Microsoft Unveils Project xCloud Service That Can Stream Xbox Games to Your Phone

Microsoft has announced Project xCloud, a new cloud streaming service that lets you play console and PC games on various devices. Soon, this technology will enable you to experience games typically reserved for home platforms on even a mobile phone.

Hardware

Project xCloud makes use of Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud platform. With Azure data centers existing across the globe across 140 countries, Microsoft plans to equip these servers with a customizable blade that can hold multiple Xbox One consoles as well as associated infrastructure. This blade will act as the source of the game, of which a video is then streamed towards a mobile device.

4G and 5G support

The platform will support 4G as well as 5G connections. This means that you will be able to access your favourite games on the go, though this assumes that your connection is fast enough to handle it. While Microsoft did not detail how it will go about handling latency and video buffering, it has acknowledged these as common concerns.

“Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and will dynamically scale to push against the outer limits of what’s possible on 5G networks as they roll out globally,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“Currently, the test experience is running at 10 megabits per second. Our goal is to deliver high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrate that work across the widest possible networks, taking into consideration the uniqueness of every device and network.”

Accessibility and choice

In terms of controls, Project xCloud lets you pair your mobile phone or tablet with an Xbox Wireless Controller through Bluetooth. For those who lack a controller, touch inputs are also available.

“The immersive nature of console and PC games often requires controls that are mapped to multiple keys, buttons, sticks and triggers,” Microsoft stated.

“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.”

Microsoft’s announcement comes only a few days after Google announced its own cloud streaming service, called Project Stream. Google’s technology allows users to play video games straight from their Chrome internet browser.

Microsoft plans to begin public beta tests for Project xCloud sometime in 2019.

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