Wednesday, 17 October, 2018


Microsoft testing new game-streaming service

Microsoft unveils Xbox Project xCloud game streaming Microsoft plans 2019 beta for its mobile game streaming service
Melba Vasquez | 08 October, 2018, 21:03

Named Project xCloud, the service is set to enable gamers to play the games they want from any device they want.

Silhouettes of laptop and mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Microsoft logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. 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.

Project xCloud actually seems contradictory to Xbox's interests in a few ways. The company's Xbox One console is among the most popular in the category and it has a prolific in-house game studio with several big titles under its belt.

Microsoft isn't the first company to launch a video games streaming service, but Project xCloud being available on phones and tablets is quite unprecentended. Not only that, the streamed games are meant to be at PC and console-level fidelity and speed.

As detailed in the announcement, players will be able to use an Xbox One controller connected to supported devices, and a small attachment connects the controller to a smart phone for portable gaming.

To that end, Microsoft has built custom hardware called "blades" using the components inside Xbox One consoles and has begun installing those blades in Azure datacenters worldwide.

It's not exactly a secret that Microsoft has been trying to figure out a way to make game streaming work.

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. To accommodate people playing on mobile devices, Microsoft is also developing a touchscreen control scheme that "provides maximum response in a minimal footprint". In addition to solving latency, other important considerations are supporting the graphical fidelity and framerates that preserve the artist's original intentions, and the type of input a player has available.

As for other specifics, the tests are being run and working at a connection of 10 megabits per second, which is half the speed that Google's Project Stream requires. 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.

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