Microsoft reveals its Project xCloud game streaming service

Microsoft reveals its Project xCloud game streaming service

You'll be able to use an Xbox controller hooked up to your mobile via Bluetooth, or if you want to dispense with that, Microsoft is promising touch controls that will work just fine as an alternative.

"Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using", writes Kareem Choudry - Corporate Vice President, Gaming Cloud, at Microsoft. Microsoft already made its belief in that future clear with Xbox Game Pass, but now it's revealed the platform-agnostic Project xCloud service to show that its vision for game streaming isn't limited to Xbox. 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. Game-streaming services themselves are not 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.

Microsoft has announced that it has developed custom hardware in its data centers to ensure the xCloud service is compatible with all existing - and future!

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Microsoft apparently want this to be the first step towards a future where every game is available to players regardless of hardware owned, and that sure is an optimistic world to imagine.

Project xCloud sounds like it has a lot of promise. And, if you're thinking about trying to fit all those controller buttons on a phone screen, Microsoft claims to be 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".

"Developers and researchers at Microsoft Research are creating ways to combat latency through advances in networking topology, and video encoding and decoding", explained Microsoft. Public trials for Project xCloud will begin in 2019. Targeting 4G and 5G mobile networks for portable play may seem impossible, but Microsoft seems confident that they can make it work. The only way to reach as many people as possible is to give them the ability to play games on whichever device they happen to use, be it a phone, tablet, or computer.

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