At Gamescom this year, I was able to briefly speak to Mark Skwarski (Senior Product Marketing Manager) about Microsoft’s forthcoming platform strategy. And whilst Mark couldn’t go into detail about Project Scarlett, he did briefly speak to me about how it was Microsoft’s mission to offer choice – with the company believing that its forthcoming console would offer a good balance of raw power mixed with speed. But with Google recently announcing that it was entering the console game playing space with its Stadia console, it was also interesting to note that Microsoft is also preparing its very own cloud gaming platform. Codenamed Project xCloud, the company envisages it as being part of its continuing mission in offering players choice, with it being a complementary service to its Xbox One and forthcoming Project Scarlett. After all, “the future of gaming is a world where you are empowered to play the games you want, with the people you want, whenever you want, wherever you are, and on any device of your choosing“.
Even though Mark Skwarski couldn’t comment on how the xCloud gaming service would translate to mobiles, and whether gaming experiences would be similar irrespective of device, he was adamant that it was all part of the company’s continuing mission in offering players choice. But as part of this, I too wanted to determine as to whether streaming services would do away with consoles altogether, and whether the xCloud would be a prominent feature of Microsoft’s future console hardware strategy. And although I couldn’t spend a lot of time with Mark Skwarski, he did manage to answer a few (only a few) questions of mine. Enjoy!
The Stadia is coming out soon and is based on streaming services. Although Microsoft is looking to release a more powerful console, the company is also looking to use Project xCloud. Even though the XBox brand’s lineage is based on traditional hardware, do you think there will ever come a point when the cloud will ever take over the traditional role as played by hardware consoles?
I should clarify that we don’t currently see the xCloud as a replacement for consoles or Project Scarlett. We believe in providing different choices for different player types. Some players really love having a console in their living room, and really love a console experience. Some may enjoy streaming. Some may enjoy both. We really see game streaming as an additive to other existing gaming options that are out there. So we believe in player choice. Providing different options for players.
With regards to the notion of choice, you released the XBox One without a disk drive recently. Do you think we will be getting different iterations of the Scarlett in terms of it being a streaming platform, without a disk drive etc?
We don’t have any information in terms of specific SKUs for Project Scarlett. We will have more to share later on, so I can’t answer any more technical details on that.