The gaming industry recently started to question Microsoft's plans for its Xbox label moving forward. Even with the upcoming launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, there have been hints of a shift in direction. While Sony appears to be focused on next-generation software and features, its rival promotes cross-generation gaming across its supported systems. Then there's the introduction of xCloud which is bundled with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox head Phil Spencer finally squashed rumours when he confirmed plans to produce more consoles in the future.

The past few months, Microsoft has been the subject of criticism from fans and gaming pundits alike. It seems the company is putting emphasis on cloud-based gaming and overall parity among all its platforms. This includes the PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One, which others actually see as beneficial. So far, services such as Sony's PlayStation Now, Google's Stadia, Xbox xCloud, and Amazon Luna are promoting a console-free alternative.

Over the years, there has been an increasing trend of gamers choosing digital copies over physical game discs. As internet speeds and quality continue to improve, game-streaming has become a more attractive option for consumers who want to enjoy the flexibility it brings to the table. With the exception of the Nintendo Switch, consoles are predominantly limited for home use, which is what cloud-based services hope to change.

In an interview with Yahoo! Finance, Spencer assured Xbox users that there are no plans to go all-digital in the future for now. There are still plans to develop and manufacture specialised gaming systems after the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. "In terms of future hardware, absolutely I think we're going to see more console hardware down the road," he said. "Just like in video, just like in music, it's not that streaming has cut off device innovation. I think we'll continue to see that, and that's absolutely what we're planning for."

Xbox Project xCloud announcement reveals supported accessories
Microsoft's latest update about Project xCloud reveals several third-party accessories that have been awarded the Designed for Xbox rating. Photo: Microsoft

Xbox Games Ultimate shows Microsoft's strategy to make gaming accessible on various devices. It might be a measured step to gradually ease people into the full adoption of game streaming services. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are slated to ship on Nov. 10, while the PS5 launches on Nov. 12 in select countries with a global release to follow on Nov. 19.