As we enter the sixth month of the great console shortage of 2021 and the infinity-th month of you not having $US500 ($641) to just throw around, you might be starting to feel like you’ll never get your ticket to board the next-gen express. Well, take heart, because Microsoft is planning on making its slate of next-gen games much more accessible.
“We’re excited to see developers realise their visions in ways that only next-gen hardware will allow them to do,” wrote Will Tuttle, editor in chief of Microsoft’s Xbox Wire. “For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers.”
Previously, Microsoft had focused on xCloud’s ability to bring beefier games to less sophisticated systems like phones and tablets as opposed to bridging the gap between console generations. However, the company recently announced that xCloud will soon be switching over to Xbox Series X hardware on the server side of things, meaning that streamed games will run better and load faster. It also opens up opportunities to let Xbox One owners play games that would otherwise set their ageing boxes aflame. Microsoft has yet to say when exactly this will happen, but with xCloud set to be integrated into consoles “later this year,” it’s likely that we’ll hear more soon.
This is part of a larger push to turn Xbox Game Pass — of which the xCloud service is a part — into the premiere video game subscription service. Last week, Microsoft announced that it’s also targeting prospective players who don’t have consoles at all with an Xbox smart TV app and streaming-specific hardware, effectively turning it into the long-sought-after Netflix of video games.
Clearly, Microsoft views Xbox Series X as just one part of a larger ecosystem, the constituent pieces of which will work in tandem to butter its bread. It’s the kind of approach that could ultimately take (even more) leverage away from the people who actually make video games, not to mention create a closed ecosystem that’s hostile to, for example, modders and people who like to actually own games. But the selling point here is clearly convenience, and in that regard, Microsoft seems to be miles ahead of the rest of the pack right now.