Valve's upcoming Steam Deck sees your entire Steam library in the palm of your hands. A dream come true for many gamers but there is a possibility, brought to light by Microsoft's Xbox head Phil Spencer, that Microsoft's xCloud may also be an option.
Was @valvesoftware this week talking w/ Scott, Erik, Gabe about Steam Deck. After having mine most of the week I can say it's a really nice device. Games with me on the go, screen size, controls all great. Playing Halo and Age feels good, xCloud works well. Congrats SD team. pic.twitter.com/q4hWBvkk85August 13, 2021
Microsoft's Own Xbox head Phil Spencer teased the news via a tweet, after a visit to Valve, and speaking to company luminaries Gabe Newell, Erik Johnson and Scott Lynch. In the tweet, Spencer talks of playing Halo and Age (of Empires) and then states that "xCloud works well" before congratulating the Steam Deck team. So has Spencer played those games on xCloud or Steam? For now this a mystery.
Microsoft's xCloud is a game stream service that offloads processing towards Microsoft's Xbox Series X server blades (the company finished the hardware upgrade from Xbox One S consoles back in July) - and then delivers it to your platform of choice. xCloud is currently available via the Xbox app on Android and PC, or via a browser solution - this browser solution was likely the one used to test the Steam Deck with, since it was designed to enable streaming to almost any device featuring a strong-enough internet connection.
While this isn't an official feature confirmation, the fact that xCloud has already been tested on the Steam Deck - and well enough at that, according to Phil Spencer - is a genie that can't be put back inside the proverbial bottle. Microsoft of course wants as many devices as possible to support their xCloud streaming, serving Microsoft's "Play Anywhere" vision - whilst at the same time enticing ever more users towards the Microsoft gaming ecosystem, whether via direct software purchases or via subscription of Microsoft's "Netflix of games" Game Pass Ultimate, which includes access to the xCloud service.
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Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.