Microsoft offers preview of 'Project xCloud' service to stream Xbox games to iPhones and i...

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Microsoft has demonstrated 'Project xCloud,' an in-development cloud-based gaming service that streams gameplay to consumer devices including iPhones and iPads instead of being rendered locally, a service that is expected to enter public testing later this year.




Microsoft's gaming aspirations has largely been limited to Windows PCs and to its Xbox console line, with relatively few games making the move to other platforms, such as iOS. While elements of Xbox Live are available on mobile devices and elsewhere, with Microsoft also preparing a software development kit to allow games on other platforms to tap into the service's multiplayer and social elements, Microsoft has demonstrated it has other things planned as well.

Originally announced in October, Project xCloud is a game-streaming system where games are rendered in the cloud and streamed live to the users device, such as a console or a smartphone. Shown off for the first time in public on Tuesday, video footage of the rendered game is streamed over the internet to the device, while game inputs are sent from the user to the cloud servers.

By rendering the game in the cloud and streaming the video, it can enable users to enjoy console-level graphical quality on all devices, regardless of specification, so long as they are capable of handling a video stream.





The concept of cloud-based game streaming is not new, as it has been used by OnLive, Nvidia's GeForce Now, and Blade's Shadow services. In Microsoft's case, its main attractions are the Xbox branding and game library, as well as the usage of the Xbox Live platform.

In the demonstration, Forza Horizon 4 was being streamed to an Android smartphone, which was connected to an Xbox controller via Bluetooth. Given Microsoft's work on the SDK over the years, it should be platform-agnostic, and also work with iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices, as well as potentially with smart TV boxes that are capable of handling video streams in general.

Microsoft insists Project xCloud is "not a replacement for game consoles," but to provide the "same choice and versatility that lovers of music and video enjoy today" with seamless gameplay across devices. The company suggests a user may want to start a single-player campaign in a game on a console before heading out, then continuing where they left off from another location, to play games while in transit, or to continue gameplay in another room when the living room television is occupied.

"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," advises Microsoft CVP of Gaming Cloud Kareem Choudhry. "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."

More details about Project xCloud will be shared by Microsoft in the coming months, with the tech giant also indicating it will be opening the service up for testing by the public in "real-world scenarios" later in 2019.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,297member
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.

    edited March 13
  • Reply 2 of 12
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,591member
    Its over simplistic to state that all you need is a device that can stream the video.  There is also the controller input which has to get back to the platform quick enough so that your input is reflected in the game without any perceivable delay.  Most games aim for 60-130ms of latency, now add on the round trip time of your input being sent to the game and the response returned via the video feed. This additional latency kills game streaming, especially for FPS and driving games, even in the Xbox video you can see latency when she plays Forza. PS Now, Shadow etc are all compromised by latency. The only game streaming that is acceptable has been Geforce and Steam streaming and that's on a local network.  Best stick to dedicated devices such as PC and consoles for gaming unless you are a casual AF gamer who can accept a sub par experience.
    edited March 13
  • Reply 3 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,297member
    irnchriz said:
    Latency kills game streaming, especially for FPS and driving games, even in their video you can see latency when she plays Forza. PS Now, Shadow etc are all compromised by latency. The only game streaming that is acceptable has been Geforce and Steam streaming and that's on a local network.  Best stick to dedicated devices such as PC and consoles for gaming unless you are a casual AF gamer who can accept a sub par experience.
    https://www.resetera.com/threads/having-tried-googles-project-stream-i-think-latency-issues-are-completely-overblown.74446/
  • Reply 4 of 12
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,591member
    gatorguy said:
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.

    You clearly missed the 'originally announced in October' part of the article then.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,297member
    irnchriz said:
    gatorguy said:
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.

    You clearly missed the 'originally announced in October' part of the article then.
    You clearly missed the date of this article then, along with the fact that Microsoft is choosing to announce it again today with multiple promos/PR pieces across a plethora of tech blogs from this one to Ars to the Verge to Engadget et.al.
    edited March 13
  • Reply 6 of 12
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,591member
    gatorguy said:
    irnchriz said:
    Latency kills game streaming, especially for FPS and driving games, even in their video you can see latency when she plays Forza. PS Now, Shadow etc are all compromised by latency. The only game streaming that is acceptable has been Geforce and Steam streaming and that's on a local network.  Best stick to dedicated devices such as PC and consoles for gaming unless you are a casual AF gamer who can accept a sub par experience.
    https://www.resetera.com/threads/having-tried-googles-project-stream-i-think-latency-issues-are-completely-overblown.74446/
    You cannot avoid latency, there is no magic bullet out there, you also have to combine it with network quality.  Streaming video from Netflix et al maintains quality throughout the stream by buffering, you cannot buffer a gaming stream so if there are any streaming issues the whole thing drops in quality and can become a pixelated mess.  Now unless you are on a leased line circuit with its pop close to the streaming servers you are going to add 10's of ms to the input latency, which for some games is already bordering on being perceivable.  

    The same crap was trotted out by onlive and their input lag was horrendous.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Didn't Apple crap all over this when Steam tried it last year?
  • Reply 8 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,457member
    gatorguy said:
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.

    I wonder what company that could be that you are so protective of ... err... nah ... no idea ...  ;

    Go Microsoft!  :)
    edited March 13
  • Reply 9 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,297member
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.

    I wonder what company that could be that you are so protective of ... err... nah ... no idea ...  ;

    Go Microsoft!  :)
    I would have thought that the "G" logo at the end of the video would have been a clue DP. 
    edited March 13
  • Reply 10 of 12
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,169member
    Can I play gta 5 on my iPhone SE then?
  • Reply 11 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,457member
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.

    I wonder what company that could be that you are so protective of ... err... nah ... no idea ...  ;

    Go Microsoft!  :)
    I would have thought that the "G" logo at the end of the video would have been a clue DP. 
    G?  No... no idea.  Wait ... Groupon?   
  • Reply 12 of 12
    gatorguy said:
    Well of course Microsoft is trotting this out now, and for PR reasons. There's another big gaming announcement being made within a few days by someone NOT Microsoft which they would prefer to minimize the importance of.


    Ah fuck! You made me look!!
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