Skip to main content

Microsoft unveils Xbox Project xCloud game streaming

At E3 2018, Microsoft announced that it was working on a game streaming service. Users would be able to play their games no matter if they were on a phone or tablet. Today, the company provided more details about "Project xCloud". In a post on the Official Microsoft Blog (opens in new tab), Kareem Choudhry, Corporate Vice President of Cloud Gaming said the following.

The highlights from this announcement have to be the ability to play on a smartphone or tablet, the fact that developers don't have to do any additional work, public trials are taking place in 2019, and that it's going to work with existing 4G networks and support 5G networks in the future.

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. Our vision for the evolution of gaming is similar to music and movies... Project xCloud is about providing gamers... new choices in when and where they play, while giving mobile-only players access to worlds, characters and immersive stories they haven't been able to experience before... Developers of the more than 3,000 games available on Xbox One today... will be able to deploy and dramatically scale access to their games across all devices on Project xCloud with no additional work... We'll begin public trials in 2019... Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and... push against the outer limits of what's possible on 5G networks.

The hurried Project xCloud announcement seems to be a result of Google's Project Stream test with Assassin's Creed Odyssey. However, Microsoft has an edge because the company is in a unique position to push out exclusive content created by teams like Playground Games or Ninja Theory. It's unclear what the future will hold, but it's definitely an exciting time to be a gamer. Console-quality games are going to become even more accessible in the near future.

Keep an eye on WindowsCentral.com/Gaming for all the latest in Xbox and Windows 10 gaming, accessories, news, and reviews!

