First things first. Streaming games from your Xbox One to your Windows 10 desktop PC or tablet won't be available right away, when Windows 10 is fully launched later this year.
During a GDC demo, I asked Mike Ybarra, one of the Xbox program directors, when it might arrive. He said the company would probably want to "spend some extra time on it," specifically on testing the service via wireless networks.
Which leads us to the second thing you want to know about Xbox-to-Windows streaming: yes it works under very specific conditions. I got some hands on time at GDC yesterday, playing Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One, streamed to a Surface Pro 3, with a controller plugged in.
There were no problems with lags that I could tell. I specifically asked if there was "any funny business we ought to know about." I was told there was none, apart from the fact that we were playing on a local wired network. The system will only work on one device at at time via a local network.
Ybarra said that it worked fine on a wireless network but that, in the middle of a convention center, such would not be the optimal way to show the system to media. Fair enough, but we all know that wireless networks and connections come in all shapes and sizes, and it seems likely the delay in getting this system to market is all about figuring out those kinks.
I asked about streaming PC games to Xbox. Ybarra said it was something they were looking into. I asked about streaming Xbox One games to a PC or tablet on a different network, thousands of miles away from your console. He said, you guessed it, that was also something they were looking into. We can all get on board with the idea of playing our Xbox One games on a tablet, by the pool while on vacation.
Accessing your Xbox through your PC, via the Xbox Live app is really simple. The app is nicely laid out with all the social connectivity, video capturing and achievements logging stuff you might expect. For streaming, players can access individual games or they can scroll through the Xbox's dash.
In theory, you could lock your Xbox One in a room and never touch it again, accessing it exclusively through a PC in another room. You can even switch it on and off. Some content hubs aren't available, like Netflix (digital rights issues get in the way) but there really is no good reason to access your Netflix Xbox One app via your PC, so I don't even know why I mention this.
Anyway, I asked Ybarra about the adapter which Phil Spencer announced earlier in the day, which will plug into your PC and tablet, and allow you to use wireless Xbox One controllers and other devices. There is no release date for this dongle ("later this year"), no name and no price. But, I think we can all agree, such a thing will be very useful.
Microsoft's unified coding system for Windows 10 means that programming a game to be streamable from Xbox to Windows is a very simple procedure
As someone who has a PC in a private den, but an Xbox One in the family living area, I am pretty confident streaming is something I'll be using. My house is all wired, so I'm not too worried about wireless issues, but we have yet to see this working under more challenging conditions, so it is well worth holding judgment. More on this in the months to come.