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Xbox Cloud Could Come to the PC

by Tim Tarbet

Just in case that someone wasn’t absolutely convinced of the superiority of the PC Master Race, there can be no question now.

Rumor has it that Microsoft is currently working on a streaming service that could not only stream Xbox, Xbox 360, and even Xbox One titles, but it would take care of all the heavy lifting as well, providing cutting edge graphics at 60 frames per second to any machine with a stable internet connection.

In a way, this is an extension of the same technology that Microsoft was pushing when it first announced the Xbox One, the ability to push ultra high quality graphics already pre rendered from Microsoft’s Cloud.

You just might not remember because of the overabundance of feet in their collective mouths from the other issues that the Xbox One had.

The idea was that Microsoft’s impressive server banks would do all of heavy lifting, like the particle effects, the physics calculations, and all the other graphically intense functions, then simply stream it to an individual device over the internet. In a recent report, this could essentially give an Xbox One up to three times the processing power that it would normally have. All you would have to have is a stable, high quality internet connection.

This seems like a smart move for Microsoft to make. Not only does it increase the computing capacity of each individual machine far beyond whatever their competitors can muster, but it means that the Xbox One will stay competitive for far longer as well. Tack that on to a whole other benefits like spying on their users collecting metadata, combating piracy, and possibly even building smaller, cheaper devices who’s only purpose is to access the Cloud, yet still act like a state of the art machine, and Microsoft blows its competition out of the water.

The only problem is that the Xbox One isn’t selling as well as they’d hoped, which means the have a whole lot of state of the art infrastructure just sitting around gathering dust. That’s a really expensive paperweight.

Of course, there’s no reason that the Microsoft Cloud absolutely has to be used for the Xbox One. There’s already a business version of the service, which promises faster, more secure service, with all the typical Microsoft applications already integrated, and it seems that they’re expanding their infrastructure to include gaming as well. Last year, in fact, Microsoft showed a fully playable version of Halo 4 running on a measly little smartphone.

That’s right, they had a state of the art game running on a smartphone.

Well, not quite state of the art, but you get the picture. It’s still pretty impressive.

There are those who question the validity of the rumor, and not without good reason.

Hayden Dingman from PC World says,

Why would Microsoft take Xbox One and Xbox 360 games and make them available on all PCs? I have absolutely no idea, and it’s the piece of this rumor that gives me the most pause. The Xbox One isn’t selling incredibly well, but it’s also not selling so poorly that a PC-based streaming system makes a ton of sense.

Dingman makes a fair point, but not as good a one as you might think. There’s no real indication that having a streaming service like this would actually detract from Xbox One sales. In fact, it opens up a whole new market that wouldn’t normally be able to afford the otherwise expensive console, and there will always be console fanboys around. Personally, I think they’re tapping into an entirely new market rather than dividing an existing one.

Regardless, Microsoft has yet to actually comment on the rumor, all this might be nothing more than wild speculation. We’ll keep you updated as the situation develops.

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