In a new and expansive presentation on its gaming business, Microsoft dropped some interesting tidbits about its Game Pass and cloud game streaming plans. The most relevant announcement for PC gamers is that Microsoft plans to add cloud gaming functionality to the Xbox PC app later this year, bringing the streaming service that is. currently in beta for browsers in a centralized application.
This means that in addition to using the Xbox app to browse and download games, Game Pass subscribers will be able to play it with one click, no installation required – if the internet connection allows it, anyway.
The current beta version of the Xbox cloud game will open to all Game Pass Ultimate members “within the next few weeks” in supported countries (more countries including Australia will be added later this year). And the quality of Xbox cloud streaming is improving as well. “All of this will be powered by our latest generation Xbox Series X hardware. We are now in the final stages of internal testing and will improve the experience for Ultimate members over the next few weeks, ”said cloud gaming CVP Kareem. Choudhry.
If I’m playing on my PC, I’ll almost always prefer a local copy of a game, which will allow me to get more out of my 144Hz monitor without sacrificing streaming image quality or latency. I think some of the other streaming plans Microsoft hinted at are more interesting: it clearly has big ambitions to grow Game Pass beyond typical PC and console gamers.
Microsoft is working with TV companies to add a Game Pass app “right into internet-connected TVs so that all you need to play is a gamepad,” said Liz Hamren, CVP of Gaming Experiences and Platforms. shapes. Hamren also said Microsoft is building their own hardware specifically for this purpose, which looks like a competitor to Amazon’s Fire Stick or Apple TV, but focused on games.
“We’re also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection you can stream your Xbox experience,” Hamren said. She also tried to allay any fears that Microsoft is going into cloud gaming by mentioning that Microsoft is already working hard “on new hardware and platforms” for future consoles.
Microsoft spent most of its presentation highlighting its cloud technology like Azure, the potential of streaming to reach billions of players, and Game Pass’s prominence in its future plans. But the PC got at least a few good mentions.
“As we pursue financial growth and user engagement, we will definitely be doing a lot more on the PC,” said Tim Stuart, chief financial officer, Xbox.
“Looking ahead, we anticipate continued growth on PC next year with another incredible roster of Xbox Games Studios and Bethesda games coming to PC,” said Phil Spencer, Xbox boss. “At the same time, Game Pass on PC will be an essential part of our Windows gaming strategy.”