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Project xCloud is Microsoft’s Game Streaming Service

In case you hadn’t already noticed, we at The DMZ love to play video games. While we’re normally seated on a couch in front of a big television with a surround sound system enveloping us with all the sonic goodness we can handle, we’d also love to just play more frequently. Sometimes we aren’t home, and sometimes the TV is being used by another family member. What are we to do then? Well, Microsoft wants to get us our gaming fix by allowing us to play all the same games, but on just about any device. Project xCloud is at the heart of Microsoft’s plan to bring video games to everyone.

Project xCloud is a video game streaming platform. Essentially it’s just Xbox in the cloud. They have literally built blade servers with the guts of the Xbox inside of them. They throw a ton of these blades into their Azure data centers and use custom software to deliver a gaming experience to devices like tablets and phones. If you have a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controller you will be able to pair it with your mobile device so that the control experience is no different from being on the couch.

There isn’t a company that is better suited to delivering a premium video game streaming service than Microsoft. They’ve been one of the biggest players in the video game hardware and software space for decades. Their Azure platform is also one of the biggest players in the cloud service space. If you think this might be just a small one-off experiment for a company that seems solely focused on enterprise productivity then you’re forgetting just how seriously Microsoft takes gaming. After all, Microsoft recently promoted Phil Spencer to the role of Executive Vice President where he now reports directly to Satya Nadella, the CEO.

Project xCloud won’t be an easy service to deliver. It’s not as simple as just tossing some Xbox-powered blades into Azure data centers. There are incredibly difficult problems to solve. Network latency will be one of the biggest issues to overcome, but Microsoft continues to develop and refine the video encoding and streaming technology necessary to achieve a good experience for the gamer.

While competitors in the game streaming space will be burdened with lining up content partnerships, Microsoft shouldn’t have that problem. They ought to be able to make every Xbox game (of which there are currently over 3000) playable through the service.

While we’re excited to see how well Microsoft can implement Project xCloud, we’re all going to need to wait a few more months before we get the opportunity. The public trials won’t begin until 2019. Microsoft also hasn’t said anything about pricing yet. We’ll be watching Project xCloud closely, so keep an eye on The DMZ to make sure you’re kept up to date with all the latest developments.

Source: Microsoft