Microsoft targets Sony with cloud gaming service

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Microsoft will launch its Xbox cloud gaming service on Tuesday at a price of $ 1 for the first month of new users, in a major effort to attract casual gamers with the promise of cutting ties with the show and as competition with Sony s ‘intensifies.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, priced at $ 14.99 per month, will be able to play over 150 games via the cloud on Xbox consoles, Android devices, and PCs.

A subscriber won’t even need to buy a console to play the games, just an Android device and a supported controller.

The launch in 22 countries, including the United States and 19 European countries, marks a shift for Microsoft towards cloud gaming, which eliminates the need for bulky hardware but requires a fast internet connection. Newcomers include Google, which has struggled to build a fan base for its Stadia service.

“We built this experience to require as little bandwidth as possible,” said Kareem Choudhry, head of cloud gaming at Microsoft. “We also work with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) around the world to ensure a strong connection between gamers and our Azure data centers.” The Xbox Game Pass service has over 10 million members.

Industry-wide, cloud gaming revenue is expected to reach $ 4.8 billion by 2023, up from nearly $ 600 million this year, according to Guilherme Fernandes, an analyst at game analytics firm Newzoo. .

Xbox cloud service subscribers will be able to play blockbuster titles such as “Sea of ​​Thieves” and “Gears 5” for the monthly fee. The game library is considered essential for holders looking to keep their lead.

Analysts expect demand for immersive experiences, via better sound and graphics to drive console sales, with Microsoft and Sony launching next-gen devices this year.

Microsoft announced this week that the Xbox Series S will go on sale in November for $ 299.99, and the more powerful Xbox Series X will retail for $ 499.99. Sony 6758.T, widely regarded as the winner of the last-gen console battle, already offers cloud gaming through the PlayStation Now service, but it’s not available on mobile devices. Sony has yet to announce the price of its next-gen PlayStation 5 console.

Gaming is booming due to demand from users stranded at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft intends to provide users with many ways to play through the cloud service and consoles at different prices to give it an edge.

A constraint to the growth of cloud gaming is latency, or the delay between pushing a button and getting on-screen reaction, with the rollout of 5G telecommunications services expected to accelerate its adoption.

Microsoft’s service will not be available on Apple AAPL.O devices. Epic Games is currently engaged in a legal dispute with Apple over its commission fees, in a fight seen to have implications for the industry’s revenue models.

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