When Nintendo revealed that their latest console, the Nintendo Switch, would be both a portable console that could be played on the go as well as a home console that could be played on a giant TV screen, people were stoked at the possibility that they would be able to take their favourite console games with them wherever they went, much like the manner in which fans were excited when the Nintendo DS came out many years ago. It would seem that Microsoft too, would like to jump on the trend, albeit in a different sense than what Nintendo did with the Switch, with their announcement of the xCloud service, which would allow for streaming of Xbox games on PCs’, tablets and phones.
The premise of xCloud seems to mirror that of the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, which allowed players to purchase a game and then play it on their Windows 10 PC or their Xbox One. Thanks to this, most of Microsoft’s major exclusives came to the PC, and from the looks of it, the xCloud wants to catapult off the success of the Play Anywhere program and reach even further heights.
In a post written about the project, Microsoft’s VP of cloud gaming Kareem Choudhry said, “Our vision for the evolution of gaming is similar to music and movies — entertainment should be available on demand and accessible from any screen.” The post goes on to describe about the development process and deliver some basic information about how the project works. At the moment, the service is being tested using various devices such as mobiles and tablets that can be paired with Xbox wireless controllers via Bluetooth, along with games that can be played using a touch based input. On this front, a new approach is being taken, with a game-specific touch input system that would provide the best possible response in a minimal footprint, so as to keep the option to play without a controller available and appealing.
Project xCloud will be emulating games on a server, then subsequently streaming them to your devices over the Internet. While this type of service isn’t entirely foreign to Microsoft, with the Xbox One being able to stream games to Windows 10 computers over a local network, the vision that the xCloud is going for promises to have much more of an outreach given its more complex nature.
Microsoft themselves seem to be sure about the success of such an endeavour, in spite of the complexities they will inevitably face.
As many as With datacenters in 54 data centres are present in 140 countries, which is a significantly large global outreach. Rest assured, if a problem crops up in almost any corner of the world, Microsoft will at the very least, be able to hear about it and take steps to ensure that the problem is solved as quickly as possible.
At the moment, the tests are running at 10 megabits per second, and the test will become public sometime in 2019. Until then, we can only hope that this initiative will change the gaming landscape in a positive way by creating a community in which everybody can reach out to one another.
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