Microsoft has confirmed its third quarter results for FY22, which ended March 31, 2022, and it looks promising for Xbox Cloud Gaming. Speaking to investors, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that the cloud streaming service is now used by more than 10 million people worldwide.
Speaking further, Microsoft communications manager Frank Shaw shared a short message on Twitterconfirming: “With Xbox Cloud Gaming…more than 10 million people have streamed games to date, and we’ve expanded the service to four new countries.” This expansion was announced during Microsoft’s Tokyo Game Show 2021 stream, rolling out the service to Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Mexico.
With Xbox Cloud Gaming…over 10 million people have streamed games to date, and we’ve expanded the service to four new countries.April 26, 2022
Right now, Xbox Cloud Gaming is bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which means you can’t access it separately. Obviously, this hasn’t been a problem for many gamers and it also lets you play Xbox Series X|S games through your Xbox One. All things considered, it’s no wonder Microsoft’s cloud service is gaining momentum.
The success of Game Pass cannot be underestimated for Microsoft. Having recently hit 25 million subscribers, it’s widely believed to be the reason for Sony’s recent PlayStation Plus revamp. Implementing a three-tier system that will merge PlayStation Now into Plus from next month, those who subscribe to the highest tier, PlayStation Plus Premium, will have access to cloud streaming.
More clouds in the sky
Cloud gaming isn’t new, although it hasn’t always been so successful. OnLive was an early attempt that never became profitable, quickly falling into obscurity. PlayStation Now was somewhat stable, although it’s about to be merged with the upcoming PlayStation Plus rebrand. Otherwise, more recent efforts like Google Stadia and Amazon Luna haven’t exactly set the world on fire.
So what did Microsoft do differently? Personally, I would attribute it to two things. Software sells platforms and – without trying to sound like a salesman here – that’s where I’d say Microsoft beat Google, Amazon and Sony. The first is to give players a choice of how they can access these games.
Bundling it with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives subscribers access to over 350 games that have cloud versions, including Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Sea of Thieves, that’s a good argument. Even more so when you remember that Microsoft puts its latest games on the service immediately after launch, and gamers can access cloud games on console, mobile, and via browser. Many mobile versions also have touch controls.
The other part is that it’s not just limited to the cloud. Of course, if you’re specifically looking for cloud-based gaming, that’s naturally going to be the main selling point, but that’s a minority of gamers. Many still want local download options on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. You get the game library and the curious can try Xbox Cloud Gaming without committing to it alone. For me, the decision not to offer this as a standalone product was a smart move.