The tech giant Microsoft has introduced its new project called Project xCloud. This is a streaming service whose purpose is to bring quality games of console to PC and mobile devices.

The public trials of the Microsoft’s xCloud will be released in 2019 and players will be able to stream games in Xbox One such as Forza or Halo, on devices like PCs, tablets and smartphones.

“[Developers] will be able to deploy and dramatically scale access to their games across all devices on Project xCloud with no additional work,” said Kareem Choudhry, Corporate vice president, Gaming Cloud, Microsoft, in his blog post.

Microsoft revealed its intention of making a service of cloud-streaming in June at the conference in E3 2019 in which Phil Spencer - Xbox boss made an announcement that engineers of Microsoft were developing a platform to stream Xbox One games to devices like mobile phones and tablets.

Microsoft said in the announcement video that the streaming platform, which will use Azure cloud coming service of the company, is ready to run. They made a demonstration which showed Halo being played on a tablet using just touchscreen input and also Forza Horizon - a Xbox One game being played on a smartphone and being controlled with a wireless Xbox controller via Bluetooth.

Gaming with Project xCloud

To prevent latency problems in its game streaming service, which may be bad for gaming experience, Microsoft revealed that its cloud service will be powered by custom blades that will combine the components of multiple Xbox One consoles.

Choudhry said in a blog spot, “cloud game-streaming is a multi-faceted, complex challenge. Unlike other forms of digital entertainment, games are interactive experiences that dynamically change based on player input. Delivering a high-quality experience across a variety of devices must account for different obstacles, such as low-latency video streamed remotely, and support a large, multi-user network.”

    Touch screen overlay of Project xCloud

Microsoft claimed that its streaming project - xCloud will be able to run on a 4G network and it will improve its service for users using 5G as the network is becoming more available.

Microsoft believes that they will be able to keep its streaming service running smoothly as they currently owns 54 data centers in regions of Azure spanning the globe and offer services to 140 countries.

xCloud was introduced after Google’s announcement regarding its Project Stream - a streaming platform which will be tested by small number of people in the US playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey using just Google Chrome.

                                                                                                          Halo was played in the demonstration using tablet's touch-screen controls
Sony, the main competitor with Microsoft in market of console gaming, has already provided a streaming services called Playstation Now. However, the platform limits users to stream games only to a PlayStation 4 or a PC, not including mobile devices, as they already discontinued supporting Playstation Vita, Sony Bravia TVs and PlayStation 3.

The pricing plans or any other details on how this streaming service will work for current owners of the Xbox One have not been revealed by Microsoft. However, Microsoft’s aim of developing xCloud is to allow gamers that are not likely to afford its expensive console to be able to experience high-end game and bring its famous gaming brand ‘Xbox’ outside of its current market.

Many analysts claim that there may not be many threats from cloud-based gaming to console gaming in the near future, but that the Microsoft’ xCloud may be released at around the end of 2019.

Piers Harding-Rolls - Head of gaming at analyst firm IHS Markit states that “Microsoft continues to work on a next-gen console which will supersede the Xbox One X and it has been clear that it believes that cloud gaming will be an incremental opportunity for Xbox for the foreseeable future”.

The interesting thing is that Microsoft will initially use hardware of Xbox One S to build xCloud. Despite Microsoft statement saying that it will be easy to update the infrastructure in the future, this may indicate that the tech giant will launch a commercial service in the near future, possibly before 2019 ends.  

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