Microsoft isn’t worried about impending competition in the cloud gaming market.
Google’s Stadia may be getting the jump on Microsoft’s xCloud by launching tomorrow—ahead of the promised beta dates for the latter by a good half year—but Microsoft apparently isn’t worried about ceding much ground to Google. This is because according to them, being successful in the cloud gaming marketplace is more about the first mover’s advantage—it comes down to the company that best represents the confluence of a multitude of factors.
These factors, according to Microsoft’s Kareem Chowdhary, are “Cloud, Content, and Community”, and Microsoft is currently the only company in the market that can offer all three.
“We’re more focused on the customers and what we can do for them than we are looking over our shoulder,” Choudhry told GamesIndustry. “We really think the key ingredients are the three Cs: content, community and cloud. We have a phenomenal first-party cloud in Azure, 54 regions in 30 or 40 countries… that distribution and reach is an incredible asset. We have the content library, both first-party and third-party in the Game Pass subscription. And we’ve got the vibrant multiplayer community already.
“Any company that wants to be successful in the streaming space, I believe they’re going to need significant investment, history, heritage and success across all three of those at the same time and combine them in the right way. I like our position.”
It’s really hard to argue with his takeaway. We are already seeing early backlash to Stadia, mostly because it doesn’t seem to actually offer anything its competitors don’t (which comes down to an immediate lack of content).
Other companies that can match or exceed Microsoft’s content or community offerings, such as Sony or Nintendo, lack the cloud infrastructure (in fact, Sony has made a deal to use Microsoft’s Azure for their own streaming services). Microsoft truly does seem to be the best positioned of all the big players here—now to see if the whole cloud gaming segment amounts to much.