The Xbox Series X and PS5 are expected to hit a point where they'll have to compete with cloud gaming. With the rise of cloud gaming, it's difficult to predict which side of the table the ball will roll. Will gamers want to stick to traditional gaming hardware, or is it easier to invest in a cloud gaming solution? Xbox boss Phil Spencer seems optimistic about the Xbox Series X's future.
On the AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook podcast, Spencer talked about the impact cloud gaming will have on physical gaming hardware.
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"I think that getting to a world where you don’t have to own one device to play specific games helps the industry," Spencer said. "That doesn’t mean owning a device isn’t part of my gameplay experience. I think I’m going to have a game console plugged into my television for the next decade-plus."
Spencer went on to say that playing locally was "going to be the best way to play on my television." That makes sense because no matter how good your internet connection is, there will always be a delay with cloud gaming.
Spencer added that "sometimes I’m not in front of my television. Sometimes I’m not in front of a device that has the native ability to play. So that’s our bet on cloud."
Spencer also made a comparison to the music streaming market, and pointed out that cloud gaming could increase the demand for hardware capable of play such content.
"Streaming services have liberated that content to all the media devices around me," says Spencer. "I now have way more devices than ever to watch TV. It hasn’t lessened the number of devices – it actually increased it. I have Spotify in my ear. I have Spotify in my pocket. I have the ability to go connect to my music services across many devices."
Xbox Series X vs. Project xCloud
Xbox approaches cloud gaming similar to how Nintendo approached the Switch. Yes, the Nintendo Switch is all hardware, but the idea is that you can use it to play on your TV and then continue that very same game on the go.
With the Xbox, you can have your main console at home, and you can take your gaming on the go via your smartphone or other compatible device.
The issue is, of course, the cost of that data. Speeds are naturally going to increase as network technology improves (5G is coming soon), so getting a fast and stable connection is inevitable. However, the price will likely turn people away. If you're at home, on your local Wi-Fi, it's easy and relatively cost-effective.
With the cloud, you won't only pay for the Project xCloud's service (the price is currently unknown), you also have to pay big bucks for your mobile data plan. Don't scoff just yet if you have an "unlimited" data plan, because no plan is actually unlimited.
Mobile providers usually put soft caps in place that trigger around 30GB to 40GB. Once reached, your data is subject to be less of a priority, so your speeds lag behind those of other users who have used less data.
At the end of the day, whether the Xbox Series X lasts 10 years or not, cloud gaming won't replace traditional gaming hardware. Instead, they'll live in tandem with one another, providing the same service to gamers by different means.
We're excited to get our hands on both the Xbox Series X and Project xCloud, so stay tuned for our full reviews of both hardware and software, respectively.
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Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.