There was an article on GamesIndustry.biz where Microsoft was discussing the future of “NetFlix” type of games utilizing their “Project xCloud.” We did a video on xCloud when it was first announced, which is located here.
One has to wonder if the future of gaming is trending in a similar way to the current style of watching movies and television. Days of using a disc or even cable are coming to an end and in many cases ended already.
I have not had cable in almost a year and have not missed it. Most of my movies have been converted to digital, yet games I still keep predominately physical. Why do we differentiate when it comes to games? I contend that the reason is simple; movies and television shows are routinely re-released and/or supported throughout other services. Games on the other hand, are handled by the console manufacturer. Only approved software is available to the end-user (i.e. the gamer). Online game services frequently disappear, rendering a digital collection useless if a data corruption occurs. Nintendo’s Virtual Console ends on January 30, 2019. Those games purchased for the Wii will no longer be available for download. Users who purchased those games better hope to maintain those games without any data corruption.
When licenses change hands, or developers are sold, some games may never see a re-release or may simply be pulled from an online network. Consider “Goldeneye” on the Nintendo 64 (N64); the license is currently owned under Electronic Arts (EA), but Rare developed the game, now owned by Microsoft. In the event of a Nintendo 64 Classic, this is a game that will almost certainly never appear; add Conker to the mix as well! Both games were developed by Rare. With Goldeneye being a James Bond license, another problem exists; is it even worth the money to obtain licenses to a twenty year old game? The answer is “probably not.”
With xCloud, Microsoft has the chance to venture into a new world. The XBox was Microsoft’s solution to return gamers to a Microsoft platform, during the days when Windows games were starting to lose interest. Windows 10 is a phenomenal platform (for most things) and the XBox is not really needed anymore. Would it really be a surprise to see Microsoft drop the XBox console in lieu of a XBox platform, such as the xCloud.
According to GameIndustry.biz:
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has positioned Microsoft at the forefront of an industry-wide push to create a “Netflix for games.”
Speaking to the press at Microsoft’s headquarters, Nadella explicitly stated that the company’s ambition with Project xCloud is to create a platform equivalent to the tv and film streaming service in terms of reach and popularity.
“We have as much a shot to build a subscription service as anybody else.”
“We have a huge back catalogue, which is: We have our own games,” he said. “We have a structural position in that we have both a console business as well as a PC business, which happens to be bigger than the console business when it comes to gaming.”
Testing for the streaming service begins this year.