Microsoft is planning on streaming new PC game releases via the cloud to compete against the likes of Nvidia’s GeForce Now. Currently only able to stream games running on Xbox consoles, the Xbox Cloud Gaming service is planning a massive overhaul.
In leaked Microsoft emails acquired by The Verge, plans to upgrade Xbox Cloud Gaming were revealed. Using Azure servers, Microsoft wants to stream PC games over the cloud as well as games running on its Xbox Series X equipped servers.
Microsoft emails reveal plans to stream PC games following Google Stadia rumours of offering a different service for developers running games on the cloud. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella quickly asked Head of Xbox Phil Spencer whether or not the company could take advantage of this, revealing that plans are already in motion.
Kareem Choudary, CVP of Xbox Emerging Technologies, explained: “Sarah [Bond] and I in partnership with Jason’s [Zander] team are driving a suitable Azure SKU... as part of a series that will serve the customer demand we see externally for IAAS and to run our xCloud PC streaming stack.”
In the same email thread, Spencer revealed that the biggest competitor to Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently Nvidia’s GeForce Now. While Amazon Luna and the now-dead Google Stadia were mentioned, GeForce Now’s offerings are the more worrying for Microsoft. In fact, at the time of writing, some Xbox PC games are already playable on the GeForce Now service.
As per The Verge, Xbox’s plans for Xbox Cloud Gaming have significantly slowed in pace. For example, Xbox gamers were supposed to have the ability to stream any game from their library on their console, but that has yet to be implemented.
Additionally, Tom Warren claims that Microsoft was working on a standalone Xbox Cloud Gaming subscription. However, that has been scrapped, keeping the cloud streaming option locked behind the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently a strong option for streaming games across a multitude of devices, but it is far from perfect. Alongside long wait times and a restricted library, the lack of PC game streaming for titles such as Age of Empires is rather bizarre. Nevertheless, it seems that these shortcomings will one day be improved.