Microsoft unveils Project xCloud streaming service and reports encouraging Xbox growth
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”