Mi­crosoft un­veils Project xCloud stream­ing ser­vice and re­ports en­cour­ag­ing Xbox growth

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Xbox is at the heart of an all­new ecosys­tem which prom­ises to al­low any­body and ev­ery­body to en­joy the very best videogames on the planet.

Gam­ing is still very much di­vided by brand al­le­giance. If you want to play the best that Xbox has to of­fer you’ll need to in­vest in an Xbox One – this is the way the in­dus­try works. At least, that’s how it did work. But what if you could play Forza Hori­zon 4 on your An­droid phone while you’re stuck in traf­fic on the M25? What if you could en­joy Halo In­fi­nite on a tablet as the rest of your house­hold watches The

Great Bri­tish Bake Off? And wouldn’t it be cool if you could en­gage in Gears

5 co-op­er­a­tively with your bud­dies, re­gard­less of whether they have an Xbox, a phone, or a PC in front of them? That’s a fu­ture that Mi­crosoft is posit­ing as it of­fi­cially re­veals Project xCloud, a ‘state-of-the art global game-stream­ing’ ser­vice that will truly put you at the cen­tre of your en­tire gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Imag­ine it, ac­cess to your full li­brary of Xbox One games from any­where at the touch of a but­ton, and Mi­crosoft be­lieves this could ar­rive as early as 2019.

“The fu­ture of gam­ing is 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,” says Ka­reem Choudhry, Mi­crosoft’s cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent of gam­ing and cloud tech­nol­ogy. “Our vi­sion for gam­ing is sim­i­lar to mu­sic and movies – en­ter­tain­ment should be avail­able on de­mand and ac­ces­si­ble from any screen.”

On the up

It’s no se­cret that the Xbox One had a rocky launch and has been fight­ing to re­gain lost ground ever since. But it looks like the tide is fi­nally turn­ing. Mi­crosoft re­ported rev­enue of $2.6 bil­lion for Q1 2019 from its gam­ing divi­sion – com­pared to $1.9 bil­lion in Q1 of 2018 – while the Xbox hard­ware rev­enue has grown 95 per cent yearon-year thanks to the huge up­take in Xbox One X and Xbox One S sys­tems.

Xbox Live users now stand at 57 mil­lion play­ers, an in­crease of four mil­lion over the year, no doubt helped by the in­tro­duc­tion of Game Pass, which gives Xbox One sub­scribers dayand-date ac­cess to all-new first party games along­side an ar­ray of awe­some third-party ti­tles, and Play Any­where, which lets you en­joy your pur­chases be­tween both your Xbox One con­sole and a Win­dows 10 PC. Per­haps it’s no sur­prise to see Mi­crosoft com­mit­ting to an ex­pan­sion of Game Pass, bring­ing the ser­vice to PC play­ers in an ef­fort to fur­ther bol­ster Xbox glob­ally.

The new tech­nol­ogy makes use of Mi­crosoft’s Azure ser­vices, the cloud tech that the com­pany has been us­ing to power Xbox Live. The com­pany al­ready has data cen­tres in 54 Azure re­gions across the globe and the folks at Mi­crosoft Re­search are cur­rently work­ing on ways to com­bat la­tency, im­prove game scal­a­bil­ity, and to push what game stream­ing is ca­pa­ble of across 4G and 5G net­works. It’s smart, both in terms of tech and busi­ness savvy, and it all means the fu­ture of Xbox is look­ing very bright in­deed.

“Imag­ine it, ac­cess to your full li­brary of Xbox One games from any­where”

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