If anything else, Microsoft was always a visionary company which attracted users with its revolutionary products and services. Sometimes they do well, and sometimes they fail which is all normal when you try to be innovative. xCloud is certainly among the innovations from Microsoft that could change the gaming world completely.
The idea is to create a game-streaming service that will allow players to access their accounts from any device. Basically, xCloud will allow you to play a game from phone or PC or console through your account. The concept is no different from other entertainment streaming services like Netflix, for example, which allow you to access the content from any device with internet.
Right now, our gaming experience is limited to the device we are using. xCloud places users in the center of this gaming experience and give an opportunity even to those who don’t have consoles to play the games intended for them. Thus, you won’t worry if you will be able to play the game with a device you have, but how to find time and place to enjoy your favorite game.
Currently, Microsoft is conducting internal testing of xCloud with an intention to start public trials of their game-streaming service in 2019. The test is performed on mobile phones and tablets paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller via Bluetooth. However, touch controls are also available for those who are not good with controllers. PC and console gaming usually has different controls than smartphones and tablets. With this in mind, Microsoft is working on creating touch inputs that will provide the same gaming quality to users who chose to play without a controller.
However, this is not intended to hinder console and PC gaming and Microsoft is already working on developing the next generation of their Xbox consoles. The azure datacenter is used to install the first server rack supporting xCloud in Quincy, Washington. In order to build this service, Microsoft broke Xbox into components and created a custom hardware. Additionally, Microsoft is also working on new video coding and decoding for xCloud and is already in the testing process.
Microsoft Research’s developers are trying to create ways to stream games on 4G networks and prepare the terrain for the upcoming 5G. The goal is to deliver a high-quality experience to users by using the lowest bitrate so everything would work perfectly across a wide range of networks.
But let’s note that this isn’t the first time Microsoft tried to create a game-streaming service. Several years ago, Microsoft started with Project Rio and consequently Arcadia both being attempts to create a game-streaming service. However, this is a good thing since it means that they have a better grasp now about what to expect and how to deal with issues.
If anyone can succeed in such an ambitious endeavor it’s Microsoft. The company has almost four decades of gaming experience, and not to mention its software and hardware projects. Also, Azure will certainly allow them to build their xCloud and make it available to users in over 140 countries. And within a year, we will have an opportunity to witness and try this game-streaming service firsthand and participate in the revolution in the gaming experience.