NUMB THUMBED gamers have just had a bit of bad news. That cloud-only version of Xbox that was rumoured to be in the works?
Yeah, that's not a thing.
Despite whispers that it was not only in design but actually on the verge of release have been scotched by Microsoft which is instead all-in on the forthcoming successor to the X-BoneS, currently codenamed Project Scarlett.
Speaking to Gamespot, Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Head of Gaming said: "We are not working on a streaming-only console right now… We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally."
In other words, Project xCloud, the company's planned cloud streaming service to rival the likes of Steam Link and Google's Project Stadia, is the priority and hardware tailored to it is not, though we can still expect a big push for Android and iOS clients to make up for the failure of Windows Mobile.
He points out that he had said that Microsoft was working on consoles, and a cloud service, but there was no reason to assume that the two were connected. A diskless version of the Xbox has shipped, but that's for locally stored, downloaded games not cloud shenanigans. Although, given that Spencer is admitting a slight fork-of-tongue, we'd point out that it's highly unlikely that xCloud wasn't available to Xbox users at a later date.
Plans for xCloud are now far advanced, with demonstrations being brandished by excitable Microsoft execs, ahead of a limited rollout later this year. The company will see how that goes before committing to a wider rollout. Scalability and all that.
Having said that, even Spencer isn't convinced it's going to be a big thing for a while: "I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play. And I mean years, like years and years." μ
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