Microsoft debuts Project xCloud for streaming games to PCs and phones

Microsoft debuts Project xCloud for streaming games to PCs and phones
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft today revealed Project xCloud, a game streaming service that would bring the company’s games to multiple devices, including mobile.

xCloud is, essentially, a gaming solution for those who don’t own an Xbox or a game-ready PC. The idea is that you can play the games on any device of your choosing, without having to pony up the money for a worthy machine.

So, if you want to play Halo InfiniteGears of War 5, or Sea of Thieves on your Android tablet, this is the device that would make that possible.

Kareem Choudhry, VP of cloud gaming at Microsoft, sums up xCloud thus in the announcement post:

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, empowering YOU, the gamers, to be at the center of your gaming experience.

The service is not dissimilar to Google’s Project Stream (seriously, there are other words than “project,” people; whip out a thesaurus), revealed last week, which would allow users to play newly-released, AAA titles on their Chrome browsers. xCloud presents the same drawbacks as Google’s Project though. Microsoft doesn’t exactly explain how it’s going to handle latency or fidelity, but does assure gamers it recognizes those issues and is working on them.

Also, if it wants to make every game available on (for example) an Android phone, it’s going to have to come up with some kind of controller solution for those who don’t have an Xbox One controller to use via Bluetooth. Choudhry says, “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.”

Public trials for xCloud begin next year, at which point we’ll hear more about it.

Project xCloud: Gaming with you at the center on Microsoft

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