In brief: Microsoft has given the first public demonstration of its Project xCloud game streaming service. The company says its technology will allow games to work across multiple devices, including PCs, tablets, consoles, and mobiles, with the first trials set to begin later this year.
We haven’t heard a great deal about Project xCloud since it was officially unveiled in October 2018. At the time, a promo video showed Forza being played on an Android phone, but last night’s Inside Xbox event was the first live demo.
In the video, which features Kareem Choudhry, CVP of Gaming Cloud at Microsoft, Forza Horizon 4 is streamed from the company's Azure datacenters to an Android phone, which is linked to an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth. Skip to around the 3:35 mark in the video to see it in action.
It’s not easy to tell from the clip, but presenter Julia Hardy said the picture quality was amazing, though it does look as if lag might still be an issue.
In an accompanying post, Choudhry emphasized that the service wasn’t designed to replace consoles, “but as a way to provide the same choice and versatility that lovers of music and video enjoy today. We’re adding more ways to play Xbox games.”
Microsoft has the ambitious aim of giving the 2 billion gamers across the world access to the Project xCloud service, a feat it hopes to achieve using its advanced network technologies and datacenters in 54 Azure regions.
Back when OnLive shut down in 2015, it looked as if game streaming services weren’t ready for the mainstream. Today, it’s an area that’s drawing the focus of many tech firms. In addition to Microsoft, there’s Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Google’s Project Stream, Blade Shadow, LiquidSky, and more.