Microsoft plans to let Xbox console owners try out games before downloading them later this year. The new Xbox dashboard feature allows console players to stream games directly through Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) service. It’s part of an effort to integrate xCloud more into Xbox consoles and the Xbox app on Windows PCs.
“Later this year, we’ll be adding cloud gaming directly to the Xbox app on PCs and integrated into our console experience to ease all kinds of scenarios, like ‘try before you download,'” said Kareem Choudhry, chief of cloud gaming at Microsoft.
Microsoft isn’t describing all the ways xCloud will appear on Xbox consoles, but trying out games before downloading them certainly opens up opportunities for Xbox owners who want to know what a game is like before buying it.
Anyway, using xCloud to let Xbox players quickly jump into games before downloading will be especially useful on the first day of games launch. With games regularly exceeding 100GB, it often takes hours to download titles if you didn’t plan ahead and preload a game before launching.
In a briefing with members of the press ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox E3 event on Sunday, the company’s Xbox head Phil Spencer wanted to highlight Microsoft’s commitment to Xbox Game Pass and cloud gaming.
“So right now, we’re the only platform that ships games on console, PC, and cloud at the same time,” Spencer says. “Others bring console games to PC years later, causing people not only to buy their hardware in advance, but also charge them a second time to play on PC.”
Spencer is, of course, referring to Sony and its continued efforts to bring more PlayStation games to PC years after launch. Microsoft clearly prefers its proprietary approach to launch on multiple platforms simultaneously and be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one.
Speaking of Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is also committing to some form of a timeline for exclusive first-party content for the service. “In terms of the overall lineup, we want to release a new game every quarter… we know that a thriving entertainment service needs a consistent and exciting stream of new content,” explains Matt Booty, head of Xbox. Game Studios. “So our portfolio will continue to grow as our service grows.”
Microsoft is not yet providing an update on the growth of the Xbox Game Pass subscription. The service jumped to 18 million subscribers earlier this year, after growing steadily in 2020. Today’s announcements are part of wider Xbox and xCloud news, including server upgrades to xCloud and Microsoft’s plans for an Xbox TV app. and streaming sticks.