October 9, 2018 // 10:37 a.m.
Microsoft has officially thrown its hat into the cloud-powered gaming ring, announcing Project xCloud: 'gaming with you at the centre', it claims.
Following the launch of the Project Stream closed beta, an effort by advertising giant Google to bring triple-A gaming into its Chrome browser by offloading the hard work of rendering onto remote servers, Microsoft has officially unveiled its competing service: Project xCloud. 'Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using,' explains Microsoft's Kareem Choudhry. '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 centre of your gaming experience.
'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. To realise this vision, we know we must make it easy for developers to bring their content to Project xCloud. Developers of the more than 3,000 games available on Xbox One today, and those building the thousands that are coming in the future, will be able to deploy and dramatically scale access to their games across all devices on Project xCloud with no additional work.'
That doesn't come immediately, however: Choudhry has confirmed Project xCloud as 'a multi-year journey', with public trials of the service not due to begin until some time in 2019. When it does open to the public, it will be focused exclusively on Xbox One games: Like Sony's PlayStation Now streaming service, which uses PlayStation 3 hardware to provide partial backwards compatibility on the PlayStation 4, Microsoft's cloud infrastructure is to be based on 'the components parts of multiple Xbox One consoles' installed in blade-style chassis.
At present, the company's internal testing has proven the service's functionality on smartphones and tablets using both a Bluetooth-connected Xbox Wireless Controller and an on-screen touch-control overlay. Thus far, the company has not confirmed whether it will offer the ability to use the service on third-party desktop operating systems like macOS or Linux.
More information is available on Microsoft's blog.