Xbox unveils cloud-centric strategy: New hardware, servers, regional plans | Ars Technical

Cloud-Gaming_iPadSurfaceiPhone-800x450 Xbox unveils cloud-centric strategy: New hardware, servers, regional plans | Ars Technical

Enlarge / If you want to play Xbox Game Pass titles on a weaker device, you’ll need to sync to the subscription service’s cloud library—and Microsoft is bullish that people will do just that from here on out. (credit: Microsoft)

Ahead of Xbox’s next major game-reveal event, slated to air online this Sunday, the console-maker’s leadership team hosted an hour-long press briefing about how its business has been doing alongside hints of what to expect beyond specific games. Though the presentation was the kind of ham-fisted, Xbox-biased stuff you’d expect from an internal production, it still included a few compelling reveals and statements—and I’m saving you an hour of your life by breaking them out from the rest of the Xbox-and-pony show, now that the embargo has lifted.

Most of the event’s biggest announcements, unsurprisingly, revolve around the wildly successful Xbox Game Pass subscription service—and new ways to access its wealth of over 200 games, particularly via the Azure-powered cloud-gaming library (available as part of Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions). That’s assuming your bandwidth and monthly caps are up to snuff, at least.

Microsoft’s execs confirmed plans to roll out a smart TV app for Xbox cloud gaming, which will allow interested Game Pass subscribers to access Xbox’s cloud-hosted games using nothing more than their Internet connection and a compatible gamepad. The presentation didn’t confirm which “global TV manufacturers” will support the app or whether these efforts would lead to more streamlined ways to install the service’s TV-specific app on existing streaming sticks. (And we have no idea when those apps will roll out; MS didn’t offer even a vague estimate like “this year,” which means Google Stadia will likely beat Xbox on this TV-specific front.)

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