15/10/2021   Alex Reid
Microsoft brings Xbox Cloud Gaming to Central and South America

Microsoft continues to broaden the reach of Xbox Cloud Gaming

Subscribers to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are able to stream selected titles to mobile and PC devices through Xbox Cloud Gaming, with streaming to consoles expected in late 2021. This cloud service has recently been expanded into four new countries–Brazil and Mexico on the 30th September, and Australia and Japan on the 1st October–bringing the total number of countries where it is available up to 26.

Ampere’s data estimates that the number of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in these 26 countries in 2021 is over 14 million–a massive audience to provide this service to, especially considering that the price of this subscription has not increased since cloud gaming was added into the service. Fifteen countries where Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available do not yet have access to game streaming–representing 6% of the total subscriber numbers. 

Expanding into South America targets a growing audience of mobile gamers

The expansion into Brazil and Mexico is Xbox Cloud Gaming’s first reach into Central and South America, regions that are not expansively covered by content services, let alone those with cloud capabilities, despite being growing games markets. PlayStation Now–Sony’s download and streaming service–is not currently available in Central and South America. Plus, the Xbox brand enjoys significant popularity in these markets - comparable to that of the US–and is favoured far more than in Europe. 

Ampere’s latest wave of Games Consumer research indicates that 76% of gamers in Brazil and Mexico play on mobile devices, compared to 60% in the US, and so the ability to stream to mobiles may prove to be popular. In addition to this, gaming through the cloud does not require demanding or specialist hardware, making gaming much more accessible if the subscription price point is affordable. This is especially important with the high price of electronics in Brazil, where import taxes have pushed the price of new consoles to significantly above the US RRP. In combination with lower average wages in Brazil, an Xbox Series X/S or PlayStation 5 can cost multiple months’ worth of wages. This has contributed to the popularity of mobile gaming, as no new device purchases are required and games tend to be free or cheap.

The number of cloud-enabled games is steadily increasing and includes day one releases

Making up 48% of the total catalogue for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, around 300 games have the option to be streamed as well as downloaded. This includes titles that are launched day one into Game Pass, such as Twelve Minutes and MLB The Show 21, and 24 others that are less than a year old. In contrast, PlayStation Now has 850 titles available to stream, 84% of which are over 5 years old. This is largely due to PlayStation Now having an older catalogue, with cloud gaming providing access to older-generation titles that would otherwise not be compatible with the latest PlayStation consoles. Microsoft therefore appears to be positioning streaming as the future of accessible gaming, whereas Sony is currently providing it as a link to the past.

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