FTC hearing uncovers Microsoft’s development of an independent Xbox Cloud Gaming platform

The ongoing U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hearings regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard have provided valuable insights into Microsoft’s gaming ambitions. In a recent revelation, it was unveiled that Microsoft had been working on a “dedicated xCloud SKU” last year.

According to a report by The Verge, the FTC hearing on June 22nd confirmed that Microsoft had plans to offer a version of Xbox Cloud Gaming, also known as xCloud, as a separate service from its premium Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Currently, xCloud is included in the Ultimate tier (which recently saw a price increase in Canada). However, it appears that Microsoft’s strategy has shifted since then.

This development may not come as a surprise to those who closely follow Microsoft’s endeavors in cloud gaming. The company had previously announced its work on dedicated xCloud hardware in 2021 and later made changes to the device in 2022. Xbox chief Phil Spencer even had the alleged game-streaming device on display on his shelf.

So, what caused Microsoft to change its course after making significant progress with dedicated cloud streaming hardware? The answer lies in factors such as popularity, finances, or both, according to Sarah Bond, Xbox’s head of creator experience.

“We’ve gained more insights into the success and popularity of xCloud. We’ve become clearer about the associated costs, and we’ve formed partnerships with other service providers,” Bond revealed during the FTC hearing.

Cloud gaming appears to be the focal point of the FTC hearing and other regulatory concerns surrounding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The Verge notes that Microsoft has been remarkably silent about xCloud in the past year. While financial considerations may play a role in Microsoft’s decision, it’s worth questioning if the company’s reluctance to discuss xCloud is driven by an attempt to avoid regulatory concerns regarding cloud gaming altogether.

Source: The Verge

 

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