MICROSOFT says it is working with major TV brands so that gamers can play Xbox games through web-connected tellies – without a console.
The US tech titan announced Thursday that players of the new system will not require any extra hardware other than a controller.
Xbox is also building its own streaming devices for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console.
The company, which launched two models of its Xbox gaming consoles last year, has also been focusing on developing its cloud gaming service.
It’s hoped that GamePass will attract casual gamers with the promise of cutting ties to the living room.
The $9.99 per month subscription service boasts titles such as “Alien Isolation” and “Gears 5”.
Players of the new system will not require any extra hardware other than a controller[/caption]
It can be played on Xbox consoles, Android devices and PCs, and is seen as a weapon for cutting into the dominance of rival Sony’s PlayStation platform.
“With Game Pass coming to the browser, the value of the subscription is going to transcend from the console to the PC to mobile,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in a pre-recorded video.
“I am looking forward to how we continue to invest in Game Pass, to add more content and bring the service to even more geographies,” he said.
Cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, available in dozens of countries, will be launched in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan later this year.
Video game streaming – how does it work?
We explain it all…
- When you watch a movie, the images you see are already prepared
- That’s why very unsophisticated computers inside your TV, DVD player, or computer can playback film footage
- But video games render the visuals in real-time, because a game never knows what you’ll do next
- That means you need much more computing heft to produce game visuals, compared to a standard movie
- So if you want amazing 4K PC-style graphics, you’ll need to fork out for an expensive computer
- Alternatively, you could use game streaming technology
- The idea is that a company like Google, Microsoft or Sony would handle the generation of the visuals on powerful computers at its own HQ
- Then it would send what’s effectively a video of that game to your smartphone
- You tap and play, and those commands get sent back to Microsoft or Sony, which then inputs them into the game, and sends you the visuals again
- Because modern internet connections are so fast, this all happens in milliseconds
- The resulting effect is 4K PC-style graphics on a smartphone – which is only possible because it’s not the phone itself rendering the graphics
- It also means that you could potentially be playing an Xbox or PlayStation game on your console, and then leave the house and carry on playing using your iPhone
- This sort of technology could eventually kill off gaming consoles for good, because all you’d need is a TV with game-streaming tech built in, and a controller to play with
- But game streaming is still trying to get off the ground
- Sony bought a game-streaming called OnLive, but shut it down in 2015
- Google launched the relatively successful Stadia last year
- And Microsoft is currently preparing to launch its xCloud streaming service
Xbox, which is exploring new subscription offerings for Game Pass, is also working with telecom companies to allow consumers to buy both a console and Game Pass for a low monthly price.
Currently, they have to splash that cash up front.
Gaming has received a boost since the beginning of the pandemic as over half of gamers in North America and Western Europe spent more time gaming, according to a report by gaming analysis firm Newzoo.
It will likely work a bit like cloud gaming platform Google Stadia, which launched in 2019[/caption]
Xbox plans to release at least one new, first party game into Game Pass every quarter.
More than 23 studios worldwide are creating games for the platform.
“We will unlock the ability for anyone on the planet to enjoy the gaming experiences that relatively few have had the access to before,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.
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