Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has cleared up rumours concerning a cloud-based addition to the Xbox family of consoles, stating that no, a streaming-only Xbox isn't something that Microsoft is working on right now, or has plans to for the minute, because it just isn't a feasible way of delivering gaming content right now.
- Google Stadia is bringing the fight to the Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Xbox Scarlett (opens in new tab)
In an interview with Gamespot (opens in new tab), Spencer touched on Project xCloud – the new game streaming service launching this October that lets you harness the power of Microsoft's console through devices like smartphones. He stressed that the announcement of the service wasn't intended to suggest that a streaming-only console was on the the horizon, saying that the industry isn't adequately prepared for cloud gaming just yet.
"It's one of the directions the industry is headed," he acknowledged. "To me, it's about what you as a gamer want to do, and I'm not trying to tell you that owning a box that plays video games is a bad thing or that somehow that's not needed."
Spencer is most likely referring to the recently announced Google Stadia (opens in new tab), whose cheeky tagline is "the future of gaming is not a box". Microsoft currently has an all-digital Xbox console under its umbrella, and Project xCloud's game streaming service further bolsters its non-physical media offerings to give Google's cloud-gaming service a run for its money.
"I think that the cloud inevitability as part of gaming is absolutely true," he said. "But we have more compute devices around us than we've ever had, whether it's your phone, a Surface Hub, or an Xbox. The world where compute devices are gone and it's all coming from the cloud just isn't the world that we live in today."
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He added that the revelation of Project xCloud last year followed by the news that Microsoft was working on new consoles has lead to some conclusions being drawn about a cloud-based Xbox that just aren't true.
"We didn't say that [a streaming console was in the works]. I think maybe some people thought that that was the disc-less one that we just shipped. We are not working on a streaming-only console right now. We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally."
Spencer pointed out that one of the major issues face with game streaming at it exists now is the unavoidable lag, that has been prevalent in some of the Stadia demos. He didn't hesitate to criticise claims of anyone telling consumers that the problem doesn't exist, adding, "I don't think anybody should tell you that there's no lag."
Shots fired back at Google.