I’m sure by now everyone has seen the news that was first mentioned by Thurrott, regarding Microsoft working on two different next-generation Xbox consoles. Now it isn’t the first time we’ve heard this, as Phil Spencer mentioned that Microsoft was working “devices” during E3 2018. That said, the news today is that one of the consoles will be a cloud-based console. Codenamed “Scarlett Cloud”, this console will forgo the convention physical disc drive. The only way to get content to it would be either streamed, downloaded or via USB.
Which if you ask me, this is a good idea. Dropping the disc drive would drive down the cost of the machine. It would also allow for a smaller footprint. Sure, you could say that it would gimp the console by removing the drive, but that’s why there are two variants being worked on. So far it seems like a good idea. Except, I’m not 100% keen on the whole cloud-based gaming deal.
There have been several companies that have tried the whole streaming games and it hasn’t been completely successful. Onlive, Gamefly, Sony’s PlayStation Now, LiquidSky, and even Nvidia’s Geforce Now. Each one of these services has tried to get past one thing that plaques streaming games via the internet; Latency and input lag. No matter how fast your service is, how many servers you have in place across the globe, those factors still will remain. Even with Microsoft’s Azure platform, this is still going to be an issue. At least for now, there’s no to provide a nearly lag-less experience. But perhaps this isn’t what Microsoft is attempting to do.
Why? Well, for starters, they technically already have a solution for their cloud-based consoles. Just take a look at Xbox Game Pass. All those games at your fingertips, you merely need to have a subscription and you can download them at your ease. It’s been a smashing success so far, providing gamers with access to both Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles.
Which certainly makes sense, doesn’t it? A new console with more than enough power to run games at either 1080p 60 FPS or 4K 30 FPS, with a subscription service. It also solves the backward compatibility issue as well. Right now, Microsoft has to work with various devs to get the Xbox 306 and original Xbox games working for backward compatibility. Now, they’re available via Xbox Game Pass. They already know how to do this and as you’ve seen, just about every game coming out for Xbox or at least those published by Microsoft are hitting the service. Meaning, when those next-generation Xbox consoles hit the market, all you need is Xbox Game Pass and that’s it. Instant access to the catalog of games. Rent what you want to play, or buy to keep them. All digitally available in the cloud.
Sounds like a win/win to me.
Of course, this is all speculation on my part and I have no claim that I have even the slightest what Microsoft is doing. What do you think about the recent news and my thoughts on the matter? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.