But Microsoft says it's working on "a new, game-specific touch input overlay" that would make it possible to play streamed Xbox games on a mobile touchscreen device without any third-party hardware. In preparation, Microsoft revealed its work on custom hardware for its existing data centers that can support Xbox components with plans to expand out to its 54 Azure cloud-computing regions covering 140 countries over time.
When it's finally ready, Microsoft claims Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks, while also dynamically scaling to push against the outer limits of what's possible on 5G networks. Xbox and Project xCloud merely share a letter.
Microsoft has revealed its ambitious quest to take on the world of video game streaming with the reveal of Project xCloud, a service which will allow users to stream AAA and indie games directly to "any" device.
Xbox One owners have been told about an interesting new service is being built by Microsoft with their console games collection in mind. But if Google, Nvidia and Microsoft are any indication, the future of gaming might be in the cloud. The use of Azure moves the computational part of games off the device to the cloud so that it is no longer necessary to have lots of RAM, a fast video card or processor to play certain games.
In its bid to address the two major technical hurdles to game streaming, latency and UI considerations, the company is relying on previous work done by Microsoft Research to overcome these challenges.
"Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using", Microsoft Gaming Cloud Corporate Vice President Kareem Choudhry explained in a Monday blog post.
"We are looking forward to learning with you during our public trials next year", writes Choudry. Microsoft made no mention of price. This means that Microsoft will be able to easily scale Project xCloud once it becomes a reality. It could also bring millions of new customers into the gamer fold by offering them high-end, AAA titles on their smartphones and tablets, which are becoming more powerful each year. Whether it is necessary to purchase these games or pay extra to play these games remains to be seen.
Microsoft is well aware that a lot of consumers don't have a fast Internet connection today, and that's why the Redmond giant is now experimenting with some unique things to improve latency on average connections. Sony offers its own streaming service on PlayStation already and Electronic Arts is pouring money into development of its own service as well. I am not a fan of using touch-based controllers on games.