Microsoft announced the xCloud today and it sounds as though this is the first stage to their exit of the console market. The way that they introduced the concept was as if it was something new. Sony has had a streaming service for years called PlayStation Now.
After spending some time with PSnow, I cannot day that I would ever be excited by the concept of playing games that do not own and at the mercy of what a given company decides to make available.
As detailed in the announcement, players will be able to use an Xbox One controller connected to supported devices, and a small attachment connects the controller to a smart phone for portable gaming. If you don’t have an Xbox One controller, touch controls are also available.
The service uses Microsoft’s Azure as a backbone to set up new datacenters, with customized hardware that uses the parts of multiple Xbox One consoles. Azure has datacenters in 140 countries, so Microsoft feels it is already in a strong position to roll out the service wide-scale. It’s also developing ways to combat latency, with current tests running at 10 megabits per second. The ultimate goal is to make streaming available on 4G networks.
I get that this is the direction that gaming is going and for the younger generations, perhaps it is wise. For us older (retro) gamers, we want to own our games.