While the future may be streaming heavy, we aren’t there just yet.
When it comes to streaming, by and large, the big companies have been mostly glowing about its role in the future. And it is exciting, no doubt, the idea that you’ll be able to stream any game from any place. But there’s a lot of challenges to game-based streaming that many don’t seem to have a good answer for. Google’s Stadia service, for instance, has stumbled quite a bit out of the gate as the first major streaming based gaming platform. It seems someone else is wanting to maybe pump the brakes on the excitement just a tad with Phil Spencer giving a bit more of a realistic take about where he sees the company’s upcoming xCloud streaming service.
Talking to Game Infromer, Spencer and several other members of the xCloud team talked about the service. One aspect that was focused in is latency with the team acknowledging there’s still challenges there. And Spencer laid down bluntly that he sees xCloud, and streaming in general, as a convenience for those with the ability to utilize it.
“The best place to play is locally; I’ll say that flat-out,” he says. “Streaming is a technology of convenience. It’s a technology of choice when you’re away from your console and you want to play.”
Indeed, streaming is probably something of a godsend if you have the internet to handle it, as well as not having to worry about data caps. But those challenges are still out there and, until they’re sorted, are going to be an issue for a lot of players. Unlike movies and music, game streaming uses a significant amount of data very quickly. It’ll be interesting to see the technology evolve, but as of now, Spencer is probably right on the money.