Game streaming to date has been something of a pipe dream. The idea is that you can play a video game which is being run by a powerful server out there in the cloud, as a result it allows you to get at least a console if not a high-powered PC-level gaming experience on pretty much any wireless device with a good quality screen like a smartphone, tablet or smart TV. It also allows transitioning of the same game between said devices.
To date though the experience hasn’t been great. Such a task requires immense amounts of bandwidth, super fast (and more importantly reliable) connections, and little to no latency time in order to respond to user inputs. Today, Microsoft announced its plans to take on that challenge with Project xCloud.
The ambitious service aims to allow the streaming of Xbox One games across computers, phones and tablets. Microsoft says it’s currently testing it out and plans to open up tests to the public next year. One thing helping it along is that they say game developers will be able to support the streaming service with no additional workload to add to games.
In addition the team is developing ‘a new, game-specific touch input overlay’ for controller-free playing along with trying to solve the latency problem using Microsoft’s vast network of servers: “Our goal with Project xCloud is to deliver a quality experience for all gamers on all devices that are consistent with the speed and high-fidelity gamers experience and expect on their PCs and consoles.”
How well it works is the big question. When the Xbox One was announced years ago, a big selling point was the plan to use the cloud to handle processing power and thus unlock high-end PC-quality graphics. Those claims ended up yielding nothing.
The announcement also comes one week after Google announced ‘Project Stream’, that company’s attempt to do the same thing with a closed beta test being run which allows users to play “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” in full high quality in just a Google Chrome tab.