Project xCloud is the way for Xbox to reach players from developing countries, says Phil Spencer.
The Project xCloud has received additional details at E3 2019 even though Microsoft has not revealed some critical information, such as pricing.
However, there is a question of whether it will be able to reach countries that are still developing, those known as “third world,” and among them, we can highlight Africa, India or even Brazil. We now know that owners of Xbox consoles will be able to use their own console to stream their games for free without any fee attached.
However, Microsoft’s real bid with Project xCloud is to expand the market for its brand. In a conversation with GamesIndustry after the E3 presentation in 2019, boss Phil Spencer pointed to uncharted territories like Africa and India as areas where consoles do not perform well, unlike smartphones.
Thus, Project xCloud may be the perfect way to get these players to play Xbox titles. We know that the first customers of xCloud will be people who own an Xbox. It’s going to be, ‘Oh, I want to play on my Xbox when I’m away from home.’
Last month, Catherine [Gluckstein, head of Xbox strategy team] and I were in Africa. There are not many Xboxes in Africa. Not even many game consoles — 1.2 billion people on the continent of Africa. The average age is 19 on the continent.
They know Fortnite, they know Halo, they know Gears of War. They just do not have a device. There are players there, but the equipment they have is an Android smartphone. So today they are off regarding what is shown at E3 – because it will be out of sight – because of the market inability to reach them.
When I think of two billion players worldwide, which has tripled in the last two decades, I really think of how we serve the two billion that play today with the maximum content and services we can offer, but there are also places like Africa.
I was looking at some of PUBG’s mobile numbers in India, and they’re crazy – they had 100 million downloads or something. You see these markets where games can grow to the next two billion or even more. There are seven billion people on the planet.
For me, I think everyone should play video games. The big question around streaming games via the cloud remains the quality of the experience, which will largely be determined by latency. Project xCloud should start public trials later this year, and Google Stadia will be released in November, so we’re not far from trying out how those services will work in practice.