Microsoft's xCloud Gaming Service Will Bring Console Games to Mobile

Microsoft Project xCloud Game Streaming Service Announced

Microsoft Project xCloud Game Streaming Service Announced

Is game streaming the next big thing?

Project xCloud will run in Microsoft Azure's data centers on specially designed servers built from Xbox components, said Kareem Choudry, corporate vice president, Gaming Cloud, in a blog post Monday.

It's an exciting prospect, for sure, and if Microsoft can keep a lid on latency to allow for smooth game streaming, that'll be impressive to say the least. According to the video caption, what we're seeing in the example video is actual gameplay footage streamed to the Android phone via Project xCloud.

We've enabled compatibility with existing and future Xbox games by building out custom hardware for our datacenters that leverages our years of console and platform experience. Enter Xbox. Back at E3, Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Executive Vice-President of Gaming, promised their engineers were working on revolutionary technology that would provide such a service.

Microsoft - and Xbox's future - is probably somewhere in the cloud.

Microsoft has officially unveiled Project xCloud, its game streaming service. The use of Azure moves the computational part of games off the device to the cloud so that it is no longer necessary to have lots of RAM, a fast video card or processor to play certain games.

Using advanced network techniques combined with video encoding and decoding, Microsoft is keen to let gamers stream games without having to download 100GB+ files to their devices. Games mentioned include Halo and Red Dead Redemption, and it appears that Microsoft plans to make these games and others available on non-Xbox devices. We'll begin public trials in 2019. Microsoft made no mention of price. Just like other cloud gaming services, Project xCloud has to contend with maintaining low latency while simultaneously preserving graphic fidelity.

But when will gamers be able to sample this promising new way of gaming? Many games can be played on Xbox and Windows 10 with one purchase, the company has focused less on Xbox-exclusive titles and "Xbox" has become a Windows 10 app. Many of us expected this tease to be for a project a long way away, but an announcement today makes it seem like it might actually be fairly close. Game-streaming services themselves aren't new: Sony has its PlayStation Now service; Ubisoft is partnering with Google to have Assassin's Creed Odyssey stream in the Chrome browser; and Capcom's Resident Evil 7 is available on Nintendo Switch in Japan via streaming. I am not a fan of using touch-based controllers on games.

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