The technology and entertainment giants like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon are in a race to become the Netflix of gaming, as is clear from the latest trends! The era of cloud based and digital only gaming consoles is not far. Microsoft has taken a lead with the unveiling of the much talked about Xbox S1. These will be aimed at the generation that has not been used to using optical media. The target users are young teens who have experienced using cloud based high speed internet services at an early age.
The Microsoft Xbox S1 costs $249 and it is actually more wallet friendly than other Xbox one siblings. The disc free console has pre installed popular games like Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves and Minecraft. It has a 1 TB HDD. The users get access to discounted subscription for Xbox Game Pass. This is basically a library of over 100 game titles for a monthly subscription.
As of now, the consumers are focusing more on consuming video on demand content and music. However, in the near future when more such cloud based consoles are launched, gaming sector will get more attention. The publisher margin for streaming gaming content is on the lower side though.
Microsoft is also now tweaking its much touted xCloud game streaming service. This is aimed at streaming digital games to a multitude of devices and computers. This will be similar to the cloud gaming services that are offered by rivals like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Verizon. So, it is fair to say the days of disc or local storage based consoles are going to be over. However, some hybrid devices will be launched too.
Jeff Gattis of Microsoft indicated at the Xbox S1 launch, the disc-less model has not been launched to replace the existing disc-based models from its stable. It is aimed at catering to a niche segment of the customers. The future of gaming consoles will also be driven by the choices of customers to an extent.
The industry trends indicate a growing digital game download trend by the consumers. The physical unit sales can fall to 61% from 655. Physical game copy sales may touch 100 million in 2023. However, digital sales will also bring in a majority of revenue for Xbox game content in the near future. Markets like the UK will be fast to adopt digital content, say the market analysts.
As a matter of fact, how movies, music and games get created, sold and distributed keeps changing over the years. The same thing is applicable for gaming consoles and services. The Xbox S1 is among the first generation streaming gaming content devices and with time more will appear on the horizon.