Growth and evolution of Xbox Cloud Gaming

Our mission at Xbox is to bring joy and community to gaming by putting gamers at the center of everything we do. We want to empower everyone around the world to play the games they want, with the people they want, on the devices they already have. We call this Xbox Everywhere.

As we look to make gaming more accessible to even more people and reach three billion gamers worldwide, we’ve invested heavily in the cloud, both for gamers, so they can play the way they want. , and for creators, to engage new, larger audiences and build, run, and manage their games using best-in-class tools and cloud services. We built it in partnership with Azure, which reaches more people than any other cloud provider.

Since its launch in 2020, we have seen tremendous growth: So far, more than 10 million people around the world have streamed games through Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate..

Today we hit another key milestone as we expand our business model to make the cloud available to more people in more ways, going beyond Xbox Game Pass to offer our first free title. In association with Epic, Fortnite is available through Xbox Cloud Gaming so fans can play on an iOS device, Android phone or tablet, or Windows PC via web browser. This is just the beginning for us – we will learn, implement feedback, and over time look to bring even more free titles to players via the cloud.

Our continued growth and ability to enable new business models has been fueled by how we’ve evolved the cloud to be part of the Xbox ecosystem. We started with Android and only run Xbox One S servers in our data centers. Since then, Cloud Gaming has been upgraded to Custom Xbox Series X servers and launched on Windows PCs, Apple phones and tablets, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X, and we’ve even started unfolding it on steam deck. We’ve also seen the community load it on some unconventional devices via the browser, though it sounds like they were having a lot of fun. Total, players of all26 countrieshave played on over 6,000 types of devices, from various types of Android phones to a range of PCs and iPhones of all generations.

We have also enabled Cloud Gaming in more places, such as Mexico, Japan, Australia and Brazil. The player community has been phenomenal in all of these new countries, and Brazil in particular has exceeded our expectations. Adoption was so overwhelming in the first two weeks that fan demand outstripped our server capacity to the point that we had to move quickly to deploy more hardware to meet demand. The support we’ve seen in new countries, coupled with the availability of more games on more devices, has led to encouraging results. In the coming months, you should expect cloud gaming to become available in even more places; we can’t wait to share more.

None of this would be possible without great content. We are in the unique position of not only having a cloud of our own that can deliver games, but also a rich gaming history that includes expansive studios creating titles across all genres. Since its launch less than two years ago, we’ve worked with more than 125 developers to create more than 350 cloud-enabled Xbox Game Pass catalog games. We’ve also seen the power of the cloud as a discovery mechanism by reducing the time to simply try and play new games. On average, Xbox Game Pass players using the cloud discover and play nearly twice as many games as Xbox Game Pass members who don’t play in the cloud..

The way games are delivered to devices has also evolved: When we started, all of our games followed a lift-and-shift model to make it as easy as possible for studios to make games playable in the cloud. Without the need for any code changes, the games would simply run on our cloud platform. This has been a great way to build the catalog with hundreds of games, and many games work wonderfully this way.

We have evolved over time and we are also making it possible for games to be Cloud Aware; Simple developer changes can improve the entire experience. They can choose to add touch controls, either a basic overlay for fully custom controls like the ones you see with Hades, or optimize the font size based on the device it’s being streamed to. We launch cloud gaming with a cloud compatible game: Minecraft Dungeons with custom touch controls. There are now more than 150 cloud-enabled games that are touch-enabled.and we’ve found that games with touch controls lead to more engagement. On average, we see a twofold increase in gameplay for games that have touch controls, with 20% of Xbox Cloud Gaming users using touch exclusively.

Cloud-compatible titles also extend to more intensive games, making it possible to play Gen-9 titles on Xbox One via the cloud. A great example of this is Microsoft Flight Simulator. It became available through the cloud on March 1 and quickly became the most played cloud game on phones, tablets, PCs and consoles during the month of March. Players who would not otherwise have access to Gen-9 titles now have the opportunity to access the devices they own.

I will never forget the first time I played a console game on my cloud-powered mobile phone; it was simply a magical experience. That was many years ago as we have been on this cloud journey for some time together with a wonderful and engaged community of players and amazing content partners. Together, we believe we have a bright future ahead for all gamers and creators.