November 18, 2019
According to Microsoft head of gaming Phil Spencer, the company will introduce its xCloud game streaming service, integrated with Xbox Game Pass, in 2020, with price and launch date to be determined. Microsoft will also bring xCloud to Windows 10 PCs, making it likely that PC games will be streamed there in the future. Microsoft head of cloud gaming Kareem Choudhry noted the lack of mouse and keyboard support for Xbox games streamed via xCloud to a PC, but said there will “be more types of content” in the future.
The Verge says that xCloud general manager Catherine Gluckstein reported the company also has an iOS prototype and is working with Apple to launch it. Noting that Google is also unveiling Stadia without iOS support, The Verge suggests that the reason “is probably related to Apple’s App Store policies.”
Microsoft “is also embracing controller support beyond the Xbox One wireless controller for xCloud … [and] planning to include support for Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers in xCloud next year, and other Bluetooth controllers and game pads from Razer.”
Also in 2020, the tech giant will expand xCloud preview to Canada, India, Japan and Western Europe. India, in particular, is “a huge market,” said Spencer. “They’re going to enter the Xbox ecosystem through a different device, that’s not a console and not a PC,” he said. Gluckstein reported that although xCloud will be previewed in these countries prior to its introduction, “not all countries where we’re previewing will definitely launch.”
Compared to Google’s aggressive promotion of the Stadia launch, “Microsoft’s approach has been relatively slow in comparison.” Choudhry explained that Microsoft’s approach is “responsibly aggressive.”
“I want to go out there and test, and I want to go out and get feedback from the community, find out what that right mixture is and do the right thing,” he said. “It’s more important for us to get it right than to get it out fast.”
Elsewhere, The Verge reports that Microsoft added 50 games from 25 partners for its Project xCloud preview, after having debuted it with five titles one month ago. Among those titles are “Madden NFL 20,” “Devil May Cry 5,” “Tekken 7” and “Forza Horizon 4.” Being able to test more titles will provide “a better understanding of how the service will run for more demanding titles.”
In comparison, Google has 44 games in the hopper for Stadia, with 12 available at launch. The initial price for the xCloud hardware starter kit with three months of service is $130, with $10 per month after this period.