Microsoft: Xbox 360 will be an “active participant” with cloud services

By Stephany Nunneley
13 January 2010 15:19 GMT


Microsoft’s Neil Thompson has weighed-in on cloud-based entertainment services, saying Xbox 360 will be “in the mix and active participants” should the industry become all things streaming.

That said, he believes Xbox 360 will remain a “vibrant platform” for years to come.

Innovations such as Project Natal join a list of software updates on 360 which Thompson said proves the system can continue to compete.

“I certainly think these innovations change the console that you originally bought into a new console to an extent,” Xbox UK’s Neil Thompson told The Independent. “They enable consoles to go on longer and ensure that the Xbox 360 is a vibrant platform for many years to come.”

OnLive, which is set to launch by February, will come with its own Micro Console and the service has industry backers like EA, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. on side

The set used to stream services is relatively inexpensive. It also works on mobile devices.

David Perry’s Gaiaki service is also slated for Q1 2010, and public interest in the service is high, with 20,000 people signed up for the closed beta.

With such services imminent, offering consumers to opt-out of purchasing expensive boxes and dealing with firmware updates, the one issue concerning folks is latency.

With both Gaikai and OnLive stating that such issues have been taken care of, Microsoft is not so sure the mountain has been conquered.

“There’s limited technology to allow certain game types to be streamed,” said Thompson. “There are lots of ‘snacking’ games online on our own Xbox Live Arcade today – and I think that area will grow in time. But there’s a way to go for a full capacity game to be streamed and for that experience to be as rich [as it is on disc] today.

“It will probably happen. But it’s not as close as lot of people would have you believe.”

Neither Microsoft nor Sony should be counted out should cloud-services become the norm. The latter even secured the trademark for “PS Cloud” in March 2009, and Thompson said that a future Xbox update could feature the service.

“Whatever happens in the future, we’ll be in the mix and active participants,” he said.

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