A preview version of Microsoft's cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, has gone live.
Microsoft is amongst a group of companies — including Google with its Stadia project — that have invested heavily in videogame streaming technology.
They see Netflix-style videogame consumption as the future of the medium.
The future of gaming?
Microsoft is inviting people to participate in the beta for Project xCloud, the software giant's gaming streaming service. For the preview, streaming will be limited to Gears 5, Halo 5: Guardians, Sea of Thieves, and Killer Instinct.
As Project xCloud is a streaming service, players will not have to download any of the titles - all they need is a steady and fast internet connection.
Cloud gaming is, of course, a technology in its infancy. However, large companies such as Google and Microsoft are no doubt looking to the future of greatly reduced latency with 5G.
Delivering game streaming globally
“Public preview is a critical phase in our multi-year ambition to deliver game streaming globally at the scale and quality of experience that the gaming community deserves and expects,” Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s cloud gaming chief, said in a blog post.
“It’s time to put Project xCloud to the test in a broader capacity, with a range of gamers, devices, network environments, and real-world use-case scenarios.”
Testers were asked to sign up in September. In order to do so, they needed a Microsoft account, an Android device running Android 6.0 or above with Bluetooth 4.0 support, and a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controller.
Microsoft will expand its library of games, and the accessibility to it worldwide, as the technology improves. The company is also working with mobile carriers to develop streaming technology that allows the service to work.
If cloud gaming is the future of the videogame industry, this is a tantalizing first step from Microsoft.