Microsoft cloud gaming division sets the stage for post-Xbox streaming

Microsoft has been spending a lot of time building out its Azure cloud platform lately. A big reason for this focus on cloud is so it can pull ahead of Amazon's own cloud service, which benefited greatly from arriving on the scene early. However, this push to turn Azure into the leading cloud platform could mean big things for other Microsoft services, such as gaming.

Cloud gaming has something of a rocky past, and we have plenty of examples of companies trying to make cloud gaming work but failing in the process. Sony has found some success with its PlayStation Now platform, but even it recently had to cut back on the number of devices it supported with the service. Now, backed by all of the work it has put into Azure, Microsoft is ready to give cloud gaming a shot.

According to a new write up from The Verge, Microsoft has launched a new cloud gaming segment that will look to change the way we play video games. This division will leverage Azure, and in the short term, it will attempt to persuade publishers into using its cloud services. Some publishers already do, such as Ubisoft with Rainbow Six: Siege, which uses Azure across all platforms the game is available on.

In the long term, it seems that Microsoft is looking at game streaming, much like what Sony has with PlayStation Now. We're already seeing hints of such a service in Microsoft's subscription-based Xbox Games Pass, but at some point in the future, we could see Microsoft attempt to roll out full-blown game streaming not only to Xbox, but also to other gaming devices – possibly even competing platforms, should the stars align.

Many of these scenarios are still a ways away from being realized, especially when you consider that this cloud gaming division was only created at the end of last year. In the immediate future, we'll see Microsoft working alongside publishers and developers who want to implement Azure services in some form in their titles. Even though the new division is going to start small, it'll definitely be interesting to see where it goes over the next few years.