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Business Insider - Microsoft is playing a very patient game with the future of Xbox, and it should be the model for Apple Arcade and Google's Stadia

CyberPanda

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  • As the video game industry prepares for the next generation of hardware in 2020, a number of major tech companies are planning to carve out their own stake in the market.
  • Google and Apple have both announced new video game subscription services launching later this year, but their approaches are wildly different from what gamers are used to.
  • Microsoft's slow, patient strategy to incorporate cloud gaming, subscription services, and more exclusive titles into the Xbox ecosystem should serve as a model for other companies during this time of transition.
For decades the video game industry has relied on new hardware to promote growth in cycles. The release of new Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo consoles generate an unmatched excitement that has long defined how developers create and sell their games.

Microsoft and Sony have been slowly teasing the details of their next-generation consoles, with Microsoft confirming a holiday 2020 release date for the new Xbox.

But this time around, competing companies won't be waiting to see what the traditional gaming giants have in store. Google and Apple are both planning to launch their own video game subscription services this fall with two very different business models.

Apple Arcade will offer more than 100 games for a fixed price, and they'll work across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Apple reportedly spent more than $500 million to get Apple Arcade readyfor a fall launch. Several independent studios are slated to create exclusive games for Apple Arcade, but it's not clear how much the service will cost.

Google's Stadia is an ambitious new gaming platform that relies on a streaming cloud service. By streaming games directly to players from high-powered cloud computers, Stadia will remove the requirement for expensive consoles. Stadia will be exclusive to subscribers to its paid, premium offering when it launches in November, but the platform will eventually be free to use. Either way, gamers will need to buy games specifically for Stadia to play.

While Google and Apple have made major investments in their gaming initiatives, their approaches are a large departure from what gamers are used to. In contrast, Microsoft has slowly established its own subscription service and cloud gaming platform without compromising the core of its Xbox business.

Here's why Microsoft is ahead of the competition as the video game industry prepares for a new era of technology:

Microsoft has spent years building Xbox into a trusted gaming brand; Stadia and Apple Arcade will have to build their own reputations.

Gamers are a notably fickle breed of customers, with high expectations from the companies they trust. Microsoft pushed its way into the market with the original Xbox in 2001, but it took the better part of a decade for the brand to gain the sort of dedicated fandom that Nintendo and Sony's PlayStation have enjoyed since the 90s.
No other platform has been able to claim a major stake in the video game industry - the last 18 years have essentially been a three horse race between Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo, with PC gaming steadily gaining in popularity thanks to constantly-improving technology.


While Apple Arcade has promised to include more than 100 titles with a subscription, none of them are as recognizable as the hit games on Xbox Game Pass.

Apple has a fairly negative reputation among hardcore gamers because high quality games are rarely playable on Mac computers. Apple hired several independent video game studios to develop original titles for Apple Arcade but details on those releases have been scarce.

Apple Arcade will certainly expand the library of games available to people using iPhones, iPad, and Mac, but it's unclear how the new games will compare to the most popular games on Xbox and PlayStation.

Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription also offers more than 100 different games, many of which are former best-sellers. Microsoft has also started releasing its newest games on Game Pass the same day they hit stores, so players who want to play something like "Gears of War 5" only have to pay the $10 subscription fee to access the full game on release day.

Xbox's long list of exclusive games helps sell consoles. Meanwhile, every game confirmed for Stadia's launch will be available on another platform.

Stadia will have many of the same games as Xbox and PlayStation, but Google will have to convince gamers to start building a library for Stadia instead of more well-known platforms. While Google is responsible some of the most popular technology in the world, that credibility doesn't hold the same weight in the world of entertainment.
For years, competition between Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo has largely swayed based on exclusive content. Each platform has their own legendary franchises; Nintendo has "Super Mario," "Zelda" and "Pokémon;" Sony has "The Last of Us," "God of War," and now "Spider-Man;" Xbox has franchises like "Halo," "Gears of War," and "Forza Motorsport."
Every game confirmed for Stadia's November launch will be playable on another platform. Google has created an in-house game studio called Stadia Games and Entertainment to develop exclusive titles, but none of them will be ready for 2020.
Exclusive games play a major factor when it comes to investing in a platform, and Stadia won't have anything unique to offer when it launches.

