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Phil Spencer: Cloud games are inevitable, but do not replace traditional consoles

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, has something to think about, from the next generation of Xbox consoles to creating new development teams. He and the employees of the Games division of Microsoft also manage an ecosystem to meet the needs of as many players as possible. Cloud games touch all these areas. That's why it defends Project xCloud, Microsoft's streaming technology that will allow you to access the power of an Xbox console via your phone over an Internet connection.

GameSpot recently discussed with Spencer about a number of topics, including how he sees xCloud embedding in the Xbox directory. He also explained how he thought xCloud would work in a traditionally orbital industry around home consoles.

"This is one of the directions the industry is taking," said Spencer. "For me, it's about what you want to do as a player, and I'm not trying to tell you that owning a box that plays video games is a bad thing or that, One way or another, this is not necessary.

"I think the inevitability of the cloud in the game is absolutely true," he continued. "But we have more computing devices around us than we've ever had, whether it's your phone, a Surface Hub, or an Xbox." The world where computing devices are gone and everything it comes from the cloud is not the world we live in today. "

Physical devices are still an integral part of the cloud gaming equation, but Xbox itself does not manufacture a new device specifically designed for this purpose. "Last year we talked about xCloud and then we said we were working on new game consoles, but that's all I said." Spencer clarified: "We did not say that [a streaming console was in the works]. I think some people may have thought that it was the diskless disc that we have just delivered. We do not currently work on a console exclusively in streaming. We consider the phone in your pocket as a broadcast destination, and the console we have allows you to play games locally. "

"If you've bought a great gaming PC and like to play it, I want to respect it, meet you where you are, and bring the content and services you want, if you want to buy an Xbox, you want to play Minecraft on a PlayStation, I want to make sure that it is for you. "

One of the main concerns that has always surrounded the games in the cloud is the delay. More specifically, how fast your controller inputs will translate into action on a screen. This was sometimes a problem for the Google Stadia demos, especially for quick shooters such as Doom. Spencer recognizes this and does not hide his concern by saying, "I do not think anyone should tell you that there is no lag."

"Coming back to our transparency, there is a truth that I think it's always important that we discuss with our customers." With xCloud, we're building a handy feature that lets you enjoy your Xbox experience. means why do you focus on the phone and the experience is not the same as running the games on an Xbox One X. I will not say that it s It acts of a format 8k 120 hertz.This is not what we do, bring you comfort and choice on your phone.

"You can participate in a party, we can talk by voice.Everything works the same way as when I sit with my console from the point of view of the community and the content, but that you run it from from a cloud, which will seem different to you. "

We talk about Project xCloud and we use words like "trial" not because we do not believe in our technology – our technology is as efficient as everyone else's, and the team does a really amazing job – but that's about all. the reality of time and the choice for customers.

Since he's traveling with a first version of xCloud on his own phone and he's playing games in public, it looks like xCloud is in a full state of functionality. Public trials start in October of this year (a month before Google Stadia), but we asked if this service would be launched as a full service. "We'll start in 2019 this year in some markets, and then we'll just continue to roll it out, and we're doing our internal testing with xCloud, which means team members can now install the application on their own." phone and stream games. "

"One of the benefits of Microsoft at home is the presence of Azure data centers globally, allowing us to bring the hardware as close to people as possible, and we can take advantage of the fact that Microsoft has spent a lot of time money to establish data centers help us speed up construction, so we'll start in 2019 and let people play Xbox games on their phones, and we'll have a ton of feedback. "

The launch of Project xCloud this year marks just the beginning of the Xbox streaming service; Microsoft will continue to browse it as long as it is in the hands of its players. Spencer points out that technological change takes time. "I think people will not play in the years to come, and I mean years, like years and years."

Phil Spencer on stage at the Microsoft press conference on E3 2019. – Photo credit: Jason Lewis

"Let's take a look at Netflix, who is 20. I think we sometimes forget about it because technology is changing so fast." He's 20 years old at this point, so it took us two decades to get to the point where programs like Game of Thrones and House of Cards are some of the biggest shows on the planet and are mostly streamed, I think streaming in the games will be faster than 20, but it will not be two years from now. It's a technological change, it happens overnight, it does not work. "

"It takes time for these services to evolve, we are building for the long term, but that's why the choice is so crucial, I'm not trying to sell your consoles today and switch to streaming because the experience is not so far away. " Same as playing on your console, but in terms of reaching everyone, democratizing the game and the content, it is important not to lock all these experiences behind the purchase of a certain device. "

"And well over time, we will have a global service that can reach everyone and the infrastructure needed to provide all customers with a consistent and high quality Internet service, but it will take time. from Project xCloud and use words such as "trial" not because we do not believe in our technology – our technology is as good as anyone's, and the team does a really amazing job – but it's about the reality of time and the choice of customers. "

In the long term, the evolution of xCloud could lead to certain creative uses; we've seen clues about it in Crackdown 3's multiplayer mode and how it handles physics. But Spencer and his team think themselves apart from the games because they intend to incorporate it into the biggest industry convention, stating: "At E3 [in the future], our plan is to allow people who come to watch the show to play games, to play Xbox games on a phone during the show. "

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Part of the success of cloud gaming, and xCloud in particular, lies in the way developers report on new technology. This is also an aspect on which the Xbox is already ahead, and Spencer explained how the team does it. "We've already started to place xCloud servers near the locations where our biggest third-party developers are, so we're now starting to use third-party developers to see their game on a phone, which means For example, if you wanted to make the most of it and understand how the game works on the phone, you want to make it available – you want them to see it and discover it for themselves. "

"We've also already integrated the Xbox SDK, because if you stream, a developer may want to do something different if the game is run locally." All developers who build Xbox games today have the possibility to determine if the game is streaming or running locally, which, in my opinion, is a great addition.

"You will have some developers who will benefit early.We already have some of the first users who ask [it]because the cloud makes some things more possible than at home. A good example of this is that our current blades have all the Xbox datacenters that have multiple Xboxes on one blade … basically like a series of Xbox in your home that are wired together. The latency between all these consoles is negligible. It's almost a zero because they're literally wired together. If we were to play online games, there would be latency at home and at home, right? Our two Xboxes just take the time to sync. "

More exclusive coverage of Phil Spencer

Our conversations with Phil Spencer have covered a lot more and more of this deep dive into Project xCloud and the place of the cloud game in the area. To learn more about Spencer and his thoughts on the past, present and future of the Xbox, check out all our stories in related stories below.


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