Watch this short video of Microsoft announcing Project xCloud and remember this was from Oct 2018. They explain how they are adding some hardware to their Azure data-centers to allow XBox One games to stream to any device including something as lowly as an Android cell (and yes that is an XBox One controller she is holding.)
Google just leaked that they will be pushing their new game streaming platform “Project Stream” into production, likely in late summer 2019. Today there are many games that can be streamed including a “…free digital copy of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” which streams at 60 frames per second in 1080P on a crappy connection of just 25MB/second.
See how good Project Stream is for yourself:
Testers of these services make claims like they “… do not notice ANY lag, whatsoever” so the proof of concept stage appears to be complete for both Microsoft and Google.
Beyond that, Microsoft just strengthened it’s already friendly relationship with Nintendo by allowing Switch console games crossplay on Xbox. There is even serious talk of Nintendo replacing their poor network gaming platform with Microsoft XBox Live.
In 2016 there were rumors that Microsoft would not be producing another Xbox Game Console and reliable business sources like Forbes said in 2018 that those rumors were true.
Today it was leaked that Microsoft is in the final stages of making XBox One games install on the next version of Windows 10. Why would Microsoft do that? After all:
- XBox One already runs Windows 10 and, up until now, Microsoft has been explicitly blocking Xbox game installs on PC’s
- The XBox console may be second fiddle in sales to Sony’s PlayStation, but it is still a massive success Microsoft will be careful not to destroy
The answer is one word: Streaming.
Nintendo and Microsoft are currently being beaten by Sony, but Microsoft has something the others do not. A global network of high powered data centers that are strategically located near major markets around the globe.
Microsoft will almost certainly allow it’s XBox One games to function in native Windows 10 but not because they want the games played only on desktops. If XBox games play on the Windows 10 desktop, they will play in Windows 10 Virtual Machines streaming from their Azure cloud services. This is something Sony just can’t compete with.
If Nintendo brings its massive game library and fanboys to Microsoft’s streaming service, their combined force will be something the gaming world has not seen the likes of.
The only solution for Sony to catch up would be to partner with Google or Amazon to gain access to their data centers. However, Amazon is not (publicly) working on a game streaming service and Google seems more likely to acquire Sony’s gaming unit than to play ball with a company as stand-offish as Sony.
We will not be surprised to see minor iterations of existing PlayStation and XBox consoles (like the XBox One S) but if new high end game consoles are in the works, they are not from the current players like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. The net result (pun intended) is that Microsoft and Google are set to rule the gaming world of the 2020’s: