Microsoft has announced a new cloud gaming service, called Project xCloud, that lets you play Xbox games on your smartphone and tablet.
This will work wherever you are, and you don’t even need to own a console or a high-power PC to play your games. As its name suggests, the service uses your internet connection, instead of raw computing power, to let you stream your gaming session across your devices.
This technology has already been worked on by a number of companies and is expected to change the gaming landscape in the coming years. It will let you play even AAA titles on your smartphones, that can only run either on a console or a very expensive gaming PC.
Microsoft says that they have started testing the service, however, public trials will begin in 2019. Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft Gaming Cloud’s Corporate Vice President wrote in the company blog,
Our focus is on delivering an amazing added experience to existing Xbox players and on empowering developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players across devices. Our goal with Project xCloud is to deliver a quality experience for all gamers on all devices that’s consistent with the speed and high-fidelity gamers experience and expect on their PCs and consoles,
The company used their existing Xbox chips to build “a new customizable blade that can host the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles, as well as the associated infrastructure supporting it.” Games will be hosted on these datacenters.
Cloud Gaming – Will It Work?
Cloud gaming might be problematic for some regions, especially those where people have slow internet connections. The biggest issue will be input lag and streaming delays, that Microsoft says will be minimized thanks to its 54 Azure datacenters spread in 140 countries.
Microsoft does say that their service will let gamers enjoy the streaming service “regardless of their location”, however, we think it might face lag and ping issues in far-off and developing countries where internet speed is still not good enough. Especially in Pakistan.
xCloud will work best with 5G, though it might take time before it becomes available globally. Another issue is graphics quality. Microsoft says that consoles and gaming PC’s will still be the “flagship” gaming experience, however, xCloud streaming will still be in good quality.
The goal, according to the company, is to deliver the highest possible quality at the lowest bandwidth – the test service can run fine on 10 megabits. It can also run on 4G networks, but we’ll have to wait for 5G to get a better experience.