Today we have a bit of an odd story around Project xCloud, which comes at an unfortunate time with Stadia’s launch re-casting doubt on cloud game streaming. So far, Microsoft’s messaging has been that xCloud will be a companion feature to traditional console or PC local gaming and not a replacement. However, Project xCloud lead, Kareem Choudhry, went a tad off script recently, apparently telling reporters that ‘early talks’ for exclusive xCloud content have begun.
As reported by Stevivor, during Microsoft’s XO19 event earlier this month, Choudhry apparently spoke with a group of news outlets and touched on the possibility of streaming-only games in the future. Apparently, ‘early talks’ with third-party and first-party studios have begun for cloud-exclusive games, although there is nothing concrete to be announced at this time. Even without anything specific to announce, this a very different message from the one Xbox has been touting so far.
As you would expect, Microsoft were quick to contact the outlet with a new statement to set the record straight: “We are investigating a variety of new capabilities made possible by the cloud. However, we remain committed to an approach with game streaming that is complementary to console and have no plans for cloud-exclusive content at this time.”
Unfortunately, we weren’t in the room when Choudhry’s statement was made and there doesn’t appear to be audio or video footage available to verify the full context of the conversation. With that in mind, it is hard to know which way to believe. Is Microsoft really not even talking about the possibility of cloud-only games, even if those plans won’t come to fruition for a number of years? Or was this more likely a case of a passionate engineer accidentally revealing a little too much about the long-term roadmap?
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KitGuru Says: I doubt Microsoft is in any serious talks for cloud-based exclusives at this stage, aside from maybe gauging long-term interest from publishers. Right now, the focus really needs to be on doubling down with Xbox and PC while maintaining a leading position in value with cross-buy, Game Pass and xCloud for enabling constant access to your games whether you are near your main device or not. Although I am expecting the focus to be quite different in five-years’ time.