Stadia relies entirely on the cloud to stream games to players. This means you'll need a constant internet connection, and plenty of data, to access your games.

The streaming technology powering Stadia is certainly impressive, but it also presents a major shift from the console-focused business model that players are used to.
Stadia wont require a $500 investment in the highest-end Xbox or PlayStation consoles to play popular games at the highest possible quality, but it will require a powerful internet connection. Streaming at 4K will require at least 35 Mbps download speed and consume about 15 gigabytes of data per hour.
While digital purchases are nothing new in the gaming industry, the idea of only being able to access your games with an internet connection is sure to push some gamers away from building a large library with Stadia.

Owning an Xbox will give players the choice to play their games offline at home, or to stream them using Project xCloud.

Microsoft will let players use their own Xbox as a cloud gaming device for free using Microsoft's streaming technology Project xCloud. What that means is, you'll be able to stream gameplay from an Xbox console to your own phone, PC, or tablet, no additional services required.
Though Microsoft has developed its own streaming technology called Project xCloud, which doesn't require the use of a console to act as a hub, the company has chosen to keep the Xbox at the core of its gaming platform.

People without an Xbox will also be able to subscribe to Project xCloud, though the price hasn't been confirmed. Project xCloud users will be able to access the massive Xbox Game Pass catalog and their own Xbox games without investing in a separate library of games.
Though Microsoft hasn't released Project xCloud to the public just yet, the service will also be able to stream games to phones and computers and is scheduled for a public beta later this summer.

Stadia, Apple Arcade and Project xCloud are all flexible services that will make it easier for people to access high quality games.

Increased accessibility is the greatest improvement offered by next-generation video game technology. Games on Apple Arcade, Stadia, and Project xCloud will be playable on phones, TVs and tablets, greatly reducing the barrier to entry for high-quality gaming.

The longterm success of cloud gaming services will be largely dependent on two questions - will casual gamers will be willing to try more games once they're easier to access? And can hardcore gamers trust a streaming service enough to give up on their consoles?

Microsoft is ahead of the curve as the video game industry prepares for its next phase, but there's more competition than ever.

With the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles expected to arrive during the 2020 holiday season, Stadia and Apple Arcade will have at least a year to find their audiences For now, Microsoft seems to have an ideal balance between forward looking technology, traditional hardware, exclusive games, and quality subscription services.

The video game industry is constantly evolving - the landscape has undergone major changes since the Xbox was first released in 2001 and Microsoft has done well to adapt and secure its place in the industry. Apple and Google will have to make major strides to compete with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, but there's no shortage of gamers looking forward to the next big thing.
 

Panajev2001a

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Not sure why these kind of articles keep pushing an unreleased service (Xcloud) hyping it beyond reason and completely forget to even name another service that launched several years ago and has an established presence and revenue coming in (PSNow)... more third party advertising in the guise of journalism...

Sure, I get the core of this is about incumbents vs Apple and Google services and the author chose to focus and push MS’s angle... expected a more balanced incumbents vs potential disruptive innovator angle.
 
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Kagey K

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Not sure why these kind of articles keep pushing an unreleased service (Xcloud) hyping it beyond reason and completely forget to even name another service that launched several years ago and has an established presence and revenue coming in (PSNow)... more third party advertising in the guise of journalism...

Sure, I get the core of this is about incumbents vs Apple and Google services and the author chose to focus and push MS’s angle... expected a more balanced incumbents vs potential disruptive innovator.
Because that service is limited to less devices now then it used to be. Had they grown it and extended it to more devices instead of less, they might be getting the same press.

They went a different route and now need to reinsert themselves into the conversation, which also means backtracking certain decisions.
 

ColdToffee

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Not sure why these kind of articles keep pushing an unreleased service (Xcloud) hyping it beyond reason and completely forget to even name another service that launched several years ago and has an established presence and revenue coming in (PSNow)... more third party advertising in the guise of journalism...

