Microsoft is joining the streaming revolution, announcing plans to launch a game streaming service through its Xbox console.
Project xCloud will let players stream Xbox One games to computers, phones and tablets. The company expects to begin public trials of the service next year.
Xbox head Phil Spencer first teased the streaming service in June at E3, the video game industry’s annual trade show.
Microsoft says game developers will be able to deploy their games to Project xCloud “with no additional work”.
“Our focus is on delivering an amazing added experience to existing Xbox players and on empowering developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players across devices,” the company said in a statement. “Our goal with Project xCloud is to deliver a quality experience for all gamers on all devices that’s consistent with the speed and high-fidelity gamers experience and expect on their PCs and consoles.”
Cloud streaming is a technology that is being studied in all corners of the video game world. Sony offers its own streaming service on PlayStation already and Electronic Arts is pouring money into development of its own service as well.
“The greatest disruption of entertainment is the combination of streaming and subscription,” says Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. “More people are engaging, with less friction, through cloud-driven services.”
Microsoft has some advantages on its side, though, including its Azure cloud computing system, which has data centers in 54 regions and services available in 140 countries. It’s expected to feel increased competition from Amazon and Google, though.
Amazon already owns the Twitch game streaming service, though hasn’t used that as a game distribution vehicle yet. Google, meanwhile, recently announced Project Stream, letting members of a closed beta test play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in a Google Chrome tab.