Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer – during the E3 2018 – announced that the company is developing a cloud-based game streaming service for the Xbox One and other devices. Further, Spencer also confirmed multiple new Xbox consoles are on the way.
Game streaming service is the future
Microsoft’s game streaming service, according to Phil Spencer, would be designed to offer console-like gaming experiencing on any device ranging from Xbox to phone to PCs. With the cloud-based streaming service, Microsoft aims to tap into billions of mobile devices that are traditionally known for a subdued gaming experience.
“We are dedicated to perfecting your experience everywhere you want to play — your Xbox, your PC and your phone,” he added. Spencer did not mention the specific timeline when the service would be open to the masses.
Microsoft’s announcement for the game streaming service does not come as a surprise as Spencer has hinted about the same in the past. Last year, during the launch of the Xbox One X, Spencer claimed that Microsoft would have a game streaming service within three years leveraging Azure’s widely stretched footprint to ensure high-quality gaming.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot also believes in Microsoft’s streaming vision. Guillemot believes that the streamed games would replace the console some time after the next console generation. EA has also come up with its own cloud streaming service.
Before Microsoft, some of the biggest names in the gaming world took up the challenge to design a gaming streaming service but failed. Sony took over the streaming games service OnLive, but could not bring out anything substantial eventually leading to shuttering of the service. The Japanese major, in its second attempt, acquired Gaikai, but it was later absorbed in the PlayStation Now Service, notes The Verge. Another mention-worthy contender is Nvidia, which is trying to stream games to PCs.
Xbox Two – what to expect?
Rumors of the Xbox Two or new Xbox have been circulating for some time, and now, the official stamp has been put on those reports at the E3 2018. Confirming the development of the Xbox Two, Spencer said the team is “deep into architecturing the next Xbox consoles,” and the Xbox team would again meet the standards of console gaming.
“Our experts in Microsoft Research are developing the future of gaming AI, so the worlds and characters we enjoy will be more rich and more immersive,” he said. Further, the executive stated the team is also working to embed Artificial Intelligence into gaming. This could mean further integration of Cortana virtual assistant in the new Xbox.
Two or more versions of the new Xbox cannot be ruled out with one being a high-end model and other an entry-level with a comparatively less graphics-intensive version for the casual gamers. Talking of the expected features in the new Xbox, it would mostly focus on boosting the performance along with graphical fidelity and frame-rate.
Microsoft lagged Sony in terms of virtual reality and stayed quiet for most of the season. So there are speculations that the new console would have loads of VR features. Possibly the new Xbox might also serve as a launch platform for the HoloLens augmented reality headset, which would enable the owner to place virtual objects in the real environment.
New Xbox – when is it coming?
Though Microsoft is still to announce the release date for the new Xbox, the console would reportedly be ready to take on the PlayStation 5. The first Xbox released in 2001 followed by the Xbox 360 in 2005. Eight years later, Microsoft came up with the Xbox One. However, the frequency of a new console coming up has increased since then with the Xbox One S releasing in 2016 just three years after its predecessor. The Xbox One X was launched in 2017, merely a year after the launch of the Xbox One S.
It is not just Microsoft churning out consoles at a brisk pace, arch-rival Sony also is following the same smartphone-type product release for the consoles, offering frequent upgrades with cosmetic changes and slight performance upgrades to encourage gamers to upgrade. For Sony, if the previous trends are anything to go by, PlayStation 5 should be unveiled in 2019.
So, the new Xbox would probably be released around that time. It is also possible that Microsoft might deviate from the general trend by not following Sony for releasing its Xbox Two. If the Xbox maker indeed decides to release the Xbox Two in 2019, it would happen around November. Every Xbox console – except the Xbox One S – was launched in November.