While Microsoft’s game-streaming service isn’t ready for primetime yet, it’s further along than anyone thought: Project xCloud, which is currently being beta tested by Microsoft employees, can already stream 3,500 games from the cloud with another 1,900 games potentially titles on their way.
Microsoft unveiled these and other key details today in a new blog on the Xbox Wire, and says even more details will be revealed soon.
The key points in today’s post are that Microsoft has a number of games that are already compatible with the service from the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox game library, and claims that any game published on the Xbox One could be xCloud-compatible without any extra work from developers.
To stream these games to customers, Microsoft has deployed xCloud servers to data centers across 13 Azure regions – including North America, Europe and Asia – and says that it will continue to build more centers as development continues.
Just as interestingly, Microsoft says developers like Capcom and Paradox are currently running tests on the servers, and has updated its developer kit to include cloud-specific APIs. In some examples provided by Microsoft, the new developer tools allow creators to make multiplayer matches in the cloud more seamless by moving all connections to the same server and enables games to scale font size depending on the screen you’re using.
xCloud vs Now vs Stadia
Numerical data, believe it or not, is Microsoft’s greatest weapon at this point. Its biggest rival, Google Stadia, has yet to announce any details about the streaming service, telling journalists that more details would be revealed soon.
Knowing exactly how many games we can expect when the service launches (somewhere between 3,500 and 5,400) should give some credibility to Microsoft’s new game-streaming service, as should the number and locations of Microsoft’s Azure servers.
That last bit of information is so powerful, in fact, that even longtime rival Sony has said it would partner with Microsoft on building game-streaming technology. The pair announced a partnership last week, and say that it’s primarily based around the shared development of Azure cloud technology – something Sony could use in the next iteration of its PlayStation Now service.
While details are still light right now about both Google Stadia and Project xCloud, we expect to hear more about both at E3 2019 or shortly after.