The games of the future may look similar to games that we play today but how they are developed, sold, and delivered is likely going to change. Microsoft is making moves to build out studios and technology internally that are developing “cloud-first” games.
The news comes from Polygon where it was announced that Kim Swift, known for her work on Portal, is joining Microsoft to work on experiences in the cloud. Notable, Swift was at Google working on Stadia which uses a similar model for game delivery – Google has significantly reduced its efforts to build out cloud-native content and internal games.
Swift joining Microsoft will help the company move towards its goal of producing cloud-native games and it opens up an interesting future. As an example, what is the benefit of a cloud-native game as opposed to local games that we experience today?
One such benefit is improved single-player experiences. While you already play modern multiplayer games on a dedicated server, having first-player experiences that are running in the cloud could allow for more dynamic environments or experiences.
Specifically, games of today are limited to the resources that are locally available. By running games in the cloud, there is elasticity to resources available that could be utilized for unique or improved gaming experiences. In short, more resources available means more creative options available to developers.
The key for Microsoft is that they are now pushing cloud gaming with Game Pass Ultimate and having the ability to create unique experiences across these devices could be an attractive offering that improves subscription’s appeal. That being said, based on the interview, it looks like Microsoft is in the early stages of developing this type of game or experience which means it could be some time before these assets are announced.