Microsoft's Brian Prince has described Onlive and Gaikai as models for the future of cloud gaming, Gamasutra reports.
In a talk at GDC China, Prince, a "cloud evangelist" for Microsoft, claimed that these nascent services provide an instructive roadmap for where gaming is headed.
"These are really gaming platforms as a service," he said. "There are some limitations here, but I really do think this is the distant future of gaming in the cloud."
Among the "limitations" Prince mentioned was their focus on "AAA PC game titles," to the point where developers working outside of that market won't attract much interest.
He also compared the role of a service like OnLive to that of a traditional publisher. "Sometimes publishers are a dream, but it's another contract you have to sign," he said.
Despite these concerns, OnLive and Gaikai are the main viable alternative to the costly process of developing a proprietary cloud infrastructure. Microsoft's Azure cloud service required billions of dollars to develop, with its six servers alone costing an estimated $2.5 billion.
Prince declined to talk directly about Microsoft's plans for cloud gaming on consoles, but he confirmed that, "you will be seeing things in the Xbox platform that's cloud-specific. I'm already doing it, it's really exciting, but I can't tell you about it or else I'll get fired."