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The future of Xbox gaming is in the cloud
Leveraging Azure data centers, Xbox corporate vice president Sarah Bond says that Microsoft aims to “democratize” the gaming experience for players and streamline the game development process.
In an era where player experience is king, Microsoft aims to revolutionize gaming by shifting the focus from the console to the cloud. The secret sauce? A seamless integration of Xbox Cloud gaming that can operate regardless of the device's local capabilities.
Microsoft’s Sarah Bond, Corporate Vice President of Game Creator Experience & Ecosystem at Xbox, told me that this “democratization” of gaming is powered by Azure’s cloud data centers, which emulate the Xbox Series X and S to stream games as though they were running locally.
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“Our goal is to make it possible for anyone to be able to play any game anywhere,” Bond said. "So no matter what device you're playing on, that older tablet of yours has a certain amount of CPU and GPU, but that doesn't matter because Azure is actually running the game.”
Game developers often grapple with the burdensome task of managing multiple versions of their games across various devices. Xbox Cloud Gaming offers a solution enabling developers to create one version of their game, compatible with Xbox Series X and S, which can then be run from the cloud. Not just the developers reap the benefits, players also enjoy the flexibility of cross-device play and their community of friends.
"Making games is incredibly hard,” Bond said. “They require high workloads, they push the edge of tech. And so even though creators tell us over and over again that they share the same dream that we do to make it possible for anyone to be able to play a game anywhere, the tech to enable that and the dev tools to enable that are critical."
This venture not only realizes Microsoft's dream of making games widely accessible but also empowers game creators, removing technical burdens while enabling functionalities such as cross-saves and cross-network multiplayer. Companies like Hello Games and PUBG Studios are already leveraging these benefits.
Microsoft's cloud gaming investment illustrates the impressive strides the company is making, not just in the gaming sector but also in various other digital transformation scenarios — quantum and cybersecurity, for example — for businesses and consumers. The future of gaming, it seems, is streaming.