The Project xCloud streaming service is still a fair ways away from launch, but that has never stopped Microsoft from pushing it, and planning for the future. Dozens of games are already waiting to debut for the service, giving Microsoft a leg up on the competition.
And with all of the increased competition, like Amazon, potentially entering the streaming market for video games, there’s a case to be made for getting in early. Sure, Google seems to be bungling with Stadia, but there’s some inherent advantages that Microsoft could leverage. Microsoft will be betting very hard on their next-gen console, and they’re also going to go in just as hard on the xCloud streaming service that would allow them to distribute games direct to the consumer.
But there will always be trimming of the fat so to speak, and it looks like the Xbox One S could fall by the wayside. Microsoft’s Kareem Choudhry, leader of the team working on Project xCloud, recently revealed some intriguing new developments. Currently, xCloud is being built to stream games direct to the consoles of gamers, but Microsoft will eventually aim higher as they upgrade the hardware running the service.
There are 13 different Microsoft Azure datacenters around the world, and each one has multiple racks of game consoles tied to xCloud. In those server racks are dozens of Xbox One S consoles. The team behind the project will eventually swap these out for Scarlett hardware, likely sometime in 2020 when that console comes out.
“We designed (Project) Scarlett with the cloud in mind as well, and just as you’re going to see our console product family evolve with that next generation, the cloud is going to evolve along with it,” he explained.
The interesting bit about this is that it’s a direct signal that Microsoft is aiming to achieve some level of uniformity in its gaming console products. The similar approach to pushing Windows 10 could definitely work, assuming all the other pieces fall into place. If Xbox Scarlett hardware is fully backwards compatible, it would mean that Microsoft can push many more classic games onto Game Pass. And that’s relevant because it seems like the plan with xCloud is to bundle it with Game Pass Ultimate. By combining all of their services into one subscription, the company could make a killing.
Certainly, Microsoft has a lot of work left to do on both Xbox Scarlett and Project xCloud. But it should be a very neat next few months for the video game industry.