Analysts: next Xbox likely to support cloud gaming

In a discussion with GamesIndustry International, M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon predicts that Microsoft is working on its own videogame streaming service, putting forth the possibility of buying OnLive.  Others are less sure that Microsoft will buy a preexisting company;  both EEDAR’s Jesse Divinch and Wedbush’s Michael Pachter envision Microsoft handling the development internally, considering their robust technical and financial resources.

Regardless of the development vs. acquisition conversation, the analysts all predict that Microsoft’s next console may support cloud gaming.   This news comes in the wake of Sony purchasing Gaikai, a cloud gaming service similar to OnLive, for $380 million.  It seems bizarre for console manufacturers to support streaming services.  In many ways, they are hardware-based gaming’s antithesis, but most other digital mediums are already developing along this path, so is it so surprising for games to eventually to follow suit?

We should keep in mind that both Sony and Microsoft have other platforms that could support cloud gaming — Pidgeon points out that Windows Phone 8 and Surface are around the corner — but like all speculation, only time will tell the truth.