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Microsoft demonstrates xCloud game streaming a week before Google’s ‘future of gaming’ event

Microsoft demonstrates xCloud game streaming a week before Google’s ‘future of gaming’ event


Entering public trials later this year

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Microsoft has provided a live demonstration of its upcoming Project xCloud game streaming service. The software maker originally unveiled xCloud last year, promising a cloud gaming service that streams games to PCs, consoles, and mobile devices. While CEO Satya Nadella promised trials later this year, we’ve still not heard a lot of detail about xCloud or when it will fully appear. Microsoft still doesn’t have any firm dates just yet, but the company has now demonstrated xCloud publicly for the first time.

During Microsoft’s Inside Xbox event last night, Microsoft showed off Forza Horizon 4 streaming from the company’s Azure datacenters to an Android device. An Xbox One controller was connected to the phone via Bluetooth, showing how it will be easy to stream games from the cloud to mobile devices.

Microsoft isn’t developing xCloud to replace consoles

Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s gaming cloud chief, appeared in the segment, and revealed in a blog post that the company isn’t trying to replace consoles with xCloud. “We’re developing Project xCloud not as a replacement for game consoles, but as a way to provide the same choice and versatility that lovers of music and video enjoy today,” explains Choudhry. “We’re adding more ways to play Xbox games.”

Microsoft’s reminder that xCloud exists and will enter public trials later this year comes just as Google is preparing to unveil what it calls “the future of gaming.” Google has teased it will unveil its vision for gaming at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) next week. Google is rumored to be publicly launching its own game streaming service, and the company may unveil its own game controller alongside the service.

Google isn’t the only competitor that Microsoft will face in cloud streaming, though. Sony has its own PlayStation Now service, and even lets you remotely play your PS4 games from an iPhone or iPad. Nvidia runs its GeForce Now game streaming service, and Shadow and Liquid Sky are also attempting to convince players that game streaming is the future. Microsoft and Google might be the big tech companies making noise about game streaming this year, but Amazon also looks like it will eventually stream games to your home.