I STREAM OF GENIUS
Microsoft’s thinking outside the Xbox with its streaming project
We’ve always loved videogames here at Games Master (as you might have guessed). We’ve always loved silly names, too. Microsoft’s bringing the two together with Project xCloud – hooray! The industry still has a long way to go if it’s to prove that streaming is the future, but this development is interesting, if nothing else. Bouncing around on lots of puffed-up PR phrases such as “empowered”, “gaming experience”, and “minimal footprint”, Microsoft’s announcement revealed that it’s currently testing a system that will bring Xbox games to a wide variety of devices. The idea is that players will be able to access their games on Xbox One, PC… or their mobile devices such as phones and tablets. All thanks to the power of streaming.
If you fancy playing Halo on your tablet or Forza on your phone, you can either use a wireless Xbox controller via Bluetooth, or use touchscreen controls. The latter option has always been rather awkward on mobile devices, but Microsoft claims it has something special up its collective sleeve for this.
Blue sky thinking
The system relies on the cloud computing service Microsoft Azure. Already globally established – “with datacentres in 54 Azure regions and services available in 140 countries” – a big chunk of the important work is already done, though we’ll still be at the mercy of our broadband providers (and that’s the reason why Switch streaming is currently confined to Japan, which has super-speedy connections) so Microsoft will have to overcome that for its streaming service to succeed. It’s promised that latency will be way down, while frame rates and general graphical loveliness will be way up.
Some lovely promises, then, but whether they’re delivered remains to be seen. While there are questions about how games companies will be paid, and what this means for DLC, Microsoft has enough devs in-house to start with its own games. If anyone can do it, surely a company as big as Microsoft can.
“PLAYERS WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS THEIR GAMES ON XBOX ONE, PC… OR MOBILE DEVICES SUCH AS PHONES”
Just think. Thanks to Microsoft, this could be you in the near future. Wearing a cream cardigan. Imagine that!
Steering with touchscreen controls? Hmm, not sure. But Microsoft is convinced it can make that work.