Microsoft has made no secret of their ambitions to move into cloud streaming. Project xCloud will allow players to stream console games to a variety of different platforms, including iOS, Android, and Switch. The project wasn’t expected to be seen in public until its presentation at GDC (Game Developers Conference) in March, but Microsoft surprised everyone by bringing an early demonstration of the concept to the Inside Xbox stage.
Streaming content is becoming more and more common. Many people stream videos or music to a variety of devices, but the difference between these forms of media and video games is that a streamer directly interacts with games. Their inputs have to be streamed back to the source and the source has to react to those inputs, making the streaming of games a far more challenging prospect. However, Project xCloud is getting over this hurdle and they demonstrated this by streaming Forza Horizon 4 to a mobile phone while live on stage. You can see the full presentation, including the demonstration, below:
Project xCloud is not intended to replace gaming consoles, but is instead meant to offer players the option to play the games they want, whenever and wherever they want. The service will work wherever players have a good network connection, and Microsoft has increased their distribution of datacenters to 54 Azure regions to help this be more effective.
Public trials of Project xCloud will begin this year. More news on the technology itself and those public trials has been promised in the coming months.