Microsoft has unveiled Project xCloud, a game-streaming service which will bring Xbox One games to pretty much any device.
Detailing the service on Microsoft’s blog, Kareem Choudhry, the company’s Corporate Vice President, Gaming Cloud, said: “Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using. 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. Ultimately, Project xCloud is about providing gamers — whether they prefer console or PC — new choices in when and where they play, while giving mobile-only players access to worlds, characters and immersive stories they haven’t been able to experience before.”
Choudhry added: “We’ll begin public trials in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations. Our focus is on delivering an amazing added experience to existing Xbox players and on empowering developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players across devices.” And he acknowledged the difficulties of gaming on devices with unsophisticated control systems: “We are testing Project xCloud today. The test runs on devices (mobile phones, tablets) paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller through Bluetooth, and it is also playable using touch input. The immersive nature of console and PC games often requires controls that are mapped to multiple keys, buttons, sticks and triggers. We are developing a new, game-specific touch input overlay that provides maximum response in a minimal footprint for players who choose to play without a controller.”
Choudhry also spoke of Microsoft’s desire to get Project xCloud running via 4G and 5G mobile networks and addressed the knottiest of issues for game-streaming services, the amount of bandwidth required: “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.”
We’ll bring you any news about next year’s Project xCloud rollout as it emerges.