Xbox One games are heading up to the cloud and down onto myriad other devices starting in 2019. Microsoft on Monday announced Project xCloud, which it refers to as “global game-streaming technology” that will allow users to play their console and Windows PC games on mobile devices and more.
With Project xCloud, Microsoft aims to provide a similar play experience on mobile devices as they get on Xbox One systems and PCs. The biggest hurdle, as is typical with game streaming, is minimizing lag. As the company continues to work on that, Microsoft said that it has also come up with a way to translate Xbox controls to mobile.
“We are testing Project xCloud today,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The test runs on devices (mobile phones, tablets) paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller through Bluetooth, and it is also playable using touch input. The immersive nature of console and PC games often requires controls that are mapped to multiple keys, buttons, sticks and triggers. We are developing a new, game-specific touch input overlay that provides maximum response in a minimal footprint for players who choose to play without a controller.”
Currently, Project xCloud supports 4G and 5G cellular networks, and uses Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing service, as part of the stabilization process. Project xCloud will enter public beta in 2019, with no specific release timing announced. The service sounds much like Google’s streaming platform, Project Stream, which the company revealed last week and is launching in beta in October. Microsoft beat Google to the punch, however; Project xCloud was first revealed during E3 2018, although that presentation was much lighter on details. Phil Spencer, the executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, also talked up the console-less service in a 2017 interview.
For an intro to how it all works, check out the videos up top and below.