That streaming services will play some kind of role in the next generation of video games is already a given. The industry's biggest players have made that decision and stepped up the enormous investment in technology and infrastructure required to make it into a reality. Sony's PlayStation Now has been slowly evolving in the background with fairly little fanfare; now Microsoft's xCloud has taken an important step forward with a live demo, supposedly a lead-in to public trials later this year.
The other shoe whose dropping many pundits are eagerly anticipating belongs to Google, and that will hit the floor at GDC next week. The company has hinted at a gaming announcement more significant than anything it's done in the space so far -- hardware may be on the table but it's widely expected that a streaming service will be the main dish, with anything physical being in the form of controllers or streaming boxes to support the service. As the notion of a "Netflix for Games" service takes root, all of the major players are positioning themselves to make sure they get their slice of the pie.
On the surface, this puts Sony and Microsoft right onto a collision course with Google -- and it also raises big questions about what other market players will do to ensure they're not left out.
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