After a normal day of browsing the internet, I came across this interesting article that hints Microsoft isn't going to let Valve, Nvidia, or their main competition Sony, have all the fun with game streaming.
Their approach differs from Sony's own Playstation Now, because it's not about streaming just previous gen games to their current console, but instead streaming old and current-gen offerings to the PC browser I'm typing on right now.
While this is still a rumor at this point, the notion is quite interesting. Microsoft's support of the PC has been shaky of course, but they've been more willing as the 360 generation went on to port their own published content to PC, and have since Windows 8 spoken of their desire to mesh their content across their different platforms.
It's also not so strange for Microsoft to leverage their extensive server network to do this, what with them throwing out the power of the cloud before any of the other major gaming players. Even more so when you consider they've reportedly had a research project named Outatime, using Doom 3 and Fable 3 across that Azure network for "seamless" gameplay experiences. Even hints games could be playable at 60fps have surfaced around this, which could be the potential to get better versions of existing Xbox titles.
I can already see some people saying this is Microsoft hurting their own Xbox platform, but I think the important view is to see it as an alternative vs. a replacement. After all, no matter how much these console makers are pushing digital and streaming as the future, retail remains their bread and butter because digital doesn't work for everybody. Input latency, artifacting, resolution compensation for bandwidth, etc. are legitimate reasons this technology has a way to go, so long as our ISPs delay putting down decent fiber lines for internet.
What is a key point to game streaming though, is that a console box isn't required for it to work. Any desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone running across different OSs that can at least process Netflix...will do the job if simply made available. Even Playstation Now could go outside the Sony hardware walls, and Valve's local streaming is ok going from Windows to Linux.
I can at the very least see streaming being part of our future with video games, even if it's not so cost effective once you get millions of people doing it. Who says we won't have some hybrid approach with local hardware, or simply a good means to play older console content that these newer x86 based machines can't natively run?
My first question to myself reading through all this was though: Is this how the PC will get to play the Halo: Master Chief Collection ?