“I believe your best premium experience is going to be dedicated hardware running under your TV in your living room,” says Microsoft’s Kareem Choudhry.
Microsoft clearly has huge ambitions with the upcoming cloud-based streaming service xCloud, something that strives to bring console-quality games – every single one that natively runs on an Xbox, in fact – to any and all devices- even tablets and mobiles. But while the purpose of the project is to expand the scope of the industry and bring it to people regardless of whether or not they own the required console hardware, you shouldn’t take that to mean that console hardware is going to go out of fashion any time soon.
Microsoft clearly sees xCloud as a vital part of its future strategy, but as per their corporate VP of gaming cloud Kareem Choudhry, it isn’t meant to be a replacement, or something that signifies the death of traditional consoles. According to Choudhry, it’s more a matter of “and”, rather than one of “or”.
“It’s not that extreme at all,” said Choudhry while speaking with Eurogamer. “I’ve been building consoles for 15 years – we’re not getting out of the console business, we spoke about it in our xCloud videos. We love our consoles, we love that business, and we’re super proud to have the most powerful console out on the market place today and that leadership position we hope to retain going forward.”
“And I also believe your best premium experience is going to be dedicated hardware running under your TV in your living room,” he continued. “It’s an ‘and’ conversation, not an ‘or’ conversation. Everyone loves to jump to the death of consoles, and I think it makes a great headline, but we don’t think that way at all.”
Given just how experimental cloud technology remains at this stage, it’s hard to see it replacing consoles any time soon, so in that, Choudhry obviously has a point. In its infancy, xCloud will be more about laying down the foundation for the future, rather than just upending the status quo of the industry immediately upon arrive. How well it lays down the foundation remains to be seen- public trials begin later this year, so we don’t have to wait too long to find out how it’s shaping up.