×

Microsoft Unveils Game Streaming Technology Project xCloud

Microsoft officially unveiled its new global game streaming technology called “Project xCloud” on Monday.

Microsoft is testing the tech out today, it said in a blog post. Project xCloud runs on devices paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller via Bluetooth and it’s playable using touch input. It’s complementary to Microsoft’s ongoing work with console hardware, which means developers can use it to deploy and dramatically scale access to their games on xCloud with no additional work. Scaling and building out the technology is “a multi-year journey,” Microsoft said.

“Far too often, gaming remains fragmented and isolated to individual devices,” Microsoft said. “The promise and potential of the future of gaming is a world where you are empowered to play the games you want, with the people you want on any device – where you are at the center of the experience.”

“Ultimately, ‘Project xCloud’ is about providing gamers — whether they prefer console or PC — new choices in when and where they play, while giving mobile-only players access to worlds, characters, and immersive stories they haven’t been able to experience before.”

Microsoft first revealed it’s working on a game-streaming service during its E3 press conference, promising “console quality gaming on any device.” At the time, Xbox executive Phil Spencer told Variety video games are a mainstream business, and innovation is inevitable. “Frankly, we’ve been on that journey since you and I were playing on the original Xbox,” he said. “There is an evolution of experience, it is never static.”

Microsoft isn’t the only video game publisher on that journey. Electronic Arts is also working on cloud gamingVariety got to see a tech demo in June. The app looks similar to Netflix and reportedly works on everything from smart TVs to low-end Chromebooks. It will support cross-play, along with something EA calls “continuous gaming,” where a person starts playing on one device, pauses, and swaps to another device seamlessly.

“The combination of streaming with a subscription can really transform the entire industry of gaming,” EA chief technology officer Ken Moss told Variety. “We’ve seen this happen in other forms of entertainment: movies, music, with this, gaming has that same opportunity.”

Publisher Ubisoft also believes cloud gaming is the future. Co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot said in June he thinks consoles only have one more generation left before they’re replaced by platform-agnostic devices and streaming. “I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware,” he said. “With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home.

“There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us.”

Microsoft will begin public trials for Project xCloud next year so it can learn and scale with different volumes and locations. “Our focus is on delivering an amazing experience that is additive to existing Xbox players and to empower developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players,” it said.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service

    Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant’s offerings without paying for them. According to the announcement, the offer is “always-on/not limited time,” and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Lapse May Have Exposed Customer Credit Card Data

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, confirmed that a security issue may have exposed customers’ records online, including credit card info. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. News of the data breach was first reported Tuesday by TechCrunch, which alleged that [...]

  • Tycho weather app

    This Website Creates Spotify & Apple Music Playlists Based on Your Local Weather

    Electronica musician Tycho launched a clever promotional website for his new album “Weather” this week: Visitors of Tycho’s website can use a web app to generate a playlist based on their local weather. Playlists can be saved to both Spotify and Apple Music, and consist of 25 songs, both from Tycho’s catalog as well as [...]

  • AT&T TV

    AT&T TV: An Unskinny Streaming Bundle That Looks a Lot Like Traditional Pay TV

    AT&T this week launched AT&T TV, a new subscription streaming television service that uses an Android-based internet set-top, in 10 markets. But the way it’s priced and packaged looks very similar to cable and satellite TV services — in other words, AT&T TV isn’t targeted at the cord-cutter crowd. It’s basically designed as a way [...]

  • Sofia Wylie arrives at Variety's Power

    Disney Channel Enlists Duplass Brothers for YouTube Hip-Hop Dance Series Starring Sofia Wylie

    Disney Channel’s first original scripted series made exclusively for release on YouTube is “Shook,” a hip-hop dance short-form series starring Sofia Wylie, produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. “Shook” will debut Saturday, Sept. 28, on Disney Channel’s YouTube channel. The scripted single-camera show centers on 15-year-old Mia (Wylie), who yearns to dance professionally but [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Is Getting Rid of Messaging Feature

    YouTube is killing off a feature that allowed users to share videos and other messages with each other. YouTube Messages, which was first introduced in January of 2017, will be turned off by September 18, the company announced this week. “We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content