Sure, I get the core of this is about incumbents vs Apple and Google services and the author chose to focus and push MS’s angle... expected a more balanced incumbents vs potential disruptive innovator.
Because saying : "MS is going to do and expand on what Sony has already been doing for 5 years" doesn't get as many clicks.
Gaming media today is just about clicks and nothing else.
 

Kagey K

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Because saying : "MS is going to do and expand on what Sony has already been doing for 5 years" doesn't get as many clicks.
Gaming media today is just about clicks and nothing else.
Sony isn’t expanding on it, in fact they contracted on it and left it to die until basically last August when they introduced downloads.

They might have had it first this time, but they aren't going to have best or only going forward.

Why did they remove it from devices instead of expanding it?
 

xrnzaaas

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Microsoft defense force staying strong. ;) It's not a secret that Microsoft is way way behind Sony and Nintendo when it comes to releasing killer first party exclusives that help in selling more consoles. It's entirely up to them to improve that situation, if they'll release great exclusives people will buy their hardware to play them.
 

Kagey K

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Microsoft defense force staying strong. ;) It's not a secret that Microsoft is way way behind Sony and Nintendo when it comes to releasing killer first party exclusives that help in selling more consoles. It's entirely up to them to improve that situation, if they'll release great exclusives people will buy their hardware to play them.
Gears and Halo have sold nothing I guess.. Any likely will probably sell in the negatives on thier next games.

I hope MS finds a multimillion dollar maker game soon, they really need it. They might go bankrupt without one.
 
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xrnzaaas

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Gears and Halo have sold nothing I guess.. Any likely will probably sell in the negatives on thier next games.

I hope MS finds a multimillion dollar maker game soon, they really need it. They might go bankrupt without one.
They didn't sell nothing, but they're much weaker IP's than they were last gen or even compared to the beginning of this gen. Only Forza is staying strong (thanks to the Horizon series) and attracting new players to the Xbox.

Microsoft has been relying on those 3 IP's for years and years. I'm glad things may finally be changing, although they didn't show any potential system sellers yet at this year's E3.
 
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Kagey K

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They didn't sell nothing, but they're much weaker IP's than they were last gen or even compared to the beginning of this gen. Only Forza is staying strong (thanks to the Horizon series) and attracting new players to the Xbox.
In under 16 months they both go back to 0. So it’s time to start thinking about the future and stop talking about today.
 

xrnzaaas

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In under 16 months they both go back to 0. So it’s time to start thinking about the future and stop talking about today.
Thing is we have an article to comment in this thread and the statement I quoted about having a rich line-up (written in the present tense) is false.

On a personal note I hope Xbox delivers next-gen and that we're going to have great games from both companies competing with each other.
 

mejin

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since article is focused on MS x apple/google that is not doubt MS is in better position...almost 20 years in the market does make a difference. fuckin obvious.
 
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ANIMAL1975

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Because that service is limited to less devices now then it used to be. Had they grown it and extended it to more devices instead of less, they might be getting the same press.

They went a different route and now need to reinsert themselves into the conversation, which also means backtracking certain decisions.
Not sure what less devices are you referring to. If i remember correctly, it was always available for ps4 and pc, on the other hand REMOTE PLAY started with streaming from your ps4 to: Vita, playstation TV, Android TV and some Xperia phones. Since then Android TV support was dropped, but pc and lately IOS has been added.
But tbh don't know what any of this has to do with it. Here is this very thoughtful article praising Ms strategy has a model to all the other new coming streaming services,... and doesn't even mention psplus, a service that is already streaming for 5 years on the market, and from a direct Xbox competitor!?... at the same time, mentioning PS5 and Sony exclusives, something doesn't smell right.
 
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REDRZA MWS

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Microsoft defense force staying strong. ;) It's not a secret that Microsoft is way way behind Sony and Nintendo when it comes to releasing killer first party exclusives that help in selling more consoles. It's entirely up to them to improve that situation, if they'll release great exclusives people will buy their hardware to play them.
You are stuck in an outdated era of counting “units sold”, whereas MS and most companies are focusing on profit and bottom line. Once MS incorporated Windows 10 PC’s into the Xbox fold, they already have a larger install base than either Sony or Nintendo.

