Update: A Microsoft spokesperson reached out with a clarifying statement on the possibility of exclusive games for Project xCloud. While the statement doesn't rule out the possibility of them coming some day, it makes it clear that no xCloud exclusive games are in the works right now.
“We’re very early in the multi-year journey for Project xCloud, which is currently in public preview," the spokesperson said. "We are investigating a variety of new capabilities made possible by the cloud. However, we remain committed to an approach with game streaming that is complementary to console and have no plans for cloud-exclusive content at this time.”
Original story: Xbox is preparing to make some games exclusively for its Project xCloud streaming service, but we'll probably need to wait a while before we hear more about them. The company's previous announcements positioned xCloud as a bridge to let people play their existing Xbox games anywhere, rather than a gaming destination as its own. However, xCloud head Kareem Choudhry revealed in an interview at X019 that Microsoft plans to expand its scope.
“In terms of [Project xCloud] exclusives, we’re in early talks with first- and third- parties, but we don’t have any announcements to share,” Choudhry said, as reported by Stevivor (opens in new tab). “New content and IP takes eighteen months to two years [to develop].”
In this case, first parties would likely mean the many developers under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, which opens up the possibility for all kinds of studios to create games for the service. If Microsoft ever plans to put xCloud forward as its own gaming solution, that could do a lot to set it apart from services like Google Stadia (opens in new tab) - which is also working on its own first-party games (opens in new tab), but is building its internal studios from the ground up at the same time.
Choudhry made sure to reiterate that the first priority for xCloud is "just lifting and shifting content that doesn’t require any development changes into the cloud," letting it run any given Xbox game. Changes on the development end will allow games to tell if they're being run on the cloud or on a local device, which could let them optimize themselves by changing their font size, networking code, or other considerations.
Though Microsoft is giving the new Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) hardware most of the spotlight, it's become clear that you'll want to keep a close eye on xCloud too - if at first only for the novelty of officially playing Xbox games with a DualShock 4 controller (opens in new tab).
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