February 19, 2019

Microsoft reveals Project xCloud service to stream Xbox games to phones

08 October 2018, 09:03 | Cameron Gross

Microsoft plans 2019 beta for its mobile game streaming service

Microsoft unveils Xbox Project xCloud game streaming

Microsoft has been testing the xCloud service with Xbox pads connected to consoles, mobile devices, and PCs so far, and the company is in the middle of research to combat latency and ensure that streaming can be offered to players without a hitch - after all, that's what hamstrung services like Ouya, PlayStation Now and others so far.

Microsoft said it's privately testing Project xCloud on smartphones and tablets now. Today, the company made the announcement we've all be waiting for, revealing Project xCloud.

"Ultimately, Project xCloud is about providing gamers - whether they prefer console or PC - new choices in when and where they play, while giving mobile-only players access to worlds, characters and immersive stories they haven't been able to experience before." wrote Corporate Vice President Kareem Choudhry. Versions of Halo, Gears, Forza and Cuphead have all been shown running on a variety of mobile and tablet devices, with public trials due to start in 2019. The company will allow testers to use the Xbox Wireless Controller or a device's touchscreen, with the promise that it's "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". This customised blade is capable of "hosting the component parts" of multiple Xbox One consoles.

Cloud game-streaming is a multi-faceted, complex challenge.

Microsoft - with our almost 40 years of gaming experience starting with PC, as well as our breadth and depth of capabilities from software to hardware and deep experience of being a platform company - is well equipped to address the complex challenge of cloud game-streaming. 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 not exactly a secret that Microsoft has been trying to figure out a way to make game streaming work.

Latency is obviously a big deal too, and while Microsoft didn't really delve into the specifics of how it will solve that problem, it did say that its tests are now running at 10 Mbps, with the possibility of far greater speeds and lower latency once 5G begins rolling out on a large scale.

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