Here's an exclusive early look at Project xCloud's Xbox game streaming setup wizard

Project XCloud
Project XCloud (Image credit: Windows Central)

Project xCloud is on the horizon, and it will come in two separate flavors. One version of xCloud, the one we tried at E3 2019, will allow you to stream from a pool of games directly from Microsoft's servers, anywhere in the world. In order to set up this service, Microsoft will have to enter into discussions with publishers to get their games onto the system. We have reason to believe it will be tied up to the Xbox Game Pass subscription, and most likely feature a similar library of titles.

The other flavor of xCloud, will give you access to all of your personally-owned Xbox games, utilizing your home internet connection and console as a server. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans recently gave us a glimpse at the set-up wizard for this version of xCloud, which could be right around the corner.

Related: How to play Xbox Project xCloud preview tests

Initially, the setup wizard will ask you to run through a series of tests to determine whether or not your network environment is prepared for personal streaming. It tests your upload speed, whether the correct ports are open either via port forwarding or UPnP, and whether you have a controller compatible with a connected mobile device. To utilize xCloud personal streaming, you'll also have to ensure your console's power-saving mode is disabled.

Once your network environment has been configured properly, and your Bluetooth controller paired and registered up to the service, it looks like you'll be ready to go. Microsoft employees currently have access to xCloud in Preview, helping the Xbox team test out and finalize the service's features.

At E3 2019, we got to try out the cloud-based variant of xCloud ourselves, and found it to be rather staggering. Hitting Gears of War active reloads was a breeze, with minimal latency and artifacting, despite the fact the video feed was being streamed from a data center some three hundred miles away.

Personal xCloud servers won't even have to contend with such long distances and should serve as an excellent option for streaming games to another device in your home, or further afield if your internet connection can handle it. I'm not expecting to be able to play twitch-shooters on this thing, but there are dozens of slower-paced titles that would lend themselves well to personal xCloud streaming, even if you need the full might of Microsoft's Azure cloud to play some of the more reaction-intensive titles.

The future for Xbox is increasingly exciting, and that future is just around the corner, with xCloud beta testing prepped to go live before the end of the year. Maybe some parts will arrive sooner than expected?

Related: Project xCloud is real, it is insane.

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Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Looking forward to getting this this year. Will absolutely use this.
  • Same, will be ace for slower-paced games like Mutant Year Zero and Darkest Dungeon even if there's some lag.
  • Very impressive can't wait for them to release this. Im guessing that if Im using my Xbox to stream a game to my phone, I can't play on my Xbox at the same time? Either way, pretty cool stuff glad to see Xbox catching up Playstation apparently has a form of this already
  • Sony's Remote Play is notoriously finicky, limited, and unreliable. Technically they were first, but there's a reason Sony is turning to Microsoft for their future cloud streaming ventures.
  • Did you even try it? It all depends on the internet speed. If you have unreliable internet any streaming service will be unreliable.
    Also here they are referring to remote play, why are you talking about cloud streaming?
  • Yeah, that's not true, I've had more dropouts with Xbox's current streaming offer over LAN than with Sony's, but we have really fast 4G data in Oz, so that's probably why.
  • I'm confused. From what Spencer said at E3, console streaming and XCloud are two separate features. What is shown is console streaming. The feature that's similar to PS's remote play...
  • They're both XCloud. They mentioned this at E3. Using your console just doesn't require using Microsoft's XCloud servers.
  • I posted the video of E3 where he talked about it.
    Spencer (E3 2019)- "... by bringing Xbox to the cloud. We will do this in two ways, through project XCloud and through console streaming."
  • A) console at home ↔ public internet ↔ server ↔ public internet ↔ phone.
    B) console in the cloud / server ↔ public internet ↔ phone.
    C) console in the cloud / server ↔ public internet using Kahawai ↔ Xbox (and possibly WinClassic and WCOS).
    All those are xCloud service.
  • I posted a direct quote by Phil Spencer at E3 2019 with the youtube link to the exact time.
    You post a bunch of words and arrows.
    That's the difference between your copy-pasted bs and my post with proof/evidence.
  • I thought he said that Console Play was the free version of Xcloud.
  • But did you watch the video?
    "... by bringing Xbox to the cloud. We will do this in two ways, through project XCloud and through console streaming."
    After that he describes XCloud and then talks about console streaming.
  • Ah, I guess I misunderstood what he said/meant. I was just going off of memory. I'm not really sure if it matters much if it's considered parts of the same service, except maybe the branding would be confusing to people.
  • No, I actually remember someone say it's part of XCloud too. Now I don't remember who it was whether it was someone from windowscentral or MS. So I went back to watch that part of the E3 conference to make sure what Spencer actually said.
    And here I got more confused because Jez (who is someone who probably the most informed gaming writer over here) say it's part of XCloud. That's why I was asking.
    I guess it doesn't matter much. It's just for my understanding. I came in here thinking I was going to see actual XCloud not the console streaming feature.
  • They are two separate services - that come under the same umbrella, xcloud. The console streaming is free, and the cloud streaming it subscription.
    Almost like xbox live silver & xbox live gold. The free one is local, the paid on one.... on the cloud!?!
  • Did you watch the link I posted where Spencer said:
    "... by bringing Xbox to the cloud. We will do this in two ways, through project XCloud and through console streaming."
  • Cannot wait for this. Being able to play XBox from bed (my One X is in my basement) while my wife watches her shows will be a God-send.
  • You can do this now. Actually, you could have done this for a couple of years with a laptop/desktop/surface device.
    I'm assuming you mean you can finally now do this with *your smartphone*... but I'm having a hard time reconciling that there are people out there who ONLY have a cellphone and a gaming console in their home and no other devices.
  • New hope for windows phone? if it comes back with updated specs like Asus ROG Phone 2 and the ability to play Xbox games, it will be the ****!
  • It will be s-h-1-t I agree. That phone is dead and will never come back from the ashes.
  • So it sounds like you can't buy your own games for xCloud (flavor #2) unless you own an Xbox. This is extremely disappointing and negates one of the main benefits of cloud gaming technology: to be able to play games you buy on any screen without owning a console.
  • Then you're better off getting Stadia, there is still an option for you.
  • No that's talking about the console streaming part. Not the cloud streaming service. Which is different.
  • You can buy your games (and do your Ultimate sub) using MS web store or Win10 Store app. A) console at home ↔ public internet ↔ server ↔ public internet ↔ phone.
    B) console in the cloud / server ↔ public internet ↔ phone.
    C) console in the cloud / server ↔ public internet using Kahawai ↔ Xbox (and possibly WinClassic and WCOS).
    All those are xCloud service.
  • I don't think so. The "console in the cloud" appears to be Game Pass games only. No "console in the cloud" + buy your own games.
  • Imagine making an article about an installation wizard.
  • So maybe I'm confused and don't understand how these actually work. I was under the impression that with Xcloud, I could play MY purchased XBOX games on my phone anywhere I am as long as I have a good enough internet connection. Reading this article, I get the feeling I will ONLY be able to play my own purchased games as long as I am connected to my home network. This would be completely useless to me as I have been able to play XBOX on my laptop for years while at home. I want to be able to sit at work on my lunch break and plug a controller in to my phone and play my own games from my console with my saves. Is this not going to be the case?