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

51 Comments
  • What's good is that this will push more innovation and games to be developed.
  • Ya probably. The fact that Microsoft states it is building out the capability of this service to make no additional work needed from the scaling and deploying perspective is a good thing. Wonder how easily these games will actually be to produce that way, if there are other factors that Microsoft still needs to over come. None the less I hope Microsoft keeps ahead of the curve here. Good win for them.
  • I think everyone has completely missed the point...while being able to stream console games is fun and all...
    the real value is going to be streaming gaming/non-gaming experiences to Mixed Reality Glasses in couple years !!!
    With 5G just a year or two away...
    creating & evolving mixed reality streaming service is absolutely critical for Microsoft to stay relevant!
  • If MS moves at the pace they have in the past with leading tech (Mobile, Personal Assistants, etc.) Google will kick in the door and wipe the floor with MS by simply putting products out there while MS slowly trickles features forward.
    Microsoft needs to work like an underdog before they become one. Google already has a stranglehold on mindshare and it won't take much for them to get publishers to release titles on their service. Pair that with the massive Android game library and it shouldn't be hard for them to build and original content library.
  • The Android Game Library is just mobile games which can be played on any device. No console gamer will want to play Candy Crush on their consoles. Google has no "AAA" exclusives. It seems like Microsoft wants all of your existing games to stream anywhere. The main problem with Google I see is Chrome. It's a resource drain. No PC gamer will want to use that to stream Odyssey instead of just downloading it natively.
  • This isn't about pc gaming. Pc gaming is niche. This isn't about console gaming. This isn't about exclusivity. You missed the whole point.
  • what is the point?
  • Wait, so NOW exclusive are important?
    For years XB "fans" told me exclusives didn't matter. LOL
    People really need to get their story right and change opinion depending on whether it favours a company or not. :)
  • The biggest thing that MS has that will take time for Google to catch up to is an ecosystem MS already has tried and true good gaming ecosystem Google does not. MS has a huge lead on this with the power of Azure + Xbox this could be an easy fight to win.
  • I doubt that's true. It's not like they are having to push hardware. There are more devices out there already running chrome than xbox, PS and Nintendo put together by a large margin. Sure, people with an Xbox, PC, or a Gaming PC probably won't go in for it, but all those with a crappy notebook, an old desktop, android tablet etc etc will be the initial target audience. The inevitable free trial will gain some audience off the bat. Just depends on the pricing structure... Two tiers I'm guessing similar to EA's Access and there Premium thing...
  • Yea, like that will be the hard thing for Google to get... Be a ms fan, but also be a fan of tech. Ms has NO advantages here. Plus, isn't one of ms's biggest critiques is the fact that THEY don't have any exclusives lol
  • They have tons more exclusives than Google who currently has zero. Every game Google can provide in this service will be available on Microsoft's service. Google has nothing but 3rd party games...the same games Microsoft already has. The advantage Microsoft has is that they already know this industry as they are already apart of it, have AAA studios and are currently acquiring more. What games do Google make?
  • "We are selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling 0 phones a year" - S. Ballmer, 2007 Sounds familiar?
  • Except I said nothing about sales. Im talking about developer support and having their own first party studios. And understand, this Microsoft service will also be on Goggle's platform too. Google uses the popularity of their Android platform to get them apps and allows them to compete. That wont work in this space because they don't have a market and they only thing they can do is rely on the same 3rd party devs ALREADY working with Microsoft on Xbox. Unless Google starts developing their own games and studios or buying up talent, I don't see it. The popularity of Android benefits Microsoft here because this service will work on Android. Why use Google's implementation on an Android phone for example when Microsoft's service is also on that same phone and provides more games?
  • yes yes, keep explaining please!
  • Can not wait.
  • I also have to wonder if maybe ther is a tie in with game pass. Like all game pass games stream free.
  • I'm pretty sure all games will stream free if you own them. Something like that.
  • hnnnn..... who's paying the electricity bill?
    How many watt per person? Cost of electricity varies country to country right?
  • You really think that? Do you have a link to be so sure? For me, it looks like it'll be a paid service because it does cost money to maintain.
  • I wouldn't be surprised. I think Game Pass will become exactly like Netflix for gaming. You can access it on any device for GBP 10.00 per month. It will also include original content. Unless Google announces that it has purchased, or formed, studios for original content, they will struggle to get people to pay for their service. Google also needs to hurry the service from PCs to mobile devices.
  • The main limitation I see with Google's approach is Chrome. It hogs resources and is just a pain on weaker machines.
  • If Microsft wants this to take off then they need to make sure they make a proper Microsoft branded controller harness similar to the iPega 9023 game pad, otherwise it's just streaming games with even more complex controls than standard mobile games and sticking folks with the same crap touchscreen controls that drive console games away. It should fit phones and go up to the Surface line. The Go would actually be a perfect device to showcase an accessory like that.
  • I wonder if Razor and Microsoft have something planned for what you are detailing.
  • I would be ecstatic if they made something together because that picture they've been circulating of a smartphone slapped on top of an Xbox controller just isn't doing it for me or my friends. It's such a clunky solution and breaks the illusion of portability since you just mentally associate that with a home console, not a way to play your games on the go.
  • This will definitely have a subscription service of sort. Hope this service will include game pass and the ability to play multiplayer online.
  • If Microsoft is clever, they will create a bundle for all three, maybe make the price per annum to USD 150 for the lot (USD 15 per calendar month).
  • Did you earn your A's in math or were they gifted to you?
  • Haha. Ironically, yes. A* However, thank you for pointing out my error. The correct amount is USD 12.50 per month.
  • Sony moves to game downloading, Microsoft moves to game streaming.
  • Yes, but this is streaming for all of your existing titles. Not select old games on PS2.
  • of course MS wouldn't stream old PS2 games
  • LOL select old games on PS2? Please do your research, Asher Madan
  • MS "includes" game streaming?
    If you device is compatible (win10 UWP or XPA) and capable (enough HW power) to run the game, why stream? * just in case, Xboxes runs Win10+UWP. Curious, are those downloadable PSN games graphically enhanced?
  • This seems like it is a good advert for UWP. The foundations for this could be seen in Xbox Play Anywhere. Utilising the cloud is a great idea, especially with the expansion of Azure regions in 2019 (learnt while my company was migrating to office 365). Microsoft really seems to be pushing on most aspect of ubiquitous computing.
  • I assume the name X-stream is already taken because it's a far more fitting.
  • It's probably going to be Xbox Cloud.
  • a good move
  • UWP games on any device? I'm sure n Microsoft Store. Bye bye Steam 😂
  • I've been playing with a static IP via the Xbox app for a long while now, that kinda does the same thing, It works but not always. So as someone that travels alot, this Xcloud announcement is perfect. Can't wait to get my hands on it.
  • ". Developers of the more than 3,000 games available on Xbox One today... "
    LOL XB1 has 3000 games? LOL Ok
  • Well, how many games does it have? You have to remember the number includes indie titles, Windows 10 PC, and the previous 2 consoles, not just the Xbox 1.
  • Even if you want to include the 533 BC (listed on XB's site) and you want to include all games that are sold on the XB official store (many of which are either repeated or are not even released) we aren't even reaching 2000.
    And no, we can't add Win 10 games because a game like AOE DE is not on XB1.
    The statement clearly says "available on Xbox one today".
  • Got it, thanks. I didn't see the today part, and I was thinking about the possibility of the new Xbox being able to run W10 games in the future.
  • I’m just going to preemptively fire myself as to avoid all the general awkwardness that this service is going to create for my employer, my family and myself when it’s available and ready to ruin my life.
  • I second that.
  • This new Xcloud platform marks the beginning to the end of same old existing restrictive browser layout, BUT the beginning to the limitless CShell-WinCoreOS combo powers display layout that app gap will soon be the past with Android App or MacOS application as a service on demand from the Azure cloud. Everything will be UWP from the ground up. The beginning to the end of Winform, & WPF.
  • More importantly, there will be new demand for a device that free us from the same old mee too display layout: Andromeda or hololens 3
  • Similar to music.... So it's going to be canned out of the blue once people start using it.
  • I don't think Ms have a chance of getting this to work. Xbox streaming to my surface over AC Wifi in the same room still is glitchy and laggy. They've had years to work on it and it still doesn't work right. Now try imagin doing that when you have to hop through 20 routers on the internet. Also, They are going to run the servers in their azure datacenters, which are atleast 80 ping for me, that's insane levels of input lag. So no racing games, fighting games, shooters, or anything else twitchy. Just puzzle games.
  • 100+ years ago, no one believed in flying machines. Microsoft spent at least 1 billions US$ per quarter to upgrade and expand cloud infrastructure. Latency issue is simply a question of time.