Xbox and Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer may have just spilled the beans. In an interview this week, Spencer talked about a series of plans for the future of the Xbox, including plans for “lower-priced hardware” that will work with Microsoft’s game streaming service and xCloud. So, you might not need an Xbox Series S after all.
The reason the Xbox Series S exists is a future where we don’t need hardware disks to play video games. There is still a way to go when it comes to moving from a hardware-dependent gaming market to a fully digital platform. But, as we have discovered over the past few years, it is certainly realistic to expect someone to be able to play all the games they would like, without ever handling a physical disc or cartridge.
In an interview with Stretechery (via The Verge) this week, Spencer said, “I think you’ll see the lowest priced hardware as part of our ecosystem when you think about streaming devices and other things that someone might want to just plug in their TV and go play via xCloud. “
Spencer suggested that Microsoft could have a streaming stick included with the Game Pass subscription. You would still need to buy your own controller, of course. It’s kind of like Google Stadia is now – although you can just buy the controller first, instead think of the screen or a streaming stick
Microsoft has a subscription service starting with partners like GameStop, called Xbox All Access. This includes Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S hardware (a console, that is) and Xbox Game Pass for a monthly fee. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate can now work with xCloud – why not the rest of the equipment?
And is there enough power in Microsoft’s cloud-based gaming service system to completely end local games? Or does it make more sense for Microsoft to profit from sales of units like Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X for as long as possible?
Spencer suggested that there may be different subscription services in the future, like a kind of Xbox Game Pass Platinum, for example. Spencer also noted that they are preparing a “web-based iOS solution for xCloud” that will appear in 2021. The release date is not yet solid because they are still working on how an application store outside the App Store solution can exist. We expect this solution in the first half of the year.
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