Last year, Microsoft made waves when it unveiled its Project xCloud streaming service. Its streaming technology would allow users to stream games to any device, which would, in theory, allow players to stream Xbox One games to cell phones. Project xCloud sounded like a tantalizing prospect that could potentially make gaming a lot more affordable and accessible.
At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March, Microsoft will be shedding more light on Project xCloud including the technological infrastructure behinds it “Netflix of games.” However, the description of the GDC presentation itself has also offered up an interesting tidbit: that Project xCloud will support all digital Xbox One games. “Any Console Native game currently shipping in the Microsoft Store on Xbox will be capable of streaming to a mobile device,” explained Microsoft in a description on the GDC website.
It seems likely that by “console native,” Microsoft is saying that games available on Xbox One through backward compatibility would not be playable through Project xCloud. But this should still mean that every other game available digitally on Xbox One will be compatible with the streaming service. Considering that most Xbox One games (if not all) can be downloaded as well as (or instead of) purchasing a physical copy, the console’s entire library would be supported.
This one factor could make Microsoft’s streaming service a major player in the market. Project xCloud already has some strong competitors in the form of Google’s Project Stream. Online retailer Amazon is reportedly working on a game streaming service too. If Microsoft is able to offer every native Xbox One game on Project xCloud automatically, while Google and Amazon have to work to make games compatible with their services, that’s a huge win.
Microsoft hasn’t stated when Project xCloud will have a full launch or even begin public testing. Google’s Project Stream is already in testing and users have been impressed with how smooth Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ran on the service. Similar tests for Project xCloud would help to prove the potential of the service and would conjure up additional interest.
The talk at GDC could provide more information on that front. According to the description of the GDC presentation, the focus will mostly be on the technological side of Project xCloud. But maybe, Microsoft will reveal when fans can enjoy the ambitious game streaming service for themselves.