The Road Ahead for Project xCloud

This week, we got a closer look at the hardware that is coming soon to the Xbox family, the series X. While the hardware should excite those waiting for a new console, the future of Xbox will not be hardware, but software.

And that’s a good thing, Microsoft is quite good at building software and for the Xbox brand, this means xCloud. During the last couple of weeks and months, Microsoft has slowly been expanding its once closed preview service to include iOS hardware, new countries, and the company is adding new games too (at least for Android users).

Microsoft’s marching orders from the top down are to build software as a service but hardware, while is a means to develop and build more software, is not the end goal for Xbox. While it is hard to predict when the ‘classic’ style console will go away, if ever, there is no mistaking that this generation of hardware is far more ‘PC-like’ than previous iterations.

Because when you can game at 4k 60 FPS on your phone, in the browser, or using a built-in app on your TV, why do you even need a console anymore? This is the future Microsoft, Google, and many others are chasing but it’s not quite here, yet.

While we know many details about xCloud, there are still several things on the table that we have yet to hear about and there are new features that are currently being tested. Microsoft previously stated that xCloud would be part of GamePass but we don’t know yet if there will be a standalone offering or if xCloud will be a bundle that raises the price of GamePass.

Business model aside, we still do not know the final name of xCloud. As it stands today, xCloud is the temporary name but Microsoft may be looking to make the final branding announcement in the near future, possibly at GDC.

What will Microsoft name the service? I know many, myself included, would not mind if they stuck with xCloud but the name may not resonate well with those not familiar with the beta. Further, xCloud, as a stand-alone brand, doesn’t make all that much sense; I would expect Microsoft to go with something like Xbox Cloud or similar for the retail name.

There are also other features coming to the service that have not yet been released, such as streaming PC games using xCloud. While the details are still a bit thin, people familiar with the company’s plans state that it looks like the next step for xCloud will offer a solution similar to that of what Nvidia recently launched, GeForce Now. We have seen a similar feature where you can stream games from your Xbox console to another device, PC gamers will soon be able to do the same.

Microsoft’s goal is to make xCloud the backbone for all future gaming options going forward and I expect we will hear more about the company’s plans at GDC which takes place in a couple of weeks. At GDC, the company will likely be pushing its GameStack tools as Micorosft looks to bring more developers into the Azure/Xbox ecosystem.

For now, know that Microsoft is investing heavily into xCloud and that the company is looking to position the service as the foundation of the future of gaming. As the marketing engines kick into high gear for the series X, don’t lose focus that xCloud is the ace in the sleeve for Microsoft.

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Conversation 18 comments

  • proesterchen

    27 February, 2020 - 12:10 pm

    <p>Console gamers are probably the second easiest targets for a cloudification of their experience, second only to mobile gamers. It probably helps that Microsoft as a platform holder can harm the experience of local players at will, so they can put a finger on the scale if adoption doesn't go along their projected path.</p>

  • rm

    27 February, 2020 - 12:18 pm

    <p>There are a lot of good naming options including: Xbox Cloud, XCloud, Xbox Stream, Xbox Wind, Xbox Typhoon, Xbox Tornado, Xbox Monsoon, Xbox Lightning.</p>

    • Pierre Masse

      27 February, 2020 - 12:56 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#523710">In reply to RM:</a></em></blockquote><p>Xbox Pandemic.</p>

  • darkgrayknight

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2020 - 12:36 pm

    <p>Isn't the xCloud still using Xbox hardware in their cloud datacenters? Obviously there still needs to be some hardware running to actually run the games. So the real future is specialized hardware (consoles) located IN the cloud that stream to a wide variety of devices.</p>

  • stevek

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2020 - 12:42 pm

    <p>I like XStream Games…kinda rolls off the tongue </p>

  • legend

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2020 - 12:46 pm

    <p>Xbox 365? ?</p>

  • Calibr21

    27 February, 2020 - 12:57 pm

    <p>Xbox Game Stream. There is already an icon on my phone with the Xbox logo and "Game Pass" text below it. Microsoft has invested into marketing the "Game Pass" name already, so "Game Stream" seems to be a natural way to leverage the existing marketing efforts. </p>

  • tripleplayed

    27 February, 2020 - 1:14 pm

    <p>"Xbox Game Streaming" will be the name. Just look at the mobile app. They even made a logo for it. </p><p><br></p><p>Think McFly think. </p>

  • zvonimirm

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2020 - 1:57 pm

    <p>Xbox GamePass =&gt; Xbox GameCloud </p><p>That sounds about right ?. </p>

  • gregsedwards

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2020 - 2:36 pm

    <p>Xbox without the "box"…I'm kind of leaning toward <strong>Xcloud</strong>.</p>

  • Wizzwith

    27 February, 2020 - 2:37 pm

    <p>Seems fairly obvious the name should be Xstream. 🙂 </p><p>I just hope they don't go with an overused term like Xbox+ or Xbox Go or Xbox Now. </p>

    • RonV42

      Premium Member
      27 February, 2020 - 3:21 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#523740">In reply to Wizzwith:</a></em></blockquote><p>OpenText already owns that name. </p>

  • spacein_vader

    Premium Member
    27 February, 2020 - 3:52 pm

    <p><em>"We have seen a similar feature where you can stream games from your Xbox console to another device, PC gamers will soon be able to do the same." </em></p><p><br></p><p>They already can, and have done for years. Steam Link originally needed it's own hardware (a bit like a chromecast dongle,) but since the end of 2018 it's no longer hardware dependent and works on Android, iOS, Samsung TVs, Raspberry Pis etc.</p>

  • poppapete

    27 February, 2020 - 4:28 pm

    <p>I presume those lucky MS Flight Simulator alpha testers could tell us how it is all going but for the NDA. It seems the "game" is streamed from the XCloud to their PC's. MS have said that the FS2000 will be released on PC then later on the current XBox.</p>

  • Vladimir Carli

    27 February, 2020 - 6:47 pm

    <p>Unfortunately Microsoft just pulled out of GDC</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    28 February, 2020 - 4:13 am

    <p> I wish you include your Sams report videos with these posts. </p>

  • codymesh

    28 February, 2020 - 4:55 am

    <p>just watch them call it "Xbox Now" or something</p>

    • lancert

      28 February, 2020 - 10:10 am

      <blockquote><a href="#523839"><em>In reply to codymesh:</em></a><em> Xbox Now X Series XCloud</em></blockquote><p><br></p>


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