In addition to delivering players the games they want, with the people they want, across console and PC, Xbox is also empowering people to play wherever they want by bringing Xbox to the cloud.
First, Xbox announced the ability to stream games from your Xbox One console, starting in preview this October. With console streaming, gamers will have access to their Xbox One game library and Xbox Game Pass titles on the go, streamed directly from an Xbox One console to a mobile device.
The Xbox E3 Briefing also marked a new milestone for Project xCloud, with E3 2019 attendees being among the first in the world to play Xbox One games like Halo 5: Guardians and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice streaming on smartphones and tablets. With Project xCloud, Xbox is investing to ensure players have the choice and freedom to play the games they want, with the friends they want, how and where they want.
Project xCloud demo of Halo 5 nearly indistinguishable from local play
Only a few ms of additional input latency when streaming to a smartphone.
In our video tests, the time between tapping the A button and seeing a response on the smartphone screen took 16 frames of a 240fps video (or 67 milliseconds) across three subsequent tests. That's almost imperceptibly slower than the 63ms (milliseconds) input latency Digital Foundry measured on the Xbox One version of Halo 5 in 2017 tests.
Xbox head Phil Spencer says it 'makes sense' to bundle xCloud with Xbox Game Pass
"We haven't talked about the business model yet. We're here with the public preview to let people try it out, which is cool. It's the first time we've had a hands-on for people who don't work at Microsoft, so we're learning a lot and listening a lot. We announced a date for when it's coming, and we will be talking about a business model before it comes so people know what to do to sign up. As you think about a subscription like Xbox Game Pass, I do think the idea of Xbox Game Pass and an xCloud-like subscription makes a ton of sense. Think about what the convergence of those two things looks like. I think it's smart to think about. We haven't announced anything there, but I'd say that idea makes a ton of sense. How do I build my library? Xbox Game Pass is a great way for you to secure a bunch of content. Then, how do I get access to that library wherever I go? Do I use hardware that's Microsoft's or hardware that's my own in my home?"
We’re getting ready to roll out Console Streaming (Preview)! Console Streaming is our new Xbox One platform feature that lets you stream installed Xbox One games (including Xbox Game Pass titles) to your phone or tablet directly from the Xbox One you already own. Those with consoles in Alpha and Alpha Skip Ahead Ring in the US and UK can now test their home network, controller and console settings to get ready for the preview.
To run the test, go to Settings -> Network settings -> Test console streaming to get started. The on-screen prompts will let you know if your console, controller and network pass the test, or let you know if there’s anything that needs to be changed. For additional information on how to ensure your console and network are optimized for Console Streaming, please visit the Xbox Support website.
We’re looking forward to sharing more about Console Streaming (Preview) and what to expect in the coming weeks!
The issue for me, and for now, is that the size of the screen is tough. But if Project xCloud works this well on a phone, I have no doubt that Microsoft can make it work on a tablet, PC, or smart TV. And that is where it will really shine. Until then … wow. It’s still really impressive, with the one exception being the big load times on admittedly big games. I will keep testing, of course.
Thus far, Project Xcloud feels like a relatively painless way to get "portable" versions of full-fledged Xbox One games on your phone. I put "portable" in quotes there, of course, because Xcloud still requires a pretty good Wi-Fi connection and router, meaning playing away from the home is difficult to impossible in most situations (and streaming at home will also be difficult for many).
As average home and mobile bandwidth continues to increase, though, these problems could start to seem less and less relevant. And unlike Google's all-in-on-streaming Stadia, Microsoft says it's not aiming for Project Xcloud to fully replace the kind of local console gameplay you're used to (for now, anyway). That makes it a bit easier to grade it on a curve as a kind of "added bonus" mobile access option for when you can't play on the big screen.
Microsoft hasn't announced pricing or game access details for Xcloud yet, but we could see it being something of a killer extra feature added on to the company's existing Game Pass Ultimate subscription plan in some way. Merging downloadable access to hundreds of games on consoles and PCs with instant streaming access to those same games on the phone could be a compelling combination that helps bridge the gap to what Microsoft sees as an "inevitable" streaming gaming future.
Expanding the Designed for Xbox Ecosystem to Mobile Gaming
Today, we’re excited to announce that we will be expanding the Designed for Xbox ecosystem to include mobile gaming. Our Designed for Xbox program enables collaborations with top-tier hardware partners to deliver not only choice but also the best possible Xbox gaming experiences across console, PC, and now, mobile.
What does this mean for gamers interested in Project xCloud (Preview)? Well, soon there will be a wide array of Xbox-branded partner devices that are focused on mobile gaming – think controller clips, mobile-first controllers, and other hardware optimized for phones and tablets. We are working on a roadmap of products with experienced partners and are currently in talks with 8bitDo, Gamevice, HORI, PowerA, Razer, and more, to explore creating the best possible hardware experiences for Project xCloud.
The first Designed for Xbox product created with Project xCloud in mind is the MOGA Mobile Gaming Clip for Xbox Wireless Controllers. Designed in partnership with the Xbox Industrial Design team, this is an adjustable clip made to fit all Xbox Wireless Controllers that secures your phone in place while you play. Expertly engineered, the clip features dual locking articulation points so you can always set up the perfect viewing angle and fits most phones up to 3.12” (79mm) wide. By combining this clip with a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox Wireless Controller, you’ll have a comfortable and familiar way to use precision input when gaming on the go. The MOGA Mobile Gaming Clip for Xbox Wireless Controllers will launch in November and is available to preorder now from Microsoft Stores and other select retailers in the United States and United Kingdom for $14.99 USD.
Microsoft’s xCloud preview now has 50 new games, more than Stadia’s launch list
xCloud is expanding to a lot more games during the beta
Microsoft is expanding its Project xCloud preview today, with the addition of 50 games. The software maker originally launched the xCloud preview with just five titles exactly a month ago, and it’s now working with more than 25 partners to launch 50 games today. Titles include Madden NFL 20, Devil May Cry 5, Tekken 7, and Forza Horizon 4. This will give xCloud testers a lot more games to play, but also provide us with a better understanding of how the service will run for more demanding titles.