Microsoft Is Working on a Netflix for Video Games

March 16, 2018, 3:34 PM UTC

Microsoft has a plan for getting 2 billion gamers around the world to use its service.

In an interview with The Verge, a Microsoft Xbox team member said that the company is working on a service that would function in much the same way as a Netflix for video games. The service would offer users access to games from a variety of developers, including Microsoft, and stream those titles to the player’s device of choice, according to the interview.

“We’re looking at ways to make that content available to anyone no matter what device they’re on,” Microsoft gaming cloud division chief Kareem Choudhry said in the interview. He told the tech news site that there will eventually be “2 billion gamers in the world” and Microsoft’s goal “is to reach every one of them.”

Of course, it could prove difficult. The video game industry has long been a siloed market where games available on one console cannot be played elsewhere. Players, then, are forced to choose which console to play a game on. And those who want to play exclusive titles available only on specific hardware will need to buy each console to have access to any and all games.

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The cloud, however, presents a new opportunity. By storing games in the cloud, developers could technically stream their content to PCs, mobile devices, and consoles. And Microsoft, which operates its Azure cloud service, among several others, believes it can deliver the platform on which games are delivered.

Whether Nintendo and Sony will play ball, though, is unknown. Nintendo has only recently started delivering games to platforms beyond its own consoles, and in those cases, it’s only doing so on iPhones and Android devices. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have never expressed interest in bringing their exclusive games to other consoles.

Still, a streaming game service could be successful without Nintendo and Sony’s help. The majority of games, after all, are developed by third-party developers. Adding Microsoft’s games to the lineup could ensure a relatively well-rounded lineup of titles.

According to the report, Choudhry balked at providing a timeline for a possible game-streaming launch. But he did say that Microsoft is focused on the service and is “spending a lot of time thinking about that space.”

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