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Microsoft Will Stream Xbox 360 Games to PC (Report)

Sony's PlayStation Now can stream last-gen games to current-gen consoles, so it was only a matter of time until Microsoft tried something similar. Right now, the Xbox manufacturer may be hard at work on a cloud technology that will stream Xbox 360 games right into Internet browsers, letting users play them on PCs.

Information comes from Neowin, a tech news site with a focus on Microsoft products. The site claims that sources inside Microsoft contacted it to explain this new technology, which builds on a theoretical cloud-based gaming service Microsoft discussed a few weeks ago. Streaming Xbox 360 games may stay in the Microsoft labs, but it stands an equally good chance of making it to the consumer market.

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The game-streaming service would work in a similar fashion to something like OnLive or PlayStation Now. Microsoft servers render the bulk of gameplay data, then stream the game with as little lag as possible to users' screens. In theory, this technology will work with any browser, not just Internet Explorer — and users could even stream Xbox 360 games to Xbox Ones or PS4s.

At present, it's probably best to take this information with a grain of salt, as the information comes only from one unnamed source at one Microsoft-centric news site. However, the idea that Microsoft would want to compete with PlayStation Now is entirely reasonable, and targeting Internet browsers rather than exclusive hardware (such as Sony TVs and game consoles) could give Microsoft's service a competitive edge.

If Microsoft chooses to pursue the project for the consumer market, expect to hear more about it in the relatively near future. If not, we hope you've hung onto your Xbox 360, because right now there's no other way to play that system's games.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • memadmax
    Yay for the streaming...
    Boo for it being on a browser...

    This is one of those things that screams for a dedicated client...
    If they can pull it off right... Streaming games has been a dud so far...
  • erickmendes
    Can anyone say Destiny on PC? Buahahahaha (evil laugh)
    ps.: Ok, it's not natively on PC, but to the hell with your gamepads MS, full throttle on my razer keyboard/mice mighty duo. Anyway, that will somehow blurry the platform exclusivity gardenwall they make us swallow.
  • Avus
    PC gamers will not care because:
    1) PC gamers will buy PC version game if the game is available on multiplatform
    2) there aren't many console exclusive game that PC gamer want to play

    I rather MS concentrate on improve DirectX 12 or having a faster DX developmental if they are really care about PC gaming on their "own OS" instead of shoveling more "console stuff" into PC gaming.
  • knowom
    Just what I always wanted and hoped for on my PC to "stream" inferior quality graphics because the degraded graphics weren't sexy enough the lag was the icing on the cake bravo Microsoft.
  • FinalDrive
    If it maintains good speed like steam's in home streaming, but over the internet I am intrigued. I would like to have my 360 library playable on my PC, but would prefer a more direct route than streaming. If this will allow them to offer full backwards compatibility of the 360 lineup on the One though, I don't see how this could be a bad thing.
  • fonzy
    Shouldn't it be the other way around? Even an average gaming PC is more powerful than the XBone.
  • 10tacle
    PC gamers will not care because:
    1) PC gamers will buy PC version game if the game is available on multiplatform
    2) there aren't many console exclusive game that PC gamer want to play

    Exactly. On regular basis, both Steam and Origin offer killer deals, dang near giveaways for older games. Just a couple of weeks ago for example Steam had all the Bioshock games on sale in a bundle for $10, and each one individually for $3.99.

    And for those of we PC gamers who run QHD resolution monitors, it would be entirely pointless to stream a game from a console (although I do plug my PS3 and PS4 into my 27" Dell U2713HM because it does look better than on my 1080p big screen due to pixel density).
  • ubercake
    Since the graphics still seem to be the same on the "next-gen" consoles as the best graphics on the last-gen consoles, why not go with the cheaper last-gen entertainment? Streaming PS3 to PS4 or Xbox 360 to any console makes sense. This way, you can pick up a game for $5 out of the bargain bin if you play mainly console games.

    I swear, the graphics in the Madden football series haven't gotten better in the last 6 or 7 years. EA has an exclusive with the NFL, so there is nothing they need to do to make the game better year to year (before this 2K was actually more realistic and these football games would actually get better year after year). All they do is drop a few features one year then add them back the next with the graphics stuck in time and call it a new game. Just one example.

    There is no next gen console game that looks better than a mid-level gaming PC built 2009 (i7-920 ish and GTX 470 ish) or newer.

    The one thing about the Xbox One that is impressive is its ability to run silently. The Xbox One makes no noise at all. When gaming, you have to stick your head a foot away from it to even hear fan noise. So the fan noise (or lack thereof) is not even a factor no matter the size of the room with this console.

    Other than that, the games on both consoles look and feel rather unimpressive compared to a half-way decent gaming PC from half a decade ago or compared to the best PS3 or 360 games.
  • Haravikk
    I'd still rather they release the Master Chief Collection for PC now that it's all been ported to x86; so long as they make sure to support split-screen co-op for PCs (or PC-based consoles) with multiple controllers.
  • 10hellfire01
    Of course they still do what no one wants. I know the vast majority of us want ports, not streamed games (I can't imagine a streamed game on MP). Probably something else I'll ultimately pass over...unfortunately.