Hot on the heels of Google's announcement last week of Project Stream, Microsoft has now revealed its own plans for a video game streaming service. Dubbed Project xCloud, the service would allow players to jump into an Xbox One game on basically any device – be it a TV, PC, or even a smartphone.
Microsoft announced it was working on this kind of system at E3 back in June, but has remained tight-lipped about the details until now. In the prototype currently being tested in-house, Project xCloud lets users stream Xbox One games from the company's Azure cloud servers to a phone or tablet.
Input comes from a wireless Xbox controller connected via Bluetooth, or through a custom touch screen overlay. We're not entirely sure how well the latter would work for some of the complicated triple-A games, but it might do the job for more basic titles.
Although the concept could one day sound the death knell for dedicated gaming consoles, it makes sense for Microsoft to be playing this game. It's one of the few companies to be so successful in both the gaming and wider computing worlds, plus with Azure it already has much of the infrastructure set up to tackle the daunting technical challenges. Games, after all, are more of a two-way street than is needed for streaming video or music.
And besides, Microsoft is more or less "losing" the race in the dedicated console realm. If it can leverage its own computing and cloud service background to close the gap, why wouldn't it? Interestingly, the idea of taking an Xbox One gaming session portable on your phone sounds like a direct swipe at the core concept of Nintendo's successful Switch.
According to the company, a Washington data center has already been equipped with new servers made up of custom Xbox One consoles in order to handle the hard labor, and more will roll out when the service goes live. For now Project xCloud is limited to a private test, but public trials are due to begin in 2019.
The team describes Project xCloud in the video below.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more