Last month, Microsoft announced that it was working on DeLorean , a cloud gaming platform that "predicts" a gamer's next actions to reduce lag time. The platform had been tested on Fable III and Doom 3 , although it wasn't clear what Microsoft intended to do with the technology.
Microsoft, on the other hand, could turn nearly any modern Windows system into an Xbox 360 or Xbox One, which is an alarming prospect considering that there are roughly 200 million Windows 8 machines in use today. That growth potential should offset any concerns about its cloud gaming platform cannibalizing Xbox One sales.
A "cloudy" outlook for now
Although DeLorean and PS Now present intriguing ideas for the future of video games, Microsoft and Sony must overcome a number of hurdles to make cloud gaming a reality.
Since cloud-streamed games are basically interactive HD videos, they could consume around 2.3GB of data per hour, based on Netflix's streaming video estimates. This could make cloud gaming impractical over mobile and home connections due to data caps and throttling. Proposed changes to net neutrality laws could also turn the Internet into a metered utility, which could make cloud gaming much more expensive than simply buying a physical or digital copy of the game.
Pricing is already a major problem , and often doesn't make sense -- DrinkBox Studios' Guacamelee, for example, costs $15 for a digital download on the PS4 or a 90-day cloud-based rental. Sony stated that it plans to eventually launch flat-rate subscription plans, but the wide range of a la carte costs and time limits suggests the expenses of streaming full games can't simply be offset by flat monthly fees.
A Foolish final thought
Sony and Valve need to watch their backs, since Microsoft could leverage its dominance of the PC market and the Azure cloud platform to quickly launch a cloud gaming platform. If Microsoft actually launches Xbox games in Web browsers in the near future, it could turn the console and PC gaming markets upside down.
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The article Will Microsoft Stream Xbox Games to PC Web Browsers? originally appeared on Fool.com.
Leo Sun has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .
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