The tech giant is developing a streaming service that will allow users to play free-to-play games.
Over 10 million people have streamed games through Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service since it debuted two years ago. That number is likely to rise a bit as a result of a collaboration Microsoft struck with Epic Games to provide Fortnite, Epic Games’ blockbuster game, for free via Xbox Cloud Gaming. The initiative will effectively enable consumers to play Fortnite in the same way they would stream films from companies like Netflix, regardless of their gaming system’s capabilities.
The software giant has clarified that this agreement is valid for anybody wanting to play, whether or not they have a subscription. Gamers will be able to play on an iPhone or iPad running Google’s Android operating system, as well as any device powered by Google’s Android software, despite the fact that both Apple and Google have banned Fortnite from their respective app markets due to an ongoing legal quarrel.
“This is just the start for us — we’ll learn, implement feedback, and hope to bring even more free-to-play games to players through the cloud as time goes on,” Microsoft stated in a release. In addition to Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and the United States, the service will be accessible for no cost in 26 countries.
Microsoft’s attempt to give Fortnite for free through its Xbox Cloud Gaming service comes on the heels of game streaming technology still being in its early stages. Streaming technology has long promised to revolutionize the video gaming industry by providing individuals a means to play visually sophisticated games without requiring a powerful computer or strong mobile device. However, as businesses ranging from start-ups to giants like Google have found, delivering quality and finding sustainable business models has been an uphill struggle.
The YouTube Gaming console, at least as far as Microsoft is concerned, has a lot of potential. The Xbox team believes that game streaming will be a key way for people to play games, but it has tempered expectations for how quickly it’ll catch on. Google, Amazon and Netflix, among other firms, have invested in the technology in order to compete with industry giants such as Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.
Nvidia has joined the battle as well, with its GeForce Now subscription service allowing gamers to stream video games. The firm said it would offer Fortnite with touch controls through its service earlier this year, although it is still in testing.
Microsoft said it would add more games to its new “free-to-play” streaming service, particularly for mobile devices. According to Microsoft, current Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers have access to more than 150 streaming games that operate with touchscreen mobile devices. So far, 20% of Xbox Gaming users use touch exclusively to play.