Microsoft CEO reveals “Netflix for games” ambitions

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Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella has asserted that the Xbox platform-holder wants its Project xCloud game-streaming technology to become “Netflix for games”.

Speaking at a press conference, and as reported by Business Insider, Nadella said about Project xCloud: “We describe it as, shorthand, ‘Netflix for games’. We have as much [of] a shot to build a subscription service as anybody else.”

The games industry is engaged in something of a race to establish the dominant game-streaming service right now, with existing contenders like Sony’s PlayStation Now and Google’s Project Stream, and rumours that the likes of Amazon are poised to enter with their own game-streaming offerings. Although plenty of past attempts to establish game-streaming services have met untimely demises (often due to a requirement for fast broadband), most notably OnLive, which foundered in 2015.

Nadella talked up Project xCloud’s chances by pointing at Microsoft’s “Huge back-catalogue,” adding: “We have a structural position in that we have both a console business as well as a PC business, which happens to be bigger than the console business when it comes to gaming.” Plus he pointed to the popularity of Microsoft’s PlayAnywhere initiative as demonstrating a desire for a platform-agnostic game-streaming subscription service.

Microsoft first unveiled Project xCloud at 2018’s E3 Show. As yet, it hasn’t been introduced to the public, but according to this official blogpost, “Scaling and building out Project xCloud is a multi-year journey for us. We’ll begin public trials in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations.” The fact that Nadella has begun to talk it up suggests that those public trials may now be imminent.