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Xbox head: Cloud gaming is inevitable but 'years and years' away from mainstream

"I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play," says Xbox head Phil Spencer. "And I mean years, like years and years."

"I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play. And I mean years, like years and years."

-Xbox’s Phil Spencer says cloud gaming is more likely to mimic Netflix’s 20-year rise than take hold overnight.

Cloud-based game platforms and services are in the works at several major game companies, Microsoft included. But, as Xbox head Phil Spencer tells GameSpot, it’ll be some time until the technology is fully embraced by the industry and players, and the box-free future envisioned by companies like Google is even further off.

He notes specifically that the rise of cloud-based services is inevitable, "but we have more compute devices around us than we've ever had, whether it's your phone, a Surface Hub, or an Xbox. The world where compute devices are gone and it's all coming from the cloud just isn't the world that we live in today."

His comments echo much of what’s been said before surrounding Xbox’s own plans for any cloud-based future. While other companies have led with the idea that cloud-based services aim to replace dedicated video game consoles, Xbox has been of the mind that the two platforms should complement each other.

“In xCloud, we are building a convenience capability to allow you to take your Xbox experience with you. Meaning, that's why we focus on the phone, and the experience is not the same as running the games on an Xbox One X,” Spencer tells GameSpot. “I'm not going to say that it's an 8k 120 hertz thing. That's not what we're doing. We're going to bring convenience and choice to you on your phone."

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