Project xCloud: The Future of Video Game Streaming
Wed, April 21, 2021

Project xCloud: The Future of Video Game Streaming

The rise of the video game streaming industry pushed a lot of publishers to bank on it as the future of gaming / Photo by: Zivica Kerkez via Shutterstock

 

The rise of the video game streaming industry pushed a lot of publishers to bank on it as the future of gaming. Companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all pushing their own services to the public despite their not-so-enthusiastic response to the idea.

Microsoft, in particular, is taking major steps towards the concept: Not only did it announce plans of launching its Project xCloud game streaming service in 2020, but the company also said it will bring the xCloud to Windows 10 PCs as well.

Streaming From the Cloud

Project xCloud will be integrated with Xbox Game Pass when it's launched next year and will allow players to stream over 50 Xbox games using the company's subscription service directly from the cloud. It will be a complimentary service with Microsoft's Xbox One and forthcoming Project game consoles.

According to Pocket-Lint, an online news site that curates in-depth tech news and reviews, Project xCloud brings Xbox One games to be played on mobile platforms like tablets and Android phones without the need to download the game. Even if the games are hosted on remote servers, the live gameplay still seems as if the game is loaded on the device itself.

What makes Microsoft a cut above the other forthcoming cloud streaming services is that the publisher promises to make its vast library of over 3,000 Xbox and PC games available for playing. The company also has one of the biggest data center networks around the world.

"This, combined with the company's Azure cloud server network, will ensure that game requests can be served locally rather than across continents, potentially reducing latency by shortening the distance between the end-user and the data center," Pocket-Lint explains, adding that Microsoft could come out on top if it can significantly reduce latency compared to other cloud gaming services. 

Latency is considered the enemy of cloud gaming as it delays the communication between the buttons pressed and the actions performed on screen. That delay lasts for only milliseconds, which are still vital when it comes to gaming. It's what makes the difference between getting a clean shot of the enemy or missing them.

Project xCloud will be integrated with Xbox Game Pass when it's launched next year and will allow players to stream over 50 Xbox games using the company's subscription service directly from the cloud / Photo by: Sharaf Maksumov via Shutterstock

 

Devices for xCloud

In its official website, Xbox says xCloud will be available on any mobile device—smartphone or tablet—with an Android version 6.0 or greater and Bluetooth version 4.0+ to connect with a compatible Xbox Wireless Controller. Aside from mobile devices, Microsoft also said it will bring the service to Windows 10.

Speaking with The Verge, Microsoft's head of cloud gaming Kareem Choudry said they will launch "more types of content" in the future for Windows 10 support since not many Xbox games support keyboard and mouse—which challenges the involvement of developers.

The company is also working on support for Apple devices iPad and iPhone with a prototype app that's "up and running" and is "playing well," according to Catherine Gluckstein, general manager of the xCloud. "We would love for it to launch on iOS, and in due course, it will. We’re working with Apple," Gluckstein added.

Microsoft will expand support beyond the Xbox One wireless controller and include support for Sony's DualShock 4 controllers in xCloud along with other Bluetooth controllers and gamepads from gaming hardware manufacturer Razer.

The Verge says this will be "welcome news" for players who are accustomed to using PS4 controllers but also want to play Xbox titles like "Halo" and "Forza" through xCloud.

Games on Preview and Other Expansions

In October, Microsoft launched the xCloud with just five titles. A month later, that number grew to 50 more games to provide preview players with more options while also providing a better understanding of how the cloud gaming service will run for more demanding titles.

"A huge thank you to participants in Korea, UK, & the US for the incredibly valuable insights that help us shape the cloud gaming experience," the company said in a press release. "We’ve loved hearing anecdotes about how Project xCloud has enabled you to play Xbox games on your phone or tablet in all sorts of unique places."

Along with its new titles, developed by over 25 of its partners, is "Madden NFL 20," "Devil May Cry 5," and "Tekken 7," which were made available on the xCloud Preview library last month. It added four games this month: "Children of Morta," "Dead By Daylight," "Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour," and "Wreckfest."

Microsoft will continue to invite more registered players to be the first to experience playing on the xCloud prior to its release in the coming year. Along with the additional invites is bringing xCloud Preview to more countries at the start of 2020 like Canada, India, Japan, and Western Europe. 

"Expanding to additional markets over time is an important step in our journey to delight the two billion gamers in the world," the company said. "We’ll have more details to share soon on when and how to register."

In its official website, Xbox says xCloud will be available on any mobile device—smartphone or tablet—with an Android version 6.0 or greater and Bluetooth version 4.0+ to connect with a compatible Xbox Wireless Controller / Photo by: Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock