Game streaming may very well be the next big catalyst for the gaming industry, and both Google and Microsoft are hedging their bets on a future where you can play any game you want on any device you want. Microsoft's implementation - dubbed Project xCloud - is set to preview in October.
In a new interview with Fortune, Microsoft's Phil Spencer and Corporate Vice President of Gaming Cloud, Kareem Choudhry, talked a bit more about what the company's plans for the future of gaming are, how they see game streaming fitting into the current gaming landscape and what business models they are going to support on their platform.
Reiterating earlier statements, Spencer clarified that he doesn't see game streaming as replacing consoles any time soon. For the moment, Project xCloud is all about "first expanding the capabilities of our existing customers", said Spencer. This is a long bet for Microsoft, though, with Spencer remarking that they built xCloud "for the next decade". A large part of that strategy, according to the head of Xbox gaming, is reaching the millions of people who don't currently own a console and never will, and enabling them to play the vast library of Xbox games - numbering as many as 3,500 - on the devices they already own.
He went on to discuss the many business models that could possibly be implemented atop a game streaming service, likening xCloud to a platform which publishers can use to deliver their content to gamers. Which business models publishers employ to ultimately sell their games will be up to them, according to Spencer, as the company plans to support the gamut of models that are already thriving in the gaming world, be it subscriptions, free-to-play or one-off purchases.
In the video, we also got our first look at the actual hardware xCloud games will be running on at the datacenter. Choudhry showed off one of the server units, which housed eight full Xbox consoles in a single blade server. Microsoft is already in the process of installing these machines at 13 locations across the world, in anticipation of the impending October preview.