Microsoft is contemplating a significant shift in its game streaming strategy, possibly opening up avenues for ad-supported access to their gaming service. Tim Stuart, Microsoft Gaming CFO, discussed this prospect during the Wells Fargo TMT Summit, emphasizing the potential for users to access game streaming through Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) by watching advertisements.
Market Focus on Emerging Regions
Stuart highlighted regions like Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, envisioning a model where individuals, predominantly mobile phone users, could watch a brief ad and gain two hours of game streaming. This strategy targets markets less inclined towards gaming consoles or PCs.
Uncertainties and Prior Attempts
Despite the discussions, Microsoft’s definitive plans remain uncertain. Reports suggest a slowdown in Xbox Cloud Gaming’s development, including shelved ideas like user game support and a standalone subscription version. The focus remains on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s integrated service.
Past Success and Ongoing Testing
Microsoft has seen success in game streaming, boasting over 20 million users on Xbox Cloud Gaming. However, currently, only Fortnite offers free access. The company has shown interest in expanding the game selection but has yet to materialize it. Additionally, they’re testing mouse and keyboard support, restricted to Xbox consoles, not PCs, notes NIXsolutions.
While Microsoft contemplates ad-based game streaming expansion, uncertainties persist regarding its execution. Despite successful strides in game streaming, their plans for broader access and game variety on Xbox Cloud Gaming remain in a state of flux.