Microsoft is working on console-free video games
Eva Deschamps / June 12, 2021
Microsoft said Thursday that it was working on software to allow fans of Xbox games to play directly on their Internet-connected TVs, without a console, another step towards the dematerialization of video games.
The American computer giant and the other heavyweights of the sector participate from Saturday in the annual video game show (E3 for Electronic Entertainment Expo), which will be held online because of the pandemic.
As a company, Microsoft is all about games, Satya Nadella, the group's boss, said in a statement.
Three billion consumers love to play for the entertainment, the community spirit, the creative aspect, as well as the pleasure of accomplishment. Our ambition is to accompany them wherever they play.
The video game market, boosted by the health crisis and lockdowns, has exploded in recent years thanks to mobile offerings as well as the advent of cloud-based services, such as Luna (Amazon) and Stadia (Google), where games are hosted on servers and not on a console or PC.
Players only need a controller, a screen and a good internet connection.
The Xbox team is working with TV manufacturers to integrate its software that will give access to games normally available on its consoles.
It also designs devices that will connect to any connected screen, with the same objective.
In the coming weeks, gamers will be able to purchase subscriptions to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft's streaming service, via the major web browsers (Chrome, Edge and Safari).
There's still a place for consoles and PCs, and frankly, there always will be. But with the cloud we're going to be able to provide a robust gaming experience to anyone connected to the Internet, said Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division.
Xbox Game Pass had 18 million subscribers worldwide at the end of last year, according to figures released by the group.
Spending on video games in the U.S. reached nearly $15 billion during the first quarter of 2021, up 30% from the same period last year, according to the NPD Group.