For gamers excited about the prospect of streaming their favorite games from the cloud, you may want to temper your hopes. While Microsoft’s Project xCloud initiative is well into its beta, with “hundreds of thousands” of players having tried out the game streaming service for mobile and PC worldwide, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has spoken out to say that it’s still far from becoming a dominant play style.
Speaking in a VC interview for Gamelab Conference – video embedded below – Phil Spencer talked down the hype for Project xCloud and streaming in general, stating that he’s “never tried to position xCloud as a replacement for your gaming PC or for a console.”
“We're building this capability to enable you to go play the games that you want to go play, but not as a replacement to where you go play them today,” Spencer said, while adding that "I don't think the highest fidelity place to go play a game is going to be streamed from an Azure data centre or anybody's data center any time soon.”
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Spencer vs Stadia
It’s a refreshing admission from the Xbox boss, who has previously made it clear he doesn’t think the Xbox Series X and PS5 are going to be the last console generation. It’s also especially notable given the limp launch of Google Stadia in late 2019, which as a standalone service has struggled to offer anywhere near the number of titles (or drum up the same excitement) as the likes of PS Now or Xbox Game Pass.
Streaming has historically struggled to catch on, given inconsistencies in internet bandwidth across different gamers’ homes and plenty of technical hurdles – and it seems sensible for Microsoft to avoid raising gamers’ hopes too soon. Project xCloud is slowly plodding towards a more fully-fleshed launch, though – with integration into Xbox Game Pass – and it may be Microsoft’s lack of reliance on the technology that ensures it goes the full hurdle.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.