Microsoft has confirmed that it is looking to boost its Project xCloud game streaming service with exclusive games in the future.
The talks with partners involved in exclusive deals (both first and third party developers) are still “early,” and the platform owner doesn’t have “announcements to share” at the time being.
“In terms of [Project xCloud] exclusives, we’re in early talks with first – and third – parties, but we don’t have any announcements to share,” Kareem Choudhry, CVP at Project xCloud, told Stevivor. “New content and IP takes eighteen months to two years [to develop].”
At this stage of the xCloud development, Microsoft is only looking at making the platform work without any additional “charges” for the single developers, which means that studios will only have to agree with their games being played on the cloud and very little more.
“The first thing that we’re doing is… just lifting and shifting content that doesn’t require any development changes into the cloud,” Choudhry added. “So right away, we’ve got a platform that can run any of the 3000 games you can run on Xbox today.”
For xCloud, Microsoft has worked on an Xbox SDK that will let a game “know at runtime [if it is] being streamed or not,” and this will instantly translate into a UI that is specifically tailored for a device, like a smartphone, capable and selected for streaming games.
The topic of exclusivity for game streaming is an interesting one. It is related to select few titles being available in streaming only on specific platforms. It doesn’t mean that an Xbox game will only be playable on the cloud.
SIE CEO Jim Ryan has discussed it concerning GTA V coming to PlayStation Now, where he mentioned that Rockstar Games had achieved a “good deal” with Sony for letting their game join the PlayStation Now library.
When asked about exclusivity, he said that “to the best of my knowledge,” the open-world title would only stream on PlayStation Now. Still, it looked like Rockstar had yet to find and discuss with other streaming platform owners rather than having signed a deal explicitly addressing the matter.
So, should Microsoft reach exclusive deals with third-party developers for Project xCloud, it would be more like what Google Stadia has done with Tequila Works for Gylt.