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Throughout the history of gaming, companies have been trying to become the face of the industry. The console wars span multiple decades – Sega vs Nintendo, Xbox vs Playstation, and even console vs PC are just a few of the mainstream battles throughout time. But as gaming evolves and moves away from proprietary consoles, franchises, and gaming networks, it seems like Microsoft is leading the way – at least for now.
From hardware to software, Microsoft and Xbox are pushing the industry forward by making gaming more accessible than ever.
Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass is Xbox’s subscription-based gaming library which allows users to access over 100 different games from their console or PC. For $15 per month, you get access to the full library of games (with more being added regularly), plus an Xbox Network Gold subscription (usually $9.99 per month), plus EA Play which adds even more titles and discounts for future EA purchases.
This subscription makes it simple and affordable to not only get access to online services offered by Xbox Network, but also allows gamers to discover new titles without paying individually for them on each console individually. It also helps developers to monetize older games and increase popularity of franchises where they would not be able to by selling individual copies.
Xbox Cloud Gaming
Xbox Cloud Gaming, formerly called xCloud, is a streaming-based gaming service that Microsoft and Xbox are planning to offer in the near future. With it, gamers can stream titles directly to their devices without requiring the storage or hardware necessary to run it effectively. This means that lower-end PCs using the web app can experience the same high-quality experience of cutting-edge setups without the high barrier of entry. It also brings gaming to more mobile applications thanks to mobile support, so users can play even when they’re away from home.
Gaming is a big part of both recent history and modern culture. With Microsoft and Xbox’s efforts to bring gaming to improve accessibility for all budgets and situations, the community can continue to grow and millions more can enjoy the entertainment that games provide.
Why There May Not Be Another Next Gen Xbox
The latest generation of Xboxes were highly anticipated after 8+ years since their predecessor’s launch. In this time, hardware advanced exceptionally and improvements in processor power, storage, and video resolution capability made the Xbox Series X|S formidable machines. But, they may be the last in their line.
Why A New Console Doesn’t Make Sense
The criticism of PC gaming is often how quickly parts become inferior, making it expensive to maintain a high-end PC. Consoles don’t share this depreciation within their own console gaming industry, but they do in the gaming industry overall. As more games are tailored to PC gamers and developers work to ensure compliance with all the innovations in the market, it doesn’t take long for consoles to be underpowered for delivering the ideal gaming experience.
However, with the introduction of Xbox Cloud Gaming – a service that streams games to a browser or app that requires far fewer resources to run – the need for incremental upgrades for both PCs and consoles may diminish. With cloud gaming, older Xbox consoles would be able to “run” games at optimal performance by streaming them to the console. This would then only require the console to handle the display and user input which is far less resource intensive.
Plus, a company like Xbox can’t be too excited to create a whole new console once a decade at a loss. A recent report from the shows that Microsoft has never profited off of a console itself – most income comes from subscriptions and games. Both of these income sources remain even without the addition of a new console, giving even more reason to stay on current gen.
Windows 10X Development Stopped Before Release
Windows 10 is the most widely used operating system in the world. However, because it was designed primarily for standard PC usage, it is not the most versatile option for alternative orientations like dual or foldable screens. To combat this, Windows 10X was developed.
Windows 10X started as a Chromium-based operating system for dual-screen and foldable laptops. It was designed to work with touch screens and alternative display configurations, allowing the operating system to make the most of the advantages dual and foldable screens provided. The original release date was planned for Fall 2020, but in the midst of the COVID pandemic, Microsoft announced that it would instead change focus to single-screen computers that lacked sufficient hardware to make the most out of Windows 10. It was built to be lighter and more flexible, making use of the cloud to maximize the functionality at a lower resource requirement.
Now, the development of Windows 10X has been shelved entirely in favor of focusing more on Windows 10 and the upcoming Sun Valley update expected later this year. This update intends to make the operating system more user friendly, modern, and reliable for the over 1.3 million PCs using Windows 10. It may also be a step towards making Windows 10 more versatile, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see certain Windows 10X features make their way into Windows 10 in the future. Currently, rounded windows and new icons are just a few changes seen in Windows 10X previews that are also expected in the Sun Valley update.
As technology advances, there is certain to be a need for a variation of Windows 10 or a more versatile core operating system that works for all levels and types of PCs. But for now, it appears Microsoft’s flagship operating system will be the horse they back for the battle against Google’s Chromium operating system. Fortunately, they have a major head start at nearly 40 times the usage as of 2020.
Microsoft Expected to Release Cloud PC Service This Year
Do you find yourself looking for more performance from your desktop or laptop, or just want to keep all your files, programs, and data in a single desktop no matter where you go? Cloud computing may be for you.
While software clients accessing hardware is nothing new (web hosting and virtual machines are a few existing examples), Microsoft’s suspected Cloud PC service is looking to make it mainstream and more accessible to everyday consumers.
Previously referred to as “Project Deschutes”, Microsoft’s new subscription service that is expected to drop this summer will allow users to access a Windows 10 PC over the cloud using Azure. With a single login, users will be able to access their cloud desktop from any computer, tablet, or mobile phone through an app or web client.
Similar to Xbox’s “Cloud Gaming” program, one of the main purposes of this program is to offer improved hardware performance to those who need it without the need to buy new hardware. However, it can also help employees working from home to keep everything in one place even when not in the office and allow work networks to be managed online instead of locally.
Other benefits of the Cloud PC service include regular updates and compatibility to keep the desktops secure as well as allowing users of other operating systems access to Windows-specific programs or run 32-bit apps on Windows 10X devices.
The subscription is expected to vary in price depending on the resources required, but would be on a per-user basis. More details are expected during Microsoft Build 2021 from May 25th to May 27th.