Phil Spencer took aim at the PS5, Sony and Nintendo this week when he claimed that Amazon and Google will be the new Xbox’s main competitors.
Microsoft’s head of gaming told Protocol: “When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward… That’s not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years.”
It seems then that Spencer agrees with the creators of Google Stadia – that streaming games really is the future. Microsoft has its own game streaming platform, currently on-trial with a limited amount of users. We’re expecting Project xCloud to go on full release some time this year.
It’s Spencer’s view that game streaming platforms make gaming far more accessible. As a result, getting into streaming could be a more important battle than the one that’s about to take place between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.
He said: “I don’t want to be in a fight over format wars with [Sony and Nintendo] while Amazon and Google are focusing on how to get gaming to 7 billion people around the world. Ultimately, that’s the goal.”
We have to say Spencer is probably right too – at least in some respects. Game streaming certainly requires less expensive hardware than traditional console play. Platforms like xCloud and Stadia have all the tough computing done elsewhere, which means you don’t have to have an expensive box of circuitry and chips sat under your TV.
However, Stadia’s well-publicised teething problems have cast doubt on whether game streaming is quite ready to take on the likes of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.