Microsoft's Project xCloud game streaming service will crush Stadia and other competitors for one simple reason: It won't make you re-buy games.
Project xCloud just keeps getting better and better. Not only will the service let you stream Xbox One console games you already own to other devices like mobile phones and laptops, but it'll do the same with PC games.
Sources tell Thurrot.com's Brad Sams that Project xCloud will let you stream PC titles over the cloud service, basically like GeForce Now. This is tremendously powerful and creates a unified link to your cross-platform Xbox games library and allows access wherever you go. There's probably some limitations here, and we don't know if Steam games will be included or if it's exclusive to Windows 10 games bought on the Microsoft Store.
This business model is the ultimate pinnacle of everything Microsoft has ever done so far, and fully realizes the company's ambitious service focus. The idea is to create an ecosystem of services and hardware that allows accessibility across multiple devices and price points, and ensure gamers stay in this ecosystem after they buy a game.
There's no better way to do that than carrying those games across multiple platforms without having to re-buy them.
Back at XO19, Microsoft announced the Stadia-killing feature that will change the streaming wars forever. By contrast, Stadia requires gamers to buy full-price titles to play in a browser or on their phone, regardless if they already own the game on PC or consoles.
"In 2020, we're going to give you the ability to play the games that you own from the cloud, or the games you will purchase from the future," Project xCloud CVP Kareem Choudhry said at XO19.
Game Pass games will be included too. And all of your saves, progress, achievements and friends make cross over to other platforms too.
"We all know Xbox Game Pass is the best place to discover and play your next favorite game. I'm delighted to announce that next year we will bring game streaming to Xbox Game Pass, so that you are free to discover and play anywhere and everywhere," said Catherine Gluckstein, GM of product engineering and strategy at Project xCloud.
When Project xCloud fires on all of its cylinders, it'll be bigger than Xbox consoles. In fact, I expect it to be the single biggest endeavor Microsoft has ever tackled. But getting to that point will take years after launch especially given the network latency issues and input lag.
Microsoft has yet to announce a firm release date for Project xCloud, nor has it revealed pricing.
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