Microsoft’s Project xCloud will stream Xbox games to phones

Microsoft’s Project xCloud service is in testing.


Microsoft revealed Monday that it’s testing an Xbox game streaming service, currently code-named Project xCloud.

The company demonstrated its work on the service so far in a blog post and video showing Forza and Halo games being played on Android phones and tablets. The games work both with an Xbox controller paired over Bluetooth and using a touchscreen overlay when there is no controller.

“Project xCloud’s state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device,” writes Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for cloud gaming.


When an Xbox controller isn’t available, a touch overlay is.


Public tests of the Project xCloud service are set to begin in 2019, with Microsoft saying the tests will help it “learn and scale with different volumes and locations.” The company has also built custom server hardware that hosts components from multiple Xbox One consoles, with plans to scale up as needed.

When asked if the test will include non-Xbox games such as those on PC or mobile, a Microsoft spokesperson said that while the company isn’t revealing specific games, it does hope the service will allow game streaming without having to involve a game developer.

“Our vision is for gamers to have access to the same content via game streaming that they do on other platforms, without any additional work required by the game developer,” the spokesperson said.

An Xbox game-streaming service of some kind was first teased by Microsoft at its E3 2018 press event in June. Game-streaming services themselves are not new: Sony has its PlayStation Now service; Ubisoft is partnering with Google to have Assassin’s Creed Odyssey stream in the Chrome browser; and Capcom’s Resident Evil 7 is available on Nintendo Switch in Japan via streaming.

But internet speeds, which vary greatly around the world, are often a challenge for these services. For now, Xbox has its Game Pass service, which currently only supplies downloadable games to its subscribers. The PlayStation Now service last month began supporting downloadable games.

First published Oct. 8 at 8:43 a.m. PT.
Update at 10:45 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Microsoft spokesperson.

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