Game streaming will take years to become mainstream, says Xbox boss

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The streaming of video games will take many years to become mainstream or replace playing through a traditional console or PC, the head of Xbox has said.

Phil Spencer said he believed streaming games would eventually become as common as music or video streaming, but the technology is still in the “testing phase”.

Xbox is currently testing its own streaming platform – Project xCloud – which will allow users to play their console and PC games on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, while Google will launch its own Stadia streaming service on November 19.

Asked if Xbox is playing catch-up in the technology because it is still testing its service while Google prepares to launch its own this week, Mr Spencer told the BBC: “My view is that we’re all in the testing phase.

“We’re early in this technology and we view it will take many years before this technology becomes mainstream.

“The best place for you to play will be on your local device – your console, your Xbox, connected to your TV – and that’ll be true for many years.

“Same thing for a gaming PC. The local computer capability that you have, you’re not dealing with internet irregularities, you’re dealing with a dedicated device that was meant to go play those games connected to a display device that is probably the best display device in your house.”

Project xCloud is currently being publicly tested in the UK, US and South Korea, and Mr Spencer said the company would continue to listen to player feedback as it develops the platform further.

“We evolve our technology and experiences hand in hand with our customers – so they give us feedback on what’s working, what they’d like to see more of,” he said.

“So Project xCloud right now is out, we’re getting that feedback from thousands and thousands of players who are able to play games today.”

Mr Spencer added that he expects video game streaming to eventually become as popular as it is for other forms of entertainment.

“I think you’ve seen in other forms of media how streaming has given people the ability to stay connected to their music and their videos wherever they go, and the same thing, we believe, will happen with gaming over time,” he said.

Chris Price
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