Microsoft announced, this Thursday (30), the official launch of Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) throughout Brazil. After nearly a year of testing in the country, the cloud gaming service will be available from 3:00 pm (GMT) today, at no additional cost, to all Game Pass Ultimate subscribers on Windows computers (via app and browser), Mac and Android and iOS devices (tablets and smartphones)
And to talk more details about the long-awaited news by players, the Voxel spoke with Catherine Gluckstein, vice president and head of production and strategy for Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Kareem Choudhry, who is corporate vice president of Cloud Gaming at Microsoft.
Choudhry starts by saying that subscribers will have “hundreds of games” available. He even explained about the Brazilian library. “In a simple way, we can say that it is the same as in the United States. However, there are legal issues in each country that end up making some games not available in one place or another”.
On another essential point, he explained that the service requires an internet connection of at least 10 megabits per second (10 Mbps). In addition, the executive commented that it will be possible to play even on 4G connection on cell phones and Wi-Fi (as long as it is 5 Ghz). Gluckstein added that if one uses services like streaming movies and series (like Netflix) without problems, the games will also run without difficulty.
In addition, players will not be required to have computers or state-of-the-art cell phones, as all game processing is carried out on Microsoft’s servers.
Democratization of Xbox Games
Microsoft executives told a little about how they worked to bring xCloud to Brazil. In addition to our country, Mexico, Japan and Australia are also receiving the Beta version of the service, totaling 26 nations whose players can access games directly from the cloud without having to download.
“We always work to put fans first. For that, we want it to play anywhere, which is exactly what xCloud makes possible. We’re always listening to feedback to build the best gaming ecosystem possible,” says Choudhry.
Gluckstein complemented his colleague’s speech saying that the service “democratizes people’s access to Xbox games” and that with the system it will be possible to start playing a game on the console and continue with the save playing on the cell phone or computer, for example.
The executive recalled that the preview of xCloud in Brazil started in November 2020 with Android and that since then Microsoft has been studying the performance of the system and the opinion of Brazilian consumers. In this sense, she says that the “passion of local fans” was essential to meet the demand.
“Consumers were very nice (in the preview phase). The engagement of Brazilians was incredible and we saw this movement as a way of attesting to the quality of that experience they were having”, he said.
Contrary to what one might imagine, Brazil’s poor network infrastructure was not the main challenge faced by Microsoft in bringing xCloud. In this case, the covid-19 pandemic was what made the process more difficult.
“We are all still at home and coordinating everything remotely was quite challenging. In Brazil, we have teams in São Paulo and Rio (de Janeiro) and during this period we were not able to make any kind of visit, it was all over the internet”, said Choudhry.
Gluckstein said that despite the brand having launched the preview at the end of last year, general studies (not only about Brazil) have been taking place for over 3 years. During this period, the teams were mapping the technical issues of infrastructure and looking for local partners. On this last point, Microsoft Azure (cloud computing platform) is one of the partners that help in running xCloud around here.
End of consoles?
Choudhry anticipated and answered one of the main questions about cloud gaming: according to him, consoles will not end. “Cloud gaming is an additive to consoles and is not going to replace the experience of playing a video game. It’s like videos, you can watch it on the big screen, on your computer, on your cell phone and they are all different experiences that complement each other”.
The representative of the US technology company also argued that the idea of playing in the cloud is to try to take the gaming experience of titles like Halo, Power e Psychonauts for other devices.
The vice president and head of Production and Strategy for Xbox Cloud Gaming mentioned that several games are being adapted to work natively with the touch of mobile phones, for example.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy video games anywhere. There are already more than 3 billion people playing something around the world. And with cloud gaming we offer a very immersive experience for fans”, concluded Gluckstein.