In the next few years, your Xbox games might be driven by the cloud.
Microsoft, according to Thurrott and The Verge, will roll out XCloud as a groundbreaking technology for its video game brand.
The Redmond-based company is expected to launch more than one new Xbox model in 2020, but it shouldn’t be leaving behind the traditional experience. Both reports say Microsoft will still release a model that’s based on physical horsepower. It’ll play games purchased in-store or digitally. Another model, however, will rely solely on the cloud to do all the work.
For this second model, XCloud comes into play. The low-powered model will use game streaming to push titles onto a screen. It’s an idea we’ve seen tried before, but rumor has it Microsoft figured out latency-related issues. There will probably be some amount of on-device processing, too.
The two models won’t be competing against each other and split gamers. While the XCloud-based model is likely to be much less expensive, it won’t be barred from playing any titles. The full-blown model will just have the vast majority of its work done using the components inside rather than leaning on the cloud.
Microsoft owns data centers around the world, which should help keep latency minimal. It’s also had plenty of time to develop the technology.
When the Xbox One was announced in 2013, the company shared that Azure would be an important part of the product. Since then, it hasn’t been mentioned. Yet Microsoft’s cloud business is thriving for enterprise customers.
There’s pressure to get XCloud up and running as Google prepares to try something similar. In Mountain View, multiple reports suggest an entirely new gaming platform is in the works.
If Microsoft does release a new Xbox model with a game streaming spin, there could be a bundle including Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. The model could turn out to be a huge revenue-driver considering the popularity of subscriptions lately. More consumers are interested in pay-as-you-go access than ever before.