We are in the middle of next-gen news goodness. As we leap closer to the releases of Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, one announcement harkens back to promises made last year and posed the question -  will cloud gaming finally become popular?

Last week, Microsoft announced that its xCloud streaming platform will be available starting September 15th as a part of their Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service, allowing gamers to hop in and out of their games using their gaming platform, PC, tablet or mobile phone. This streaming service is set to open up great new opportunities for players and the industry alike.

Two other “gaming outsider” companies threw in their name in that cloud and multi-device hat last year, making similar promises.

Apple Arcade, although facing some slight criticism after their half-year mark, is living up to their word. Although not a cloud-based streaming service; subscribers are able to access a library of over 100 games, many delivering on the promise of a console-quality game without any micro-transactions, across their family of Apple devices.

Unfortunately, Google’s multi-device streaming service, Stadia, does not seem to be measuring up to the clout it created - but it’s not out of the race. Issues with player base, services and features are just one of the reasons the service has yet to reach the upper stratosphere of gaming.

So how will Microsoft be different and how will it help boost this developing baby game cloud (we picture a Super Mario Lakitu’s smiling cloud, not sure about you) to rise to its proper level? One advantage is their established base of players and subscribers.

One sure thing, this is great for the retail holiday season. Get ready to see new and innovative gaming peripherals like the controllers coming from Razer, PowerA and 8bitdo. For gaming, the retail and holiday promotion is starting earlier and going longer. Look forward to more announcements in the upcoming weeks, and get ready to fill your online shopping carts! 

For more discussion and insights around this year's holiday retail season, check out our Retail HOTLine.