Sony's PlayStation Now may offer a great selection of titles, but it comes in at $19.99 for a month or $44.99 for three months. When Microsoft revealed backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games, many thought that this was their answer to game streaming, as it allows you to play last-generation titles on modern devices. However, it looks like the company is working on a separate game streaming feature too.
Buried in an interview between Bloomberg and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer was this piece of information. The report says the following.
While software and services are becoming more important, the console isn't near death yet. It's still best for gamer enthusiasts and the top games, and will remain so for quite some time. But Microsoft will probably debut a streaming service that doesn't require a console for some types of content in the next three years, Spencer said. A 2012 trial of such a service inside the company was too costly and never made it to the market, but Microsoft's progress in Azure cloud services over the past few years is changing the economics and quality level, he said.
Game streaming is a major service but there are a few challenges. Due to the fact that it's taking place over an internet connection, problems with input lag can hinder the experience. Spencer mentioned that Azure cloud services have changed the quality level but we don't know just how much of an improvement they offer in that area. Having the ability to play certain games on another device aside from an Xbox One would be a great way to make their experiences more mobile, if they can solve the potential lag issues.
If the Bloomberg statement is indeed true and not a misinterpretation of what Spencer actually said, it seems like Microsoft is fully embracing the idea of subscription services, particularly since the company also offers Xbox Game Pass. For $9.99 a month, members can download and play over a hundred games on their console. Any such streaming service — if it makes it to consumers — must be reasonably priced so it has a competitive edge. However, keep in mind that the company may not release this due to unforeseen circumstances. We never know what the future holds.
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