Back in October we formally unveiled our work on Project xCloud: a vision for game-streaming technology that will complement our console hardware and give gamers more choices in how and where they play. Since then, we’ve been heads down and hard at work, preparing to launch the first public trials later this year. At the same time, we wanted to stay transparent about our progress and chat with the Inside Xbox team, showing you the first public demo of the technology in action.
One of the great developments in entertainment over the last decade is how easy and common it’s become to read, listen, or watch your digital content (often via streaming). We’ve seen this revolutionize the way people experience music and video, letting them dive in from wherever they wish and on whichever device is most convenient to them at the time. Applying this approach to the world of video games is a more challenging endeavor. Games by their very nature are interactive entertainment. – And that interactivity is a substantial difference from watching TV or listening to music. We now find ourselves at an inflection point, where current technology can deliver a console-quality experience with the right cloud infrastructure, content and community in place.
We’re developing Project xCloud not as a replacement for game consoles, but as a way to provide the same choice and versatility that lovers of music and video enjoy today. We’re adding more ways to play Xbox games. We love what’s possible when a console is connected to a 4K TV with full HDR support and surround sound – that remains a fantastic way to experience console gaming. We also believe in empowering gamers to decide when and how to play.
We believe in the future where you will be able to seamlessly access content on your phone, tablet or another connected device. Imagine that you just began a single-player campaign the day before heading out of town and want to keep playing from where you left off. Maybe you just need a few more minutes to wrap up that weekly challenge before you head into work, but your bus just won’t wait. Or maybe the living-room television is occupied by someone else in the household when you arranged to play co-op with your friends.
While our vision for the technology is complementary to the ways in which we use consoles today, Project xCloud will also open the world of Xbox to those who may not otherwise own traditional, dedicated gaming hardware. True console-quality gaming will become available on mobile devices, providing the 2 billion-plus gamers around the world a new gateway to previously console- and PC-exclusive content. We can achieve this vision with the global distribution of Microsoft’s datacenters in 54 Azure regions and the advanced network technologies developed by the team at Microsoft Research. We’re excited about our ability to deliver a best-in-class global streaming technology.
Project xCloud is an integral part of our vision for placing you the gamer at the center of your experience, giving you more choice in how and when you play. We’re excited to share more about the technology and our progress in the coming months, including the first details of how and when you can help us test it in real-world scenarios later this year.