In November, Microsoft announced the opening of Lift London, a UK-based development studio to build original games for mobile devices, spreading the Xbox brand even further. Recently clarifying Lift London’s mission, Microsoft VP Phil Harrison announced that the studio’s task is to develop games for the cloud itself.
“I wanted to create from scratch a 21st century studio. Not a studio that would make retail products; a studio that would make games for the cloud, putting together the most incredible talent ever seen in a start-up,” said Harrison in a London press conference. Harrison did clarify that Microsoft will continue to support retail stores, suggesting that physical discs will still be a major part of Microsoft’s business plan, but he did hint that Microsoft’s future lies in cloud-based services.
But what is this “cloud?”
Of course, Microsoft already has perfectly viable ways to distribute apps and other content over the internet, as does every other mobile platform developer on the market. But according to Studio Head Lee Schunemen, this isn’t exactly what Microsoft is talking about…
“We’re here to deliver entertainment as a service, when, where and how you want it. We are going beyond the box, onto tablets, mobile and TVs.” -Schuneman
If you take Schuneman literally, it sounds like he’s suggesting that Microsoft will stream games from the cloud, sort of like Netflix. Services like OnLive and Gaikai already stream games to devices by hosting the programs on servers that remotely render the images and content before pushing them to the users’ devices. Harrison formerly served on the advisory board of Gaikai last year before they were acquired by Sony, so everything lines up. Stay with us as the story develops!