Prophesied by pundits long ago, game streaming, and consequently game rentals, might be the way we consume and play interactive entertainment in the future. Sony is already doing it with PlayStation Now. NVIDIA has just jumped in with GRID. And now it seems that Microsoft is actively developing something similar, codenamed “Arcadia”. That said, this streaming technology might go beyond simply streaming games and could be Microsoft’s way to keep Android users from completely ignoring its Windows operating system.
To be certain, this is not the first time that Microsoft has toyed around with the idea of cloud-based gaming. Back in 2013, the company was already rumored to be working on a similar technology in answer to Sony’s purchase of game streaming company Gaikai. Gaikai’s technology would later on be used to power PlayStation Now. It seems that the idea is back on the table, this time called “Arcadia”, as revealed in job postings from the company.
But more than just gaming, insider sources are claiming that Arcadia can also be used to stream apps, in particular Android apps. Redmond was once said to be mulling over how to run Android apps inside Windows to rope in more users that would have otherwise migrated to mobile platforms like Android. Earlier implementations of that idea were supposedly shelved, but Arcadia might very well be the next attempt.
If true, then Microsoft Arcadia has parallels with Amazon’s AppStream service, which offers a somewhat similar ability to run Android apps from the cloud. Since Arcadia is also said to be built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, then it might have more in common with AppStream than a more gaming-focused PlayStation Now.
The biggest question, aside from whether this insider information is true or not, is when. Microsoft has been hinting that it has surprises in store for gamers in Windows 10. That said, considering the recent job postings, it might be too early in the game to make its debut.