amazon and Google have announced plans to create their own services – but Microsoft has a tried-and-true business model and an established base of games and gamers, giving it an early leg-up in the competition. It isn’t a de facto death sentence for other competitors, but it does bode well for the future of the Xbox and Project xCloud brands.
In a market where retailers like GameStop are reporting lower and lower sales, a future of simply streaming games seems inevitable. It would eliminate the hardware cost that is a barrier to many people who wish to play games, which would be good for the industry as a whole. There is the hurdle of poor internet infrastructure in many major markets like the US, but there’s a good chance those issues will be solved by the time streaming-only services are the only option to play games.
Source: Business Insider