Users of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, as well as older Xbox One machines, will soon be able to stream their favorite videogames. No need to download and install games on their devices: Microsoft is extending its cloud gaming service to next generation consoles. The announcement was made at the opening of Gamescom, the videogames fair trade that usually takes place in Cologne. The 2021 edition has been organized online, but no one in the industry is sad because of Covid. Quite the contrary: videogames received an incredible boost when lockdown measures stimulated people to play at home.
All online forms of entertainment benefited from the situation. Patrons have been using sugarhouse casino bonus codes extensively to access a vast array of games. The estimate by market researchers is that lockdowns have turned home entertainment into a $180 billion industry. Videogames are generating larger incomes than movies and North American sports combined. In comparison, 2019 was the first year in which the global film industry reached $100 billion in revenue, while American sports earned about $75 billion in 2020.
While movies and sports suffered from restrictions due to the epidemic, the videogame industry jumped to double-digit growth in 2020, after two years of high-single-digit growth. Analysts are convinced that 2021 will see continued strong growth, thanks to the newly introduced next-generation consoles by Microsoft and Sony, and to the accompanying new games.
All the tech giants from the US, including Google and Amazon, see a bright future for videogames beyond consoles: software and subscription services are expected to become much more central to the development of the industry than hardware. Microsoft is following this trend, though still making significant investments in Xbox consoles. The Xbox Game Pass is becoming an increasingly vital component of Microsoft’s strategy. The subscription service is quite affordable, at about $15 per month, allowing players to access a library with more than 100 games.
Microsoft plans to bring more users into its ecosystem by making it usable with a whole series of different devices. Therefore the cloud gaming service must be made accessible to next-generation consoles, while at the moment it is available only on mobile devices and PCs. The next planned step is to extend cloud gaming to TV. The ‘Netflix for games’ is already under development. Subscribers will use dedicated streaming hardware to hook up to their TVs to the cloud gaming service.
The leading competitor of Microsoft in the videogames sector is Japanese Sony. Their strategies are quite different, though. While Microsoft has chosen to bring its games to multiple platforms, Sony is focusing on developing blockbuster exclusives that can be played only on its PlayStation consoles, as is the case for top franchises like The Last of Us and God of War. PlayStation Plus, Sony’s subscription service, offers its users an online multiplayer functionality and a few free games every month.Microsoft seems to have understood the importance of exclusive content. In 2020, they bought ZeniMax Media, the company that owns well-known video game publisher Bethesda, for $7.5 billion in cash. That was the largest gaming acquisition in Microsoft’s history.