Then in PC and Xbox hardware they are selling services like Gold and Xbox game pass, soon Xcloud. All first party titles for Xbox are going to be on PC day 1, which means games like Halo infinite are going to have massive community numbers, considering cross play. Also, with “Play anywhere” you buy the game once and play it on either platform.

Lastly, they know they need more exclusives which is why they went out and acquired a ton of new studios and talent.
 

TimFL

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Not sure what less devices are you referring to. If i remember correctly, it was always available for ps4 and pc, on the other hand REMOTE PLAY started with streaming from your ps4 to: Vita, playstation TV, Android TV and some Xperia phones. Since then Android TV support was dropped, but pc and lately IOS has been added.
But tbh don't know what any of this has to do with it. Here is this very thoughtful article praising Ms strategy has a model to all the other new coming streaming services,... and doesn't even mention psplus, a service that is already streaming for 5 years on the market, and from a direct Xbox competitor!?... at the same time, mentioning PS5 and Sony exclusives, something doesn't smell right.
Ps Now was also available on a plethora of smart TVs and bluray players. They discontinued said support a few years ago and left it to die on PS4 and PC.


They‘ll, without a doubt, push it out on these devices again or MS is going to eat their lunch tenfold.
 
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ANIMAL1975

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Ps Now was also available on a plethora of smart TVs and bluray players. They discontinued said support a few years ago and left it to die on PS4 and PC.


They‘ll, without a doubt, push it out on these devices again or MS is going to eat their lunch tenfold.
Thanks, wasn't sure about that, only remembered being discontinued on Remote Play.
 

CeeJay

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The article is right, Microsoft are ahead of the curve having a considerable presence in all the possible ways to play games.

Hardware to play games natively?
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: Yes
Google: No
Apple: Yes
Nintendo: Yes

Play all your games library via streaming?
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: No
Google: Yes
Apple: No
Nintendo: No

Buy and play an extensive library of both AAA and indie games?
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: Yes
Google: Yes
Apple: No
Nintendo: No

An extensive amount of exclusive content?
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: Yes
Google: No
Apple: Yes
Nintendo: Yes

Curated extensive library to play via a subscription?
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: Yes
Google: No
Apple: Yes
Nintendo: No

Extensive 1st party studios
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: Yes
Google: No
Apple: No
Nintendo: Yes

Curated extensive library of exclusive and multiplatform third party AAA and indie content either downloaded natively or played on the go on any mobile device via both purchased and subscription models?
Microsoft: Yes
Sony: No
Google: No
Apple: No
Nintendo: No

Ok, the last one is a bit convoluted but it does illustrate just how well rounded Microsoft's offering is and how there is no other company that can offer the full breadth of options that Microsoft will be doing by the end of the year.
 

Pallas

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Good points, especially considering Google isn’t exactly the patient type. If they expect to find any success, Google and Apple both have to be patient and expect to not hit it out of the park right away.

Video game industry is a very hard field to squeeze into.
 

DanielsM

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Are you saying the article is being deceptive?
The whole thing is very suspect, meaning astro turfing itself isn't necessarily that the information is incorrect. Literally, you have articles about nonsense and than countless threads on all types of forums about nothing.

The amount of astroturfing seems to be inverted to the amount of sales over the last 6-9 months. Imo, most of this has the reverse effect.
 
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Pallas

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The whole thing is very suspect, meaning astro turfing itself isn't necessarily that the information is incorrect. Literally, you have articles about nonsense and than countless threads on all types of forums about nothing.

The amount of astroturfing seems to be inverted to the amount of sales over the last 6-9 months. Imo, most of this has the reverse effect.
You can’t call every positive article astroturfing though, the article makes some valid points. Even if some of those points are obvious to us, it might not be to others.
 
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CeeJay

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The whole thing is very suspect, meaning astro turfing itself isn't necessarily that the information is incorrect. Literally, you have articles about nonsense and than countless threads on all types of forums about nothing.

