Cloud streaming is a new technology entering the gaming industry. Several studios already has their own services, including GeForce NOW and PlayStation Now. However, these services don’t offer the seamless transition and an entirely new way of playing video games as Microsoft’s Project xCloud and Google Stadia do.
Microsoft’s Head of Gaming Phil Spencer expressed his opinion on the technology, its potential, and if it will ever go mainstream. Spencer believes cloud streaming is still “years away” from being mainstream. He continued to talk about services like Netflix, who are 20 years old but became mainstream and people’s go-to entertainment streaming service only in the past few years.
I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play. And I mean years, like years and years.
Let’s take Netflix, which is 20 years old. I think we forget that sometimes because tech moves so fast. It’s 20 years old at this point, so it took two decades for us to get to the point where shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards are some of the biggest shows on the planet and mainly watched via streaming. I think game streaming will get there faster than 20 years, but it’s not going to be two years. This is a technological change. While it seems like it happens overnight, it doesn’t.
It takes time for these services to evolve. We are building for the long-term, but that’s why choice is so critical. I’m not trying to say go sell your consoles today and switch over to streaming because the experience just isn’t the same as playing on your console, but I do think in terms of reaching everybody, the democratization of play and content, it’s important that we don’t lock all of these experiences behind purchasing a certain device.
And way over time, we’ll have a global service that can reach everybody and the infrastructure to reach any customer with a consistent and high-quality internet service, but that’s going to take time. We talk about Project xCloud and we use words like “trials” not because we don’t believe in our tech–our tech is as good as anybody’s tech out there, and the team is doing really amazing work–but this is about the reality of time and choice for customers.
There are several cloud streaming services coming up, including Project xCloud, Google Stadia, and many more. How do you think the market will hold with several competitors? Will it ever become mainstream?
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