Microsoft is aiming to change how players choose to enjoy their favorite video games with Project xCloud, a streaming service that will be compatible across consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. According to CEO Satya Nadella, you can accurately describe it as the “Netflix for games.”
According to Business Insider, Nadella said that this is actually the term Microsoft uses as the nickname for Project xCloud internally, and that Microsoft will have an advantage against services from other companies because of its back library of games, as well as the Xbox Play Anywhere program allowing PC and Xbox One players to already play games together.
But Microsoft will have plenty of competition in terms of game streaming over the next few years. Google’s own Project Stream service ran a technical test during the end of 2018 and Verizon will reportedly be developing its own service, which will be compatible with the Nvidia Shield. Verizon’s service will apparently include support for games like Battlefield V, God of War, and Red Dead Redemption 2, which could feasibly mean players don’t need a console or a PC to enjoy the biggest releases.
Amazon will also reportedly jump into the game streaming business after already investing in its own game development studios. Compared to Microsoft, however, it doesn’t have the development teams necessary to fill a service with exclusive games.
Microsoft further bolstered its internal studios by acquiring Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, Playground Games, Obsidian Entertainment, InXile, and Undead Labs in 2018, and it founded the new studio The Initiative. It could help to not only make Project xCloud more appealing than its competition, but it could also make owning a next-generation Xbox console more worthwhile. Microsoft could even be developing two different systems, aimed at casual and more dedicated players, which likely launch in 2020.
Xbox and PC players can currently subscribe to the service Xbox Game Pass, which offers unlimited access to a vault of games from first-party and third-party studios. It does not, however, use streaming, so the device you run the games on has to be capable of playing them without assistance from the cloud.