Microsoft announces its take on game streaming: Project xCloud

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The video games streaming service that Xbox head Phil Spencer announced back at E3 2018 now has an official name, Project xCloud.

Don't expect a release date any time soon, as Microsoft says that scaling and building Project xCloud will be a "multi-year journey". Project xCloud's state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device, empowering YOU, the gamers, to be at the center of your gaming experience. While game streaming still has some major hurdles to overcome like widespread lackluster internet speeds, Project xCloud definitely seems to be taking steps in the right direction. Today, the company provided more details about "Project xCloud". The project aims to bring console-quality games to PC, consoles, and smart phone devices, and will be rolling out public trials starting in 2019.

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Public tests of the Project xCloud service are set to begin in 2019, with Microsoft saying the tests will help it "learn and scale with different volumes and locations". Not only that, the streamed games are meant to be at PC and console-level fidelity and speed. An example given was Xbox games running on a tablet or smartphone, where players would have the choice to either connect an Xbox One controller to the device via Bluetooth, or use touch screen controls, in order to play through their games. Users will have the ability to stream games both to their tablets and smartphones, according to the company.

Though Microsoft's announcement touches on well known game streaming problems like latency and fidelity, it does not say exactly how these problems will be addressed beyond just making more servers available to more people. Unlike other forms of digital entertainment, games are interactive experiences that dynamically change based on player input.

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Latency is obviously a big deal too, and while Microsoft didn't really delve into the specifics of how it will solve that problem, it did say that its tests are now running at 10 Mbps, with the possibility of far greater speeds and lower latency once 5G begins rolling out on a large scale. Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and. push against the outer limits of what's possible on 5G networks.

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