Microsoft's New Game Streaming Service xCloud Announced
Want to play Halo on your phone?
Numerous game companies believe that streaming technology is the future. Now, Microsoft has announced its own approach to streaming video games: Project xCloud. The project aims to bring console-quality games to PC, consoles, and smart phone devices, and it will be rolling out public trials starting in 2019.
As detailed in the announcement, players will be able to use an Xbox One controller connected to supported devices. Smart phones can be used via Bluetooth, and a small attachment connects the controller to the phone for ease of use. If you don't have an Xbox One controller, touch controls are also available.
The service uses Microsoft's Azure as a backbone to set up new datacenters, with customized hardware that uses the parts of multiple Xbox One consoles. Azure has datacenters in 140 countries, so Microsoft feels it is already in a strong position to roll out the service wide-scale. It's also developing ways to combat latency, with current tests running at 10 megabits per second. The ultimate goal is to make streaming available on 4G networks. Microsoft also notes the intention is for developers to be able to make their games available through xCloud without requiring any additional work from them (not unlike how it handles backwards compatibility on Xbox One).
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Similarly, last week Google announced its own Project Stream, using Assassin's Creed Odyssey to issue a technical test. PlayStation Now, meanwhile, has offered streaming games for quite a while, but recently began offering the option of downloading instead.