game streaming according to Microsoft

Play Xbox titles without a console, on a smartphone or TV? This is possible with Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, which offers a streaming game formula. A system that will change the world of video games.

In recent years, Microsoft has gradually implemented a completely new approach to the video game market. While a relentless war is waging Sony in the realm of new -generation consoles – the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, which are regularly out of stock – the American giant seeks to attract new gamers to its online services. to offer them a completely different way of playing: streaming games. A technological revolution that is changing everything.

The streaming game takes some principles from video or music on demand services – such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Deezer, Spotify, etc. First, you don’t pay to have a physical copy of a work, as is the case on a DVD or CD, but to access a catalog that contains so many movies, series or music. for a monthly fee. It’s the same for streaming games: for a monthly subscription, you have access to a catalog of video games. Then, as with VOD services, once you have an account, you can enjoy it on different devices: game console, computer, but also smartphone, tablet or television! You can start a game on a fixed device, at home, and continue it on a mobile, on the train or on the bus. Magical!

This second advantage is linked to the technical aspect of streaming, in its very essence. The device that supports the game – computer, console, TV, mobile… – almost nothing is calculated: it is mostly used only to display images of the game calculated remotely, by specialized servers, and sent in real time. To simplify, the device only serves as a screen and as a control device. All heavy processing, which requires powerful processors, especially for graphics, is performed remotely on servers.

To enjoy streaming game, or cloud gaming, all you need is a fast Internet connection and a screen with controls: a computer, a box, a connected television, a smartphone or a tablet. But even if the server does everything, you still need to limit the latency between the server and the player as much as possible because games are inherently interactive, unlike movies or music: therefore they require ideal response because it is not possible to preload data, especially for online multiplayer games.

Streamed games on smartphones and tablets © Microsoft

On the principle of game streaming Microsoft developed its Xbox Cloud Gaming, a service that allows games to be played on all platforms. To take advantage of this, you must subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, a service launched in 2017 that allows access to a catalog of games for a monthly payment. A particularly interesting offer when you know the prices of boxed games, especially since the Xbox catalog offers hundreds of titles, including blockbusters. But, as with Netflix, games are regularly added and removed from the catalog, where some games become inaccessible. This is the main drawback of this system, which is similar to renting. Then it is necessary to buy them “on the hard” to continue playing there. And, of course, once you unsubscribe, you no longer have access to any games, as is the case for movies and series on the SVOD platforms!

Microsoft currently offers three Xbox Game Pass plans.

  • Xbox Game Pass for consoles : it offers access to a well-stocked catalog of console games (on Xbox One and on Xbox Series S or Series X) as well as discounts and access to Xbox Game Studios games on the day of their checkout, all at a cost of € 9.99 per month.
  • Xbox Game Pass for PC : this is exactly the same offer, but for PC games, again for € 9.99 per month.
  • Xbox Game Ultimate Pass : it offers special benefits as well as access to the full catalog on all platforms, including one hundred games available for streaming from the cloud on all platforms-the popular Cloud Gaming-for € 12.99 per month.

What to expect from Microsoft about game streaming? Right now, Xbox Cloud Gaming is limited to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate catalog of games and access to Fortnite without a subscription. However, as announced at the What’s Next for Gaming event in 2022, Microsoft wants to further expand its Cloud Gaming. Please note, however, that not all games from the Xbox Store are available to play on Cloud Gaming. Currently there is only a “selection” of games that are compatible with streaming play.

The Xbox Cloud Gaming interface to the TV © Microsoft

The American giant seems to be continuing this route since it just released the Xbox Keystone, a small console designed just for Xbox Cloud Gaming. In addition, Microsoft announced through its official website that, from the end of June, the latest models of connected TVs sold by Samsung, as well as the Neo QLED models of the Korean brand, will be released in 2022 , will include an Xbox application. . Other brands are expected to receive the app in the coming weeks and months.

The competition is more advanced on these broadcasting issues. Google’s Stadia and Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming offerings can be accessed through their respective boxes. But Microsoft has an advantage in its catalog of games, which is richer. As for Sony, its PlayStation Plus offer only gives access to a limited selection of consoles or PC games, and not to smartphones, unlike Microsoft. Also note that the Xbox Cloud Gaming service, which is in full development, is available in 28 countries, including France.

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