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Microsoft unveils details for Project xCloud public trial

It’s been a year in the making, but Microsoft is going through the final preparations to launch its game-streaming service, Project xCloud.

The project itself will allow Xbox gamers to play their favourite games by streaming the content onto their mobile devices. Although the technology giant has had to fit out its data centres with specialist servers to run the games, the extensive geographical footprint of its data centre network could make Microsoft a force to be reckoned with in the emerging cloud gaming segment.

“Our vision for Project xCloud is to empower the gamers of the world to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want,” said Kareem Choudhry, Corporate VP for Project xCloud at Microsoft.

“We’re building this technology so gamers can decide when and how they play. Customers around the world love the immersive content from Xbox in their homes and we want to bring that experience to all of your mobile devices.”

Next month, the public trial will be launched. The US, UK and Korea have been selected as the initial testing grounds, with consumers able to sign-up here. All you’ll need is a wireless controller with Bluetooth and a stable mobile internet connection of 10 Mbps.

“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,” said Choudhry.

“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, and this is where you come in.”

Although this is an exciting development in the emerging digital economy, be prepared for something to go wrong during the public test phase. There are still a huge number of unknowns when it comes to delivering the service and also the variables of dealing with different networks.

In the UK, Microsoft will be launching the service in partnership with Vodafone, while a pact has been made with T-Mobile in the US and SK Telecom in Korea. Each of these partnerships will offer Microsoft insight into how the streaming service performs with different network configurations. This is the first step of a multi-year project let’s not forget, there will be plenty of opportunity to optimise the service and experience as a result.

The first titles on the agenda will be Halo 5: Guardians, Gears 5, Killer Instinct and Sea of Thieves. Those who sign-up to the public trial will be given access for free, and there are plans to increase the library over the coming months. There isn’t word when the service will leave the trial phase and enter into the commercial fight, but Microsoft will have to be sharpish. The cloud-gaming segment is gathering steam and competitors are emerging.

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