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Project xCloud: Microsoft's vision of a future in Handheld gaming

Imagine a future in gaming as a world where you are empowered to play the games you want, with the people you want, whenever you want, wherever you are, and on any device of your choosing.

Microsoft have announced Project xCloud, a state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology that will offer players freedom to use the device you want.

  

In a press release the company told us that:

"Public trials will begin in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations. 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.

We’ve enabled compatibility with existing and future Xbox games by building out custom hardware for our datacenters that leverages our years of console and platform experience. We’ve architected a new customizable blade that can host the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles, as well as the associated infrastructure supporting it. We will scale those custom blades in datacenters across Azure regions over time.

We are testing Project xCloud today. The test runs on devices (mobile phones, tablets) paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller through Bluetooth, and it is also playable using touch input. 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."

Microsoft believe that they are ready for the complex challenge of cloud game-streaming with datacenters in 54 Azure regions and services available in 140 countries, Azure has the scale to deliver a great gaming experience for players worldwide, regardless of their location.

Developers and researchers at Microsoft Research are creating ways to combat latency through advances in networking topology, and video encoding and decoding.

Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and will dynamically scale to push against the outer limits of what’s possible on 5G networks as they roll out globally. Currently, the test experience is running at 10 megabits per second. The goal is to deliver high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrate that work across the widest possible networks, taking into consideration the uniqueness of every device and network.