Including Xbox Cloud Gaming with Game Pass Ultimate, in my opinion, has paid off.
Microsoft has announced its fiscal year 2022 third-quarter earnings, which ended on March 31, 2022, and it looks bright for Xbox Cloud Gaming. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced to investors that the cloud streaming service has now been used by more than 10 million users across the world.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s communications lead Frank Shaw confirmed on Twitter: “With Xbox Cloud Gaming… over 10 million users have streamed games to far, and we expanded the service to four new countries.” The service will now be available in Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Mexico, according to Microsoft’s Tokyo Game Show 2021 webcast.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is now only available as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, thus you won’t be able to access it alone. Many users have reported that this hasn’t been an issue, and it also allows you to play Xbox Series X|S games on your Xbox One. It’s no surprise, given the circumstances, that Microsoft’s cloud service is gaining traction.
Microsoft’s success with Game Pass cannot be overstated. It’s commonly thought to be the reason behind Sony’s current PlayStation Plus makeover, having just reached 25 million subscribers. Starting next month, PlayStation Now will be merged into Plus, and those who subscribe to the top tier, PlayStation Plus Premium, will have access to cloud streaming.
More clouds in the sky
Cloud gaming isn’t a new concept, but it hasn’t always been a success. OnLive was an early attempt that failed to make money and faded into obscurity. Though it’s about to be incorporated into the future PlayStation Plus branding, PlayStation Now has been rather stable. Other recent initiatives, such as Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, haven’t exactly wowed the world.
So, how has Microsoft differed from the competition? Personally, I’d attribute it to two factors. Platforms are sold through software, and without attempting to sound like a salesperson, I’d say that Microsoft has Google, Amazon, and Sony beat on this front. The first is to allow players to choose how they want to play these games.
It’s a powerful sell to bundle it with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which gives customers access to over 350 cloud-based games including Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Sea of Thieves. Even more so when you consider that Microsoft makes its newest games available on the service as soon as they’re released, and that users may access cloud gaming through console, mobile, or internet. Touch controls are available in several of the mobile versions.
The second side is that this isn’t just for cloud-based applications. Sure, if you’re only interested in cloud-based gaming, that’ll be the most compelling feature, but that’ll only appeal to a small percentage of players. On PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S, many people still demand local download alternatives. You have access to the game library. Those who are interested can try out Xbox Cloud Gaming without committing to it. The decision to not offer this as a stand-alone product was, in my opinion, a wise one.