Many companies have tried to offer a Netflix-style instant streaming service for video games, but they all share the same problem: There’s a noticeable delay between pressing a button and having something happen on screen.
According to Brad Sams at Thurrott.com, Microsoft might have a solution: The company is reportedly developing a lightweight Xbox system for streaming games, but instead of relying entirely on cloud computing, Microsoft will add some extra computing power to the console itself, allowing it to detect things like collisions between on-screen objects without having to talk with a remote server first. Sams claims that this device will still cost “significantly less” than a typical game console.
Gamers still won’t have to depend on the cloud, as Microsoft is reportedly working on a more traditional console as well. Sams has previously reported that both systems could arrive in 2020, and are being developed under the codename “Scarlett.” The idea is to have Scarlett devices running the same games, whether they’re running on the more powerful console or streaming from remote servers. Microsoft has already confirmed that it’s working on a streaming service and new consoles but hasn’t provided any details.
Meanwhile, Microsoft already offers a Netflix-style gaming subscription service with Xbox Game Pass, which lets players download new Xbox exclusives and older games for $10 per month. Being able to play those games immediately, and on cheaper hardware, could be key to building out the service, and would gel with Microsoft’s increasing focus on subscriptions over standalone software sales.