Following Google’s announcement of its Stadia cloud gaming service yesterday, the ball is back in Microsoft’s court. The company’s Project xCloud was announced last year, well ahead of Google, but one feels Stadia has arrived as a more fleshed out idea. Xbox chief Phil Spencer has responded to Stadia and says Microsoft will “go big” at E3 in June.
Stadia will be available on PCs, laptops, phones, tablets, and TVs regardless of hardware. As expected, the service will support 1080p at 60fps per second, but there are plans to scale to 4K 60fps HDR in the future. Google claims that Stadia’s users will be able to go from watching a YouTube video of a game to playing it in just five seconds.
“Google went big today and we have a couple of months until E3 when we will go big,” says Spencer.
In a memo published by Thurrott, Spencer said there were no big surprises regarding Stadia, while also dropping a small bomb that Microsoft has been on this path for a long time. That said Spencer says he was impressed by how deeply YouTube integrates with the service and the new Stadia Controller:
“Their announcement is validation of the path we embarked on two years ago.
“Today we saw a big tech competitor enter the gaming market, and frame the necessary ingredients for success as Content, Community and Cloud. There were no big surprises in their announcement although I was impressed by their leveraging of YouTube, the use of Google Assistant and the new WiFi controller.”
The Race is On
It seems that Google and Microsoft are entering a contest of one-upmanship that will only be decided by which company gets their service to market first. While Project xCloud was announced last year, Microsoft has been coy on details since.
As mentioned, Google went big yesterday by detailing the whole Stadia infrastructure. In other words, we now know what Stadia is and what it does, but still have plenty of questions about Project xCloud.
However, it is interesting to note that Google has still not put a release date or price on Stadia. Microsoft has admittedly not done those things for xCloud, but a major event at E3 could see the company detail the platform in full and tell us when it will launch.
Spencer certainly hints that could be the case in his full memo:
We just wrapped up watching the Google announcement of Stadia as team here at GDC. Their announcement is validation of the path we embarked on two years ago.
“Today we saw a big tech competitor enter the gaming market, and frame the necessary ingredients for success as Content, Community and Cloud. There were no big surprises in their announcement although I was impressed by their leveraging of YouTube, the use of Google Assistant and the new WiFi controller.
But I want get back to us, there has been really good work to get us to the position where we are poised to compete for 2 billion gamers across the planet. Google went big today and we have a couple of months until E3 when we will go big.
We have to stay agile and continue to build with our customer at the center. We have the content, community, cloud team and strategy, and as I’ve been saying for a while, it’s all about execution. This is even more true today.