Microsoft have been openly teasing their upcoming game streaming service for a while now – a sort of Netflix for gamers. They have been dropping teasers here and there, including some to when it could be available.
Codename Project xCloud – the service is designed to work across consoles, PCs, and even mobile devices. Microsoft’s cloud gaming chief Kareem Choudhry gave a preview of xCloud last October, adding that public trials will begin in 2019 so the company can “learn and scale with different volumes and locations”. Fast forward to today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said the public trials will begin “later this year”.
With that rather vague timescale, we can only presume that means towards the end of the year.
Microsoft have built custom hardware in its data centers in preparation for the service and they are working to ensure existing and future Xbox games will be compatible with the service. The games themselves will be streamed to devices, so Microsoft’s research teams are “creating ways to combat latency” using advanced network techniques combined with video encoding and decoding.
Microsoft also plans to use its Azure cloud network to provide more server access points around the world, which could reduce latency/lagging issues , instead of signals traveling across continents, they could be coming from much closer to the user.