Microsoft testing new game-streaming service

Microsoft's Project xCloud Will Let You Play All Your Games on All Your Platforms

The ultimate goal is to make streaming available on 4G networks.

You'll be able to use an Xbox controller hooked up to your mobile via Bluetooth, or if you want to dispense with that, Microsoft is promising touch controls that will work just fine as an alternative.

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.

Microsoft has revealed its ambitious quest to take on the world of video game streaming with the reveal of Project xCloud, a service which will allow users to stream AAA and indie games directly to "any" device. Microsoft has installed custom hardware at its Azure datacenters, and it says that developers of current and existing Xbox One titles will be able to deploy their games to Project xCloud with no additional work.

However, there are internal tests for Project xCloud going on right now.

It is also working with advanced networking technologies like 5G and Microsoft's own Azure network worldwide to ensure latency will be an issue of the past. And, if you're thinking about trying to fit all those controller buttons on a phone screen, Microsoft claims to be 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". It could be a game changer, what if you could stream Xbox games to PlayStation or Nintendo? The only way to reach as many people as possible is to give them the ability to play games on whichever device they happen to use, be it a phone, tablet, or computer. Many of us expected this tease to be for a project a long way away, but an announcement today makes it seem like it might actually be fairly close. In addition to solving latency, other important considerations are supporting the graphical fidelity and framerates that preserve the artist's original intentions, and the type of input a player has available.

Compared to Google's Project Stream, however, Microsoft seems to be playing catch-up, as public trials for xCloud won't be available until some time next year.

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