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Letters from the Front

The future is now.

Project xCloud has been rolling out among its first testers and I was lucky enough to get an invite to test out this new technology from Microsoft and Xbox themselves. These tests provide an at-home sneak peak of its cloud-backed endeavor, serving low-latency Xbox One games to Android devices. Microsoft has a lot to prove in a world where Google and Sony are entering the streaming world and are now competing for people’s time and money.

I got my hands on Project xCloud a couple days ago and been playing around with it, Project xCloud is very impressive showcase. Microsoft’s concept and pitch easily translates to the average home and could be a replacement for hardware in the next couple generations.

This is my first hands on with Project xCloud since E3 2019. The demo at E3 was very impressive although it was confined. This beta test is a big step forward for the technology as it can show us what the technology can do in the real world and in public. After my E3 hands on, I was on board but now I’m definitely on board and a big believer in this technology as it proves its capability to deliver an authentic experience.

Xbox Game Streaming has always been a thing for Microsoft but it was never really doable until now, this long journey goes back to a decade when there were reports of internal testing. This final stretch sees Xbox One-based servers deployed across key territories and packaged with a dedicated Android application.

In my travels, away from home, I entered Project xCloud with ease and a fairly optimized setup. Microsoft is offering a strong lineup of four titles; Gears 5, Halo 5, Sea of Thieves, and Killer Instinct and each of these games offer new challenges for the service. I booted up Gears 5 and Project xCloud tamed the game, exhibiting low latency and clarity. I still believe that game streaming is genuinely ready for people like me and people like us, but this is a very good step forward.

Over a few hours, there were hiccups like low frames but they didn’t do much to kill the experience although, it will be interesting to see Project xCloud handle numerous services and network environments, both at home and abroad.

It also takes a bit of time to get things started like initializing the stream and booting the game itself up. Project xCloud uses session caching, similar to how the home console has saved instances; it won’t save your sessions but it has the flexibility to do other tasks on your phone like check Twitter, check Instagram, and you can go back to the game.

Outside of a few nitpicks, Project xCloud is very impressive and it’s going to revolutionize how we do things in gaming. Work still needs to be done like securing more titles, expanding features, and maybe allowing us to save our sessions but that raw technology is something else. Project xCloud is a game changer.

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