Microsoft’s New Gaming Cloud Division Looks for Growth Beyond Console

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Mar 15, 2018
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If you read our report on Microsoft’s GDC 2018 plans, you’re already aware of how much it focuses on winning developers over the synergy of their cloud services.

Apparently, that was just the beginning though. Speaking with The Verge,  Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Xbox Software Engineering Kareem Choudhry explained that a new gaming cloud division is now looking for business growth in the gaming industry beyond the console market.

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Phil really wanted a dedicated team focused exclusively on the gaming cloud. Those were conversations that started happening last summer, and we really started creating the structure of the organization at the end of last year.

We believe there is going to be 2 billion gamers in the world, and our goal is to reach every one of them. We’re really pleased with the success that’s happening with Xbox Game Pass. We continue to believe in user choice, and we also believe there’s room in the industry for a gaming subscription and that’s what we’re going to build.

We’re looking at ways to make that content available to anyone no matter what device they’re on. We’re spending a lot of time thinking about that space. What we’re doing with Xbox Game Pass and creating a subscription-based product, where over half the content is third-party content. I would say we’re getting started from a subscription product perspective.

This suggests that eventually Microsoft’s plan could involve streaming via the cloud to all kinds of devices, including potentially its competitors. After all, Microsoft Office is also available on iOS.

The company has been making acquisitions in the past three years such as Havok, Simplygon and more recently PlayFab. Alongside Microsoft’s own Azure cloud technology, this will be the foundation of a future where Netflix-like subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass could be available beyond just the Xbox console. After all, CEO Natya Sadella had already hinted as much a couple weeks ago at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

What do you think of Microsoft’s gaming cloud bid? Should they stick with Xbox or go platform-agnostic? Let us know below.

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