The amount of astroturfing seems to be inverted to the amount of sales over the last 6-9 months. Imo, most of this has the reverse effect.
But, the original article was on business insider and not even necessarily aimed at gamers at all so does that still qualify as astroturfing? Or are you calling OP an astroturfer?
 

llien

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Somebody at Microsoft: wouldn't it be cool if console games could not be re-sold?
Microsoft: New Xbox! Online ONLY!!!!! And slower than PS4.
Gamers: WTF?!?!
Sony:

Microsoft: ok, ok, the world isn't ready (yet)

Somebody at Microsoft: most PC gamers play on Windows, can't we sell games from Windows Store?
Valve Gabe (shits his pants)
Gabe: Steam machine IS COMING!!!
Gamers: ah!
Gabe: game controller that LOOKS LIKE AN OWL!
Gamers: oh!
Gabe: and steam box is kinda client to stream games from your windoze box!
Gamers: what?
Windows Store lauches and flukes
Gabe: phew (Valve kills "steam machine")

Microsoft: Xbox exclusive games!!!
Gamers: yeah!
Microsoft: but also runs on PC with Microsoft Windows on it!
Gamers: so a PC game then.
Sony: lol

Alphabet WeHaveTooMuchMoneySoWeNeedToWasteItOnSillyIdeas also known as Google: Stadia! Online ONLY!!!!! But you can stream it anywhere!
Gamers: hm.
Google: give us money upfront! And if you internet connection is on a limited traffic plan, we don't care, bazinga!
Gamers, hm
Google: And games will cost FULL PRICE!
Gamers, cough
Microsoft: Wait, ME TOOOO!!!! Our to be announced service will be very very cool, Stadia KILLER!
(a couple of years later)
Stadia joins myriad of other projects killed by google.
 
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SaucyJack

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Sony isn’t expanding on it, in fact they contracted on it and left it to die until basically last August when they introduced downloads.

They might have had it first this time, but they aren't going to have best or only going forward.

Why did they remove it from devices instead of expanding it?
No they didn’t. That’s an incredibly biased spin

They narrowed the number of supported devices (notably dropping smart TVs) so they could focus on the stability and performance of the service. Which has improved as a result. They’ve since expanded the service to include PS4 games and downloads. They’re continuing to expand the number of countries where it’s available.
 

DanielsM

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You can’t call every positive article astroturfing though, the article makes some valid points. Even if some of those points are obvious to us, it might not be to others.
Astroturfing and over-marketing go hand in hand in many cases. Valid points doesn't mean there has to be another yet article or thread or over hyping things that deserve no hype.

But, the original article was on business insider and not even necessarily aimed at gamers at all so does that still qualify as astroturfing? Or are you calling OP an astroturfer?
There seems to be concentration of articles/clickbait/threads that seem to be generated over the last 6-9 months or so and it usually leads back to one company, although the Google Stadia crap was getting pretty stupid there for a few months. Literally, if you look at this forum and look at the threads, one company is generally a good portion of the thread creations yet their sales suck almost as bad as PS Vita sales right now.
 

xool

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Microsoft's slow, patient strategy to incorporate cloud gaming, subscription services, and more exclusive titles into the Xbox ecosystem should serve as a model for other companies during this time of transition.
Wait - this is saying MS's slow approach to releasing first party games is a plus, and others should emulate it.

Holy shit that's some spin. Can I get paid to write this shit?
 

TimFL

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Somebody at Microsoft: wouldn't it be cool if console games could not be re-sold?
Microsoft: New Xbox! Online ONLY!!!!! And slower than PS4.
Gamers: WTF?!?!
Sony:

Microsoft: ok, ok, the world isn't ready (yet)

Somebody at Microsoft: most PC gamers play on Windows, can't we sell games from Windows Store?
Valve Gabe (shits his pants)
Gabe: Steam machine IS COMING!!!
Gamers: ah!
Gabe: game controller that LOOKS LIKE AN OWL!
Gamers: oh!
Gabe: and steam box is kinda client to stream games from your windoze box!
Gamers: what?
Windows Store lauches and flukes
Gabe: phew (Valve kills "steam machine")

Microsoft: Xbox exclusive games!!!
Gamers: yeah!
Microsoft: but also runs on PC with Microsoft Windows on it!
Gamers: so a PC game then.
Sony: lol

