Microsoft has promised to blow apart gaming restrictions with the announcement of its streaming service, Project xCloud. According to the company, it will be able to offer high-fidelity, no lag visuals on any platform.
Though it gave hints at E3 this year, Microsoft is ready to reveal more details, including how it will power it. As suspected, xCloud will make use of the tech giants significant Azure cloud infrastructure, which holds 54 regions and covers 140 countries.
Xbox hardware has already been installed in a data center in Quincy, WA, though it doesn’t look much like consumers are used to. Microsoft has broken Xbox’s into their individual components and created a single server ‘blade’ that can host multiple consoles.
At the same time, the company is pushing things on the network and software side, creating new encoding and decoding algorithms to reduce lag. Microsoft also said its testing 5G ahead of its roll out over the next couple of years.
Xbox One X Quality on a Phone
Though Project xCloud will be extremely useful to gamers who don’t want to download, it’ll be a particular leap forward for mobile and PC. Theoretically, game streaming should be possible on very modest hardware, so an expensive gaming PC or console won’t be a requirement for AAA titles.
However, there’s always the problem of control. Microsoft says you’ll be able to connect an Xbox controller to your phone via Bluetooth, but that’s unwieldy when you’re on the go. As a result, it’s also creating a touchscreen-based control system.
This is something that exists in a number of mobile shooters already, but it always tends to feel awkward and slow. It’s possible Microsoft has found a solution that feels more natural, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
The company also hasn’t revealed when the solution will launch, but it will begin public testing in 2019. After making refinements, it plans to scale it out ‘in an epic way’.