Project xCloud: Microsoft draws on Azure for device-agnostic gaming push

Ruben Fields
October 10, 2018

Yesterday, Microsoft announced Project xCloud, a new streaming service that will apparently let people play their favorite Xbox games from any device including your tablet, smartphone, PC, and of course, your gaming console.

Ubisoft had already outlined its perspective on cloud gaming earlier in the year; "There will be one more console generation [after Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch] and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us", CEO Yves Guillemot told Variety in June.

Microsoft has promised to blow apart gaming restrictions with the announcement of its streaming service, Project xCloud. While this might be a title most play through consoles or on PC, the most recent update for the game saw 60% surge in data traffic over normal peak traffic levels on Verizon's broadband network, as well as a 5-8% jump on mobile.

Microsoft is planning a game streaming service, called Project xCloud, which it plans to trial in 2019.

Project xCloud will use custom server rack hardware to power the experience - all based on existing Xbox One console components.

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For more information on Project Xcloud, please read the post on the official blog of Microsoft. Public trials of the service will only kick off next year, but for now, the company is recruiting developers to bring content to the service and to help with testing in a private beta. "The test runs on devices (mobile phones, tablets) paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller through Bluetooth, and it is also playable using touch input". On this front, a new approach is being taken, with a game-specific touch input system that would provide the best possible response in a minimal footprint, so as to keep the option to play without a controller available and appealing.

This future maker will empower you, the gamers, and it will place you in the middle of the gaming experience.

At the moment the testing experience is running at 10Mbps which isn't bad at all and on paper this solution may work on a 4G network.

Microsoft themselves seem to be sure about the success of such an endeavour, in spite of the complexities they will inevitably face. Microsoft showed a demonstration of the same through a video.

Problems Microsoft now face include low-latency video, frame rates, and supporting a large, multi-user network.

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