Game streaming is the future if publishers and console makers have their way. Although the idea isn’t new, it is only recently that the technology and industry backing have finally come together. Now that Google is also getting into the game, over players are starting to pick up the pace. Microsoft, of course, has been promoting its own xCloud platform but may soon have a cheaper and smaller Xbox to go along with it.
It shouldn’t take much hardware to support this game streaming services. After all, that’s the idea behind them in the first place. You offload most of the heavy work on a remote server and only transfer images and input.
Of course, such a requires even more network activity and bandwidth than regular media streaming which is why Google, with its expertise in cloud computing and data centers across the globe, is almost the perfect service provider. Microsoft isn’t going to take things sitting down, however, and its Azure-backed xCloud could have the upper hand when it comes to available titles thanks to its Xbox business.
Thurrott’s Brad Sams, however, offers yet another reason Microsoft could lead the race. While both Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud are promised to work on almost any existing device, both are still promoting a dedicated system for the best experience. In Stadia’s case, that’s the $129 Stadia. In Microsoft’s case, it could be a much cheaper $60 mini Xbox.
Details on this cheaper Xbox are still sparse but it isn’t going to blow any console, even the cheapest ones, out of the water. Its hardware might just be enough to process controller input locally to minimize the side effects of lag. For everything else, there will always be the cloud.