The cloud: it’s coming
Xbox boss Phil Spencer makes a very quick pitch at the start of thisProject xCloud video: “what would we have to do to allow everyone to play Halo.” The answer is simple: “build a cloud gaming service.”
It’s been done before, and failed. Some say services like OnLive were too early to market. Some way they were mismanaged. Microsoft, along with publishers like Ubisoft and industry giants like Google, seem ready to take on the challenge. This time the scope is huge, as is the budget. Microsoft notes that Azure (cloud technology) supports 54 regions in 140 countries, and goes on to break down the data center infrastructure involved in this initiative, which includes new technology and 5G.
Microsoft also showcases Forzaon an Android phone, noting that the demo is “real live gaming,” and not a test or a simulated video. Spencer concludes the clip noting that “not everyone in the world is going to buy a gaming console: it’s about choice for you.”
Choiceseems key here. Microsoft has said time and time again that they aren’t abandoning the console model. This could simply be another way for Microsoft to branch out and beat their competition by the time the next generation rolls out.
Public trials for Project xCloud will begin in 2019. Right now the technology is working on phones and tablets paired with an Xbox controller via Bluetooth and touch input. Microsoft is developing new touch technology to make even the most complex games possible to play for people who don’t have access to a controller. “Ambitious” doesn’t even begin to cover this.