March 16, 2018 // 11:05 a.m.
Microsoft has telegraphed plans to get into the cloud gaming market, saying people should be able to to enjoy the company's games 'no matter what device they're on.'
That Microsoft is interested in gaming applications for its cloud platform, Azure, should come as no surprise: The company as a whole has been on a cloud-first push since chief executive Satya Nadella led a major reorganisation in July last year, and recently expanded the Azure platform with the acquisition of cloud-backend gaming specialist PlayFab as part of a push to, in Nadella's words, 'pursue our extensive opportunity in a 100-plus-billion [dollar] gaming market'.
Backend technology is one thing, but a recent interview with Kareem Choudhry, head of the company's new cloud gaming arm, published in The Verge suggests that its ambitions go significantly further. 'We believe there is going to be 2 billion gamers in the world, and our goal is to reach every one of them,' Choudhry tells the site, explaining that Microsoft is actively looking to build a 'gaming subscription' service - a Netflix, effectively, for games content.
Where Microsoft's existing subscription platform, Xbox Game Pass, offers the ability to download and play a selection of titles as part of a paid subscription, Microsoft's vision is for more: 'We're looking at ways to make that content available to anyone no matter what device they're on,' Choudhry claims, suggesting that the same technology it recently introduced to stream Xbox One exclusive titles to Windows 10 devices around the home could be expanded into allowing games to be played even on rival gaming devices, all powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.
Microsoft has not yet committed to a release schedule for its expanded subscription service.