Microsoft’s Project xCloud is one of several gaming initiatives meant to try and tap into streaming as a delivery mechanism for video games, and their consumption. Streaming, of course, is something that has been tried for games before, but always failed to take off, due to the fundamental issues of latency and bandwidth limitations involved.
With xCloud, however, Microsoft feels it has something that can help benefit the entire industry, empower it even, by helping to deliver immersive games to everyone, regardless of where they are.
“The future of gaming is the ability to play the games you want, with the people you want, whenever you want, wherever you are, and on any device,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in an interview with GamesIndustry. “Project xCloud is about providing more access and choice to gamers. For mobile-only players, it creates access to more immersive games that they haven’t had access to before. For console and PC players, it creates new choice in when and where they can play. And, for developers, it means the opportunity to create one game that has the potential to scale to billions of players. We’re building a set of tools and technologies that we believe can empower the entire industry.”
The problem is, streaming has fundamental issues inherent to what it is—it can work for less demanding games, but anything that needs rapid response times, like a shooter, will suffer severely from the latency and lag involved. Whether or not Microsoft’s offering will be good enough to help bypass this problem for the masses remains to be seen.