Alphabet WeHaveTooMuchMoneySoWeNeedToWasteItOnSillyIdeas also known as Google: Stadia! Online ONLY!!!!! But you can stream it anywhere!
Gamers: hm.
Google: give us money upfront! And if you internet connection is on a limited traffic plan, we don't care, bazinga!
Gamers, hm
Google: And games will cost FULL PRICE!
Gamers, cough
Microsoft: Wait, ME TOOOO!!!! Our to be announced service will be very very cool, Stadia KILLER!
(a couple of years later)
Stadia joins myriad of other projects killed by google.
Your Stadia section forgot a point where they ask you to pay a monthly sub to be able to stream your full-price games. At least for the first year of the service, then you can stream it for free at reduced quality.
 

Sycomunkee

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Somebody at Microsoft: wouldn't it be cool if console games could not be re-sold?
Microsoft: New Xbox! Online ONLY!!!!! And slower than PS4.
Gamers: WTF?!?!
Sony:

Microsoft: ok, ok, the world isn't ready (yet)

Somebody at Microsoft: most PC gamers play on Windows, can't we sell games from Windows Store?
Valve Gabe (shits his pants)
Gabe: Steam machine IS COMING!!!
Gamers: ah!
Gabe: game controller that LOOKS LIKE AN OWL!
Gamers: oh!
Gabe: and steam box is kinda client to stream games from your windoze box!
Gamers: what?
Windows Store lauches and flukes
Gabe: phew (Valve kills "steam machine")

Microsoft: Xbox exclusive games!!!
Gamers: yeah!
Microsoft: but also runs on PC with Microsoft Windows on it!
Gamers: so a PC game then.
Sony: lol

Alphabet WeHaveTooMuchMoneySoWeNeedToWasteItOnSillyIdeas also known as Google: Stadia! Online ONLY!!!!! But you can stream it anywhere!
Gamers: hm.
Google: give us money upfront! And if you internet connection is on a limited traffic plan, we don't care, bazinga!
Gamers, hm
Google: And games will cost FULL PRICE!
Gamers, cough
Microsoft: Wait, ME TOOOO!!!! Our to be announced service will be very very cool, Stadia KILLER!
(a couple of years later)
Stadia joins myriad of other projects killed by google.
To be fair at least with Microsoft's Cloud gaming platform allows you to play games you've bought digitally and if you buy them you can download them. Then, if they are Exclusive you can play them on Xbox, PC, and Stream them. To me, if I were into Cloud based gaming, that would be the Stadia Killer.
 
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Panajev2001a

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Because that service is limited to less devices now then it used to be. Had they grown it and extended it to more devices instead of less, they might be getting the same press.
This is disingenuous at best, with PS4 and PC alone you have a huge potential user base and right now they are THE incumbent with a successful business, experience, and with growth potential while this article completely ignores it even exists to essentially give an unknown not launched service free hype (might have a preorder Xcloud now link ;)).
 
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Panajev2001a

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To be fair at least with Microsoft's Cloud gaming platform allows you to play games you've bought digitally and if you buy them you can download them. Then, if they are Exclusive you can play them on Xbox, PC, and Stream them. To me, if I were into Cloud based gaming, that would be the Stadia Killer.
Microsoft Xcloud does not do anything for now as it does not exist as a finer product, it is not out yet ;). You can download games from PS Now too and if you pay for PS Now you do not need to pay an additional fee to play online (no need for PS+).
 
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CeeJay

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There seems to be concentration of articles/clickbait/threads that seem to be generated over the last 6-9 months or so and it usually leads back to one company, although the Google Stadia crap was getting pretty stupid there for a few months. Literally, if you look at this forum and look at the threads, one company is generally a good portion of the thread creations yet their sales suck almost as bad as PS Vita sales right now.
Pretty far from Vita numbers, I think the Xbox One is considerably more popular than you want to believe.

 
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DForce

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I also don't think Microsoft is playing the patient game, they're just playing catch up right now because they were not prepared to close out the final years of this generation.

They have a lot to prove next generation, and they're going to need more than xCloud and subscriptions services.