Microsoft wants to be the one to set the pace in the video game industry for years to come. The technology company already made it clear in 2017, when it launched Game Pass , that sort of Netflix-type digital drawer where the player can choose from more than a hundred works in exchange for the payment of a monthly payment of 10 euros.
Now, the video game division of the firm, Xbox , has announced , within the framework of Gamescom 2021, that before the end of the year all its users, both those who have current generation consoles and those who still press buttons on an Xbox One controller, they will be able to play the more than 100 video games of the Game Pass in the cloud . Exactly the same as if they saw a movie on Amazon Prime Video or Disney +.
The company has been outlining Xbox Cloud Gaming for years , its tool for this type of game, which, at the moment, is in beta. Thanks to it, the platform can currently be used on ‘smartphones’ -iOS or Android- and on tablets . Now, with the arrival of the service to the company’s consoles, users will be able to start playing on the spot from their desktops; simply by ‘clicking’ . No need to download content. In addition, the functionality will be very useful when playing online with friends, since it will not be necessary to wait for the title to be installed to join the game.
Beyond the ability to test games without having to wait hours, the arrival of the new tool will allow Xbox One users to enjoy a handful of next-generation titles that are not compatible with their systems.
Something that, surely, will be to the liking of all those who, almost a year later, are still unable to acquire a new system due to the difficulties of technology to meet the growing demand. Among the works that will be available to this type of user are ‘ Microsoft Flight Simulator ‘ or ‘ The Medium ‘. All you have to do to play them is have a Game Pass Ultimate account.
For years, Microsoft’s strategy within the video game field has gone through the democratization of the game as a service : allowing the user to play on whatever device and whatever video game they want in exchange for a monthly payment.
Unlike Sony and PlayStation, which require you to purchase their great exclusive releases separately, Xbox is committed to putting them, from the day of departure, in the Game Pass ; which allows the ‘gamer’ to enjoy them without having to make an extra payment. That is precisely what will happen in the coming months with long-awaited proposals such as ‘ Halo Infinite ‘, ‘ Forza Horizon 5 ‘ or ‘ Age of Empires 6 ‘.
The company, as we say, does not care that you use a console of the brand or another device to play on its platform. “I don’t want my team to focus on console sales. The main result of all the work we do is how many players we see and how often they play. That’s what drives Xbox, ”Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s video game division, recently said in an interview with ‘The Guardian’.
The streaming war
While Microsoft and Xbox continue to take steps so that the user can play in the cloud, several companies begin to look with interest at the possibility of jumping on the bandwagon . More taking into account that the video game has more and more followers, and that, specifically, online and digital gaming, pandemic through, has experienced enormous growth in recent months.
This is shown, for example, by the latest yearbook of the Spanish Video Game Association, which shows that, during 2020, sales of digital titles (957 million euros) were higher than the physical format (790 million euros) by First time in history.
The latest company to announce its entry into the industry has been Netflix, which, in its first steps, will only add games for mobile devices . And it is that the use of ‘streaming’ in video games is not something simple. Not much less. “There are many tricky things that surround the video game in ‘streaming’,” Jon Cortázar, executive director of the Spanish development studio Relevo, recently explained to ABC.
«On the one hand it offers advantages, because it does not force you to have a powerful machine. But then there is the usual downside, which is that you have to have a really good connection and no drop-offs for that to work. In ‘streaming’ the images come directly to the screen and they have to do so in high resolution and with an acceptable frame rate.
Then there is also the problem of ‘lag’, the time difference between when I press a button and the order I have given is executed on the screen. This must be immediate, because otherwise the experience suffers completely. So far many have tried and few have been successful, “he added.
Google , for its part, tried to break down the door in 2019 with Stadia , its subscription service for playing video games in the cloud. Among the titles available, for individual payment, are some of the most important and recognizable of recent years. However, the initial performance issues of the proposal , as well as the requirements for its use, significantly affected its adoption. The search engine recently announced the closure of its own development studio and is currently focusing on convincing external studios to choose its platform to share their creations.
Amazon , meanwhile, continues to outline the arrival of Luna , its streaming video game service to the whole world. At the moment, it is only available in the United States, and not even in the whole country. It is expected to take off globally in the coming months.
PlayStation, from behind
Regarding the more traditional companies, such as Nintendo and PlayStation , at the moment the movements for the democratization of this technology are scarce; even null, in the case of the company that owns Super Mario. While Xbox Game Pass currently has a community of more than 20 million players, Sony’s equivalent service, PS Now, is at 3.2 according to the most recent data shared by the technology.
The firm recently notified in a statement that it aims to increase the global community directly related to the company – made up of 160 million users – to one billion, and for this it is aware that it is vital to strengthen its PlayStation Now service.