Microsoft reveals Project xCloud service to stream Xbox games to phones

Microsoft unveils Xbox Project xCloud game streaming

It's not exactly a secret that Microsoft has been trying to figure out a way to make game streaming work. Stream, on the other hand, lets you sign up to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey from your Chrome browser today.

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.

At E3 2018 in June, head of Xbox Phil Spencer took the Xbox stage to announce Microsoft's plans for streaming-based games. The company's Xbox One console is among the most popular in the category and it has a prolific in-house game studio with several big titles under its belt.

As you'd expect, Project xCloud leverages all of the work Microsoft has done with cloud computing and Azure.

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Of course, as ever with these sort of services, the result will not just depend on Microsoft's technology, network and data centers, but also the user's connection. The company is also developing a touch input overlay that "provides maximum response in a minimal footprint for players who choose to play without a controller".

As for the content that will be available on Protect xCloud, Choundry said that Microsoft has "enabled compatibility with existing and future Xbox games", and that the company is already inviting game developers to get on board.

The first public trials are expected to start in 2019, with that beta testing going towards perfecting the technology and then rolling it out across the world. The company promises that it's working on all fronts to make sure this is a slick experience, including figuring out new ways of carrying out video encoding and decoding.

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. The current test service is apparently running on 10 megabits per second, pushing the upper limits of 5G Wi-Fi speeds which isn't even really a thing yet for most people.

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