Spencer believes that streaming is more of an alternative, and will never fully replace traditional consoles.
It’s no secret that game streaming services hold a great deal of potential. Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud sounds promising, especially considering how much Microsoft themselves have been talking it up, while the likes of EA are also following in their footsteps with their own cloud streaming solutions.
Many believe that eventually, cloud streaming might even grow enough that it replaces traditional video game consoles entirely, to the point where we’ll be using our screens and boxes as nothing more than conduits for streaming our content. However, according to Phil Spencer, executive vice president of Microsoft’s gaming division, that’s never going to happen.
As per Spencer, streaming is more of an alternative, and a good option to have in many situations, but that consoles and PC gaming themselves aren’t going to be replaced “for years and years”. He says that while streaming is an option in the scenario where your hardware might not be powerful enough to run certain games itself, overall, it’s more about giving more choices to players and consumers.
“There are certain scenarios where a streamed game is the best answer,” Spencer said while speaking with YouTube channel Level Up (you can view it below, it’s timestamped). “On a console, the best scenario is for you to download that game and play. If you’re on a PC that’s capable of downloading and playing a game, download and play that game.”
“Not all devices are capable of playing the great high fidelity games that we see here in the show [X018], that our first parties are building and the third parties are building, so streaming is an option in those scenarios,” he continued. “And there’s some scenarios of like instant starts and trials, where maybe streaming on a device could be interesting, but I think for years and years, the best way to go play a game on a console is going to be to download that game and play it, and same thing on PC.”
“I think streaming is something that’s further out,” Spencer went on, “in terms of it becoming really mass market and everybody doing it. And way further out before it’s the best way to play a game, if it ever is. I think it’s about giving you a choice as a player, rather than replacing what you do. We love people who play on PC today, we love people who play on consoles, who play native games on consoles, and we’re investing to make that even better.”
It’s good to hear Spencer being characteristically honest about Microsoft’s streaming initiative, which is something that seems to be a big push for the company as a whole. Judging by his recent comments on how he plans on expanding Microsoft’s role in PC gaming, it definitely seems like they have no immediate plans for going all in on streaming.