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Toys and Tabletop Games

Microsoft's leaning in on cloud gaming

The software giant and Xbox maker is bringing together different cloud gaming projects under a new leader.

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Soon, a controller may be all you need to play an awesome game.

Sean Buckley/CNET

Pretty much every popular modern video game has two things in common: Their visuals are either shockingly life-like or artistically beautiful, and they almost always connect to the internet.

That second bit is behind a move Microsoft announced Thursday, saying it's formed a team to focus on what it calls the "Gaming Cloud." This project -- headed by Kareem Choudhry, a corporate vice president at Microsoft who reports to Xbox head Phil Spencer -- is focused on making sure game makers both in and outside the company have tools to build powerful and reliable internet-connected games. 

"The team's vision is to support every modern facet of our medium to move it forward, from creation and distribution, to playing, streaming and learning," Microsoft said in a statement. The news was reported earlier as part of an interview with The Verge.

Microsoft's Gaming Cloud is the latest sign the company is both betting on providing internet computing ("cloud") services to other companies, and also specifically on using that for games, such as Ubisoft's popular team-shooting game Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege.

This isn't a new idea for Microsoft either. When the company announced its next-generation video game console in 2013, the Xbox One, the company highlighted the promise of using computing power outside your home to make games look even better. It's also invested more in projects like artificial intelligence, which helped me play a game last year.

Now, it's bringing those efforts under this Gaming Cloud team.

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