Microsoft to launch cloud gaming service on Xbox consoles

Microsoft’s Xbox Series S (L) and Xbox Series X consoles.

Phil Barker | Future release | Future via Getty Images

Microsoft is bringing its cloud gaming service to Xbox consoles later this year.

The company announced Tuesday that Xbox Cloud Gaming would allow gamers to stream games instead of installing them on a device, would appear on its new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles as well as older Xbox One machines this vacation.

American tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are betting on a future of video games beyond consoles, in which subscription services and software will play a much bigger role.

While Microsoft is still investing heavily in Xbox hardware, it also has a heavy focus on Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that gives gamers access to a library of over 100 titles for about $ 15 a month.

Cloud gaming, in which games are hosted on remote servers and streamed to users over the internet, is a big part of Microsoft’s strategy. The aim is to attract players to the Microsoft ecosystem across different devices.

Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming is only available on mobile and PC. Now Microsoft plans to bring it to consoles. It also has a plan to introduce cloud gaming on televisions through partnerships with manufacturers and their own dedicated streaming dongles.

Microsoft presented the release window for cloud gaming on consoles at the Gamescom video game fair. The event usually takes place in Cologne, but has only gone online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japanese rival Sony is also banking on services through its PlayStation Plus subscription offering that gives gamers access to online multiplayer and select free games every month.

But the company mainly touts its exclusive blockbuster games to attract consumers. Hit franchises like The Last of Us and God of War, for example, can only be found on PlayStation platforms.

However, recently Microsoft has been spending more aggressively on exclusive content. The company acquired Bethesda, the legendary video game publisher behind franchises like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, for $ 7.5 billion last year.

Video games had a boom year in 2020 when people turned to home entertainment during the Covid bans. It’s now a $ 180 billion industry, according to market researcher IDC. As various countries lift their pandemic restrictions, it remains to be seen whether the momentum can continue.

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