Microsoft’s been talking a great deal about making advancements in cloud gaming lately, something that Phil Spencer reiterated at this year’s E3 as well, while the company’s also promised to continue to invest heavily in its gaming division. Both those things, it seems will be coming to fruition very soon.
Microsoft has announced Project xCloud, an ambitious service of video game streaming that will allow you to play Xbox games on essentially any device you own, be it a tablet or a smartphone. In theory, you can play Gears of War and Halo on your Android phone without having to purchase an Xbox.
“Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using,” writes Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of Gaming Cloud, Microsoft. “Project xCloud’s state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device, empowering YOU, the gamers, to be at the center of your gaming experience.”
The biggest question marks will revolve around things like latency and server issues, but it seems Microsoft has been working behind the scenes on all of those elements, and seems to have a pretty solid game plan ready. “Microsoft — with our nearly 40 years of gaming experience starting with PC, as well as our breadth and depth of capabilities from software to hardware and deep experience of being a platform company — is well equipped to address the complex challenge of cloud game-streaming,” the announcement reads. “With datacenters in 54 Azure regions and services available in 140 countries, Azure has the scale to deliver a great gaming experience for players worldwide, regardless of their location.”
“Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and will dynamically scale to push against the outer limits of what’s possible on 5G networks as they roll out globally. Currently, the test experience is running at 10 megabits per second. Our goal is to deliver high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrate that work across the widest possible networks, taking into consideration the uniqueness of every device and network.”
Public trials for this will begin in 2019, but it does seem like Microsoft have a pretty solid foundation in place. Of course, with something as massive and ambitious as this, you can never really know just how well it will turn out until you actually try it out for yourself, but if this works (and it very well might), it could be absolutely huge.
Microsoft have also released a video along with the above linked announcement to better explain several aspects of Project xCloud, and what their plans for Xbox consoles are- essentially, they will continue to exist, and will remain a focus for Microsoft. The point of xCloud is to provide consumers with more options, because, as they rightly point out, not everyone will be able to (or want to) buy a dedicated games console. Watch the video below to get more details.