Originally teased at this years E3 gaming conference, Microsoft have today unveiled their game-streaming service, Project xCloud and quite frankly I am blown away. For those that haven’t heard of the concept – game-streaming (otherwise known as cloud-gaming or simply as cloud-computing) is the process of using a host computer to do all of the difficult processing, while actually gaming on a significantly less powerful device.
This has been proposed by other companies in the form of using your home computer to do all of the processing work, and then using a less powerful device like a laptop or tablet to game on. Cool idea right? Being able to play graphic intense, big games on your cheapo laptop… brilliant.
Well Microsoft have taken it to the next level with Project xCloud – their proposal involves doing all of the technical work on their end and streaming that content straight to your device. Which bypasses your need to buy any sort of console or gaming device! Now while this isn’t groundbreaking tech or an unbelievably far fetched concept, it’s definitely the closest thing we’ve seen to a functional version of the service.
SO HOW WILL THIS AFFECT ME?
It means you can game without an Xbox, Playstation or any gaming device for that matter. You’ll be able to play the latest and greatest video games right on your mobile phone. It’s currently unclear whether Project xCloud will be available on iPhones as the announcement only demonstrated Android, however I can’t imagine they would be excluded.
WHAT’S THE CATCH?
Well there are a few things to consider… Firstly, we don’t even have a remote idea of how much this service will cost or what pricing model they’ll be working off. In the age of Netflix, my best bet would be a subscription based service that allows access to a library of games but there really isn’t any way of knowing.
Secondly the cost of data is a big concern for Australians. Microsoft have said they expect this service to take full advantage of both 4G and 5G network services to make this happen, but not only do we not have a time-frame for 5G down under, we also still have relatively high mobile data costs when compared to the rest of the world.
There’s also the question of ‘playability’ as I’ll call it. We’ve seen that this service can be controlled using touch-input as opposed to with bluetooth controller, but how functional is that? What chance are you in Halo with your onscreen controls and wireless connection against some nerd at home with his high speed internet and dorito-dusted controller? I’d argue not much.
Check out Microsoft’s announcement video for Project xCloud;
All things considered I’m incredibly excited for this product at a conceptual level and am eager to see how it fits into the gaming industry on release in 2019.