Microsoft said Thursday it was working on software to allow people to play Xbox video games on Internet-connected TVs without the need for consoles. The news has come as Microsoft and other heavyweights in the video game industry prepare to show off the upcoming titles at an annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) which runs virtually from Saturday due to the pandemic.
“As a company, Microsoft is betting on games,” CEO Satya Nadella said as he outlined the plan. “Three billion consumers turn to gaming for entertainment, community, creation, and a real sense of accomplishment, and our ambition is to empower everyone, wherever they play.”
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Microsoft has played on the strength of its Xbox unit by competing with the Luna and Stadia cloud gaming services managed, respectively, by Amazon and Google. The Xbox team is working with TV makers to integrate software that will allow video games typically enjoyed on its consoles to be played directly from the cloud, requiring only handheld controllers, according to Microsoft.
The US tech giant has also announced that it is building devices that will plug into any TV screen or computer monitor to stream the Xbox game without any consoles. In the coming weeks, cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions will be possible through Chrome, Edge and Safari web browsers, according to Microsoft.
“There is always a place for consoles and PCs and frankly there always will be, but thanks to the cloud we will be able to provide a robust gaming experience for anyone connected to the Internet,” said Phil Spencer, Head of the Xbox unit. “And with the cloud, gamers can fully participate in the same Xbox experience as people on local hardware.
Xbox Game Pass had some 18 million subscribers worldwide at the end of last year, according to figures released by Nadella. Video games have increased during the pandemic, as people turn to the internet for entertainment more than ever. Overall consumer spending on video games in the United States totaled just under $ 15 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 30% from the same period in 2020, according to the tracker of the. NPD Group industry.
Microsoft will release a showcase of Xbox and Bethesda games on Sunday, featuring games from its studios around the world.