Phil Spencer is having a big day on the headline horizon. Gamespot just published a long-form hagiography on the man, the myth, the Xbox frontman. The exclusive feature covers everything from how much fans adore him and his strategy to forge the future of Xbox. Let’s not forget that he’s the one responsible for major positive changes in the PC gaming front, which he committed to right before E3 2019. However, in another, shorter exclusive interview with Gamespot, he made the following controversial statement on cloud gaming:
I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play. And I mean years, like years and years.
Phil Spencer’s thought experiment
Spencer gave a strong example to back up his assertion: Netflix. He pointed out that the company that invented the video-on-demand streaming service is already 20 years old. However, Netflix only started offering that service in 2007. You could say it took about five to ten years for Netflix to achieve the global popularity it has today, with major corporations now competing with their own services. Spencer does admit that cloud gaming will get there faster than 20 years, but it’s also not going to be an immediate change. This is a paradigm shift, which doesn’t happen overnight, even if we might come to perceive it as such.
It’s a shrewd and well thought out statement from the Microsoft veteran who’s definitely playing the long game with cloud technology. Pretty much all hands-on impressions of Google Stadia had something to say about the latency issues they experienced. And even if the next generation of consoles will be quite different, they won’t go full-on cloud just yet. We are still in the transition stage, where some gamers might adopt cloud gaming in 2020, but the vast majority of the global gaming population — and especially the PC gaming population — will stick with our good old hardware.
What do you think of Phil Spencer’s statement? Is he underestimating the power of cloud gaming? Leave your comments below and tell us what you think!