Microsoft is all set to launch its Xbox cloud gaming service which will be priced at $1 for new users’ in the first month. They are hoping that this will be a major drive to attract casual gamers with the promise of cutting to the living room and well, this will certainly heat the competition up with Sony.
Subscribers to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which cost $14.99 monthly, will be able to play more than 150 games via the cloud on Xbox consoles, Android devices as well on personal computers.
So, essentially, a subscriber need not buy a console to play the games – just an Android device and a supported controller should suffice.
The launch will take place in 22 countries and this includes the United States and 19 European countries. It marks a significant shift for Microsoft into cloud gaming and this also removes the need for bulky hardware. However, a fast and reliable internet connection is paramount. Google has also entered the marketspace with Stadia, but has not been able to carve a niche for itself.
“We built this experience so that it requires as little bandwidth as possible,” said Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s head of cloud gaming.
“We’re also working with ISPs (internet service providers) around the world to ensure a strong connection between gamers and our Azure datacenters,” he went on to add.
Currently, the Xbox Game Pass service has more than 10 million members.
All across the industry, cloud gaming revenue is slated to grow to $4.8 billion by 2023 from nearly $600 million this year, as per Guilherme Fernandes, who is an analyst at gaming analysis firm Newzoo.
Hence, subscribers to the Xbox cloud service will be able to play hit titles which include “Sea of Thieves” and “Gears 5” as part of the monthly fee. This games library is a key element for incumbents looking to maintain their lead.
It needs to be mentioned here that Analysts predict a spike in demand for immersive experiences, via better sound and graphics which will drive sales of consoles. Both Microsoft and Sony will launch their next-generation devices this year.