One of the most talked about initiatives that Microsoft has attempted to undertake this generation was game streaming. It’s been one of Microsoft’s most desired outcomes for the Xbox One, and it hasn’t always gone down well with the community, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from trying… yet again.
According to the Microsoft website, there’s an announcement about Project xCloud, which is a new game-streaming service that allows you to play anywhere and on any cloud-enabled device.
Corporate vice president of cloud gaming at Microsoft, Kareem Choudhry, detailed the new streaming service based on cloud technology. The streaming service will be based on cloud computing that will then allow gamers to pick up and play the games they want through smartphones, tablets, or other smart devices.
Things didn’t go over so well five years ago when it was first brought to the forefront of gaming via former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick, but the company believes that the climate has changed enough over the last half decade to try again.
This time, however, it will be rolled out in a long-term fashion across various developmental steps that will include the gaming community. According to the blog post on the Microsoft website, Project xCloud will be a “multi-year journey” and the first public trials will begin at some point in 2019 with specified regions and locations picked for the trials.
At the moment, the company is currently testing Project xCloud in closed environments across various devices using the prototypes that have been built so far. The game-streaming service will support wireless Xbox One controllers through Bluetooth connectivity, along with touchscreen support for Surface tablets and other compatible devices. This has also required the team to implement software to take advantage of touchscreen support for devices that are not controller-enabled.
Obviously, the most important facet of this endeavor is being able to deliver high-quality, AAA gaming to casual and core gamers alike through low-latency service at any place in any location. This is why Microsoft is touting having more than 54 Azure data centers located around the world, and there are plans to further expand those data centers for even better connectivity.
Latency has always been a hot button topic when it comes to game streaming, and it was one of the things that initially proved to be a rather significant obstruction for making PlayStation Now a viable service in the early days, and one of the big challenges that gamers questioned in regard to the cloud-based physics that Sumo Digital’s Crackdown 3 was supposed to utilize.
We’ll see how well all of this comes together once the public tests get underway, and we’ll also see if the general market has warmed to the idea of cloud-gaming compared to when it was first introduced in a big way back in 2013.