What Microsoft’s Project xCloud partnership with Samsung really means
Source: Windows Central
Microsoft and Samsung took to the stage at Samsung Unpacked recently to describe how Project xCloud game streaming will gain additional benefits on Samsung Galaxy phones.
With Apple blocking Project xCloud on its iOS devices, Android is now the defacto best platform for Xbox fans, with game streaming set to launch as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on September 13, 2020. It truly sucks if you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, but Apple’s policies block cloud gaming platforms on its store. It’s to prevent competition from its own game sales as part of its widespread anti-competitive behavior (that it’s currently being investigated for).
In any case, those of us on Android can rest easy that Xbox Game Pass game streaming will be supported. But those of us with Samsung Galaxy devices are getting some additional benefits. Let’s explore what they are, and how the partnership is going to help Xbox reach that tens of millions of new customers.
Marketing, or more?
Announced on stage, Samsung revealed that Your Phone will now let you stream apps from Galaxy phones, and even let you pin them as windows on a PC. There’s no word on whether this functionality is exclusive to Galaxy devices at this time. Still, we expect it will eventually roll out to other phones, including Microsoft’s own Surface Duo.
Source: Windows Central
One of the issues Microsoft has with Project xCloud is navigating the various store policies of competing platforms. Apple outright blocks other ecosystems from operating within its own. Google has some rules about what handsets can do with Android to still gain access to its Google Play services. Google is also in a monopolistic position, owning the vast majority of the global handset market share, which limits their ability to restrict competitors operating on Android, lest they risk sanctions and anti-trust fines.
Source: Andrew Martonik / Windows Central
What does all of this mean for Xbox, though? And doesn’t restricting itself to app store exclusivity contradict its goal to get Xbox Game Pass everywhere? Not exactly.
Expanding globally, carefully
To align Xbox with Galaxy smartphones is a smart play with no downsides.
Microsoft has already described previously how Asian markets have responded strongly to Project xCloud in testing, making Korean powerhouse Samsung a natural fit to expand in those regional markets. It could be that Xbox Game Pass streaming finds its core audience outside of the West, where traditional console gaming has generally become fairly weak.
This is a potential win-win scenario for Western Xbox gamers since any potential subscription boom will help subsidize console hardware in Western markets, which will undoubtedly remain popular (I actually heard recently that the successor for the Xbox Series X is already being explored).
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Microsoft will drop Xbox Live Gold multiplayer paywall subscriptions as a way to differentiate itself from PlayStation in the ever-evolving console war. The firm recently came out and said that it has no plans to change how Xbox Live Gold functions, but that doesn’t mean the future is set in stone.
I firmly believe that when Xbox Game Pass reaches a critical mass, it will make Xbox Live Gold obsolete. Expansion across mobile devices to new users who don’t even own console hardware is a sure-fire way to help this process expedite. Samsung is a massive player in the mobile space, setting standards that others follow. To align Xbox with Galaxy smartphones is a smart play with no downsides.
Another step in a long road
Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central
Microsoft is well-placed to grow with this market, and the partnership with Samsung will not only help Xbox find new customers in markets that don’t resonate with consoles anymore, but it’ll help subsidize the depreciation of Xbox Live Gold as an outdated concept.
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