Microsoft announces its take on game streaming: Project xCloud

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Microsoft has finally revealed more details about its game streaming technology, which the company has been drumming up for a while now. Named Project xCloud, the service is set to enable gamers to play the games they want from any device they want.

The company claims that the current arsenal of over 3,000 Xbox One games at its disposal can be easily deployed and scaled by their respective developers with “no additional work”, and will likely be a major selling point for enticing game studios to adopt Microsoft’s nascent technology.

Compared to Google’s Project Stream, however, Microsoft seems to be playing catch-up, as public trials for xCloud won’t be available until some time next year. Stream, on the other hand, lets you sign up to play from your Chrome browser today.

The Redmond giant may ultimately come out on top, however, given its years of experience in both console gaming and cloud computing. It brashly boasts its expertise in the area in its blog post announcing xCloud, and has created a customizable blade tailored to hosting the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles.

In its bid to address the two major technical hurdles to game streaming, latency and UI considerations, the company is relying on previous work done by Microsoft Research to overcome these challenges.

“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,” the blog post says.

It is also working with advanced networking technologies like 5G and Microsoft’s own Azure network worldwide to ensure latency will be an issue of the past.

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