While most see cloud gaming and consoles to be mortal enemies, Microsoft boss Phil Spencer sees Xbox Series things a bit differently.
In an interview with Ted Price, founder of Insomniac Games on the podcast AIAS Game Makers Notebook, Phil Spencer offered a number of viewpoints, namely in regards to cloud services as an extension of one's digital life, instead of a replacement. (Some quotes have been slightly altered to offer more context).
"When I think about video and music, those streaming services have liberated that content to all the media devices around me. I now have way more devices than ever to watch TV. It hasn't lessened the number of devices — it actually increased it. I have Spotify in my ear. I have Spotify in my pocket. I have the ability to go connect to my music services across many devices."
Spencer then goes on to state the following:
"I think games are going to be similar, what we're going to find is that as games are able to run in multiple contexts, you're going to see a lot of different devices grow up to support different use scenarios."
However, he does acknowledge the impact cloud computing has had on the business:
"I think that getting to a world where you don't have to own one device to play specific games helps the industry. That doesn't mean owning a device isn't part of my gameplay experience. I think I'm going to have a game console plugged into my television for the next decade-plus. It's going to be the best way to play on my television — to download locally and play. But sometimes I'm not in front of my television. Sometimes I'm not in front of a device that has the native ability to play. So that's our bet on cloud."
And while Microsoft seems to understand the potential of products like Google Stadia, Microsoft seems to have more focus on the now, and having a realistic approach to it:
"We're less focused today on 8K 120Hz from the cloud, or even scalable physics architectures or scalable AI. We're more focused on how we take the thousands of games that already run and deliver those to more people while keeping sight lines" - hinting at the cloud to make backwards compatibility easier.
Spencer also commented on the future, especially with the cost of both owned devices and cloud computing, seeing it as a fantastic, but complex thing business-wise:
"But there are a lot of structural things to work through in terms of cost and access."
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