You won’t need to download the games that you play in Project xCloud. Instead, they’ll be streamed from Microsoft’s servers which are currently using Xbox One S hardware. The latest update, via The Verge, is that there's a trial of dedicated PC servers for streaming PC games. Currently, these are being used to stream Xbox games to Windows 10 PCs, but it's likely Xbox Game Pass will become available to PC users so they can play PC games.
The report also says Microsoft plans to use Xbox Series X hardware in its servers in 2021. Each processor can handle four Xbox One S game sessions and it can encode video up to six times faster than current xCloud servers.
Microsoft wants to optimise the game streaming experience by offering multiple control options. The best way to play Project xCloud games is, of course, to use the official Xbox One Wireless Controller, but you’ll also be able to interact with games via touchscreen controls and other third-party controllers – as long as the controller features a similar button layout to the Xbox One controller.
It’s worth noting that Project xCloud isn’t designed to be a replacement for gaming PCs and consoles. Instead, Microsoft hopes that the game streaming service will open up high-end gaming to those who lack the necessary hardware.
It isn’t clear what sort of resolution and frame rate will be available on Project xCloud, but with Microsoft CVP of Gaming Cloud Kareem Choudhry stating that the company still values the console experience as it allows for 4K gaming, it’s possible that it won’t meet the promised [email protected] gameplay on offer from Google Stadia.
When will Project xCloud be released?
Microsoft was expected to make big announcements at the Game Developers Conference in May, but that was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
Again, The Verge says that Microsoft is on track to launch the service for Android users later in 2020. It is testing xCloud on iOS, but has run into problems because of restrictions imposed on apps in the App Store, meaning it cannot fully test the service.
We’ll update this article once Microsoft announces release date information, and you can learn about the best game streaming services which you can sign up to and start playing today.
If you want to, you can apply to join the Project xCloud Preview now and get a taste of Microsoft’s game streaming service before it’s launched worldwide. There are limited places, so it's not guaranteed you will be able to take part.
There are a few catches, with the biggest being that it’s only available to residents in the UK, US and South Korea right now. You’re also limited to 62 games (which we list below) instead of the huge catalogue of Xbox One and PC titles expected to be available once the service officially launches. Oh, and it's only on Android. See more below.
How much will Project xCloud cost?
There’s a big question mark surrounding Project xCloud pricing right now as, unsurprisingly, Microsoft isn’t talking about pricing while the service is still in a beta state. We anticipate that it’ll cost a similar amount to PlayStation Now, Sony’s rival cloud-based game streaming service, which costs £8.99/$9.99 a month.
The good news is that if you own an Xbox One and want to remotely play a game you already own, you’ll be able to use your console as your personal xCloud server, allowing you to stream games to any supported device completely free of charge.
How can I access Project xCloud?
During the preview period, Project xCloud is limited to Android devices featuring Android 6.0 or later and Bluetooth 4.0 or later. You’ll also need an Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth (the most recent version of the controller) and either 5GHz Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection with at least 10Mbps download speeds.
Microsoft opened the preview to 10,000 iOS users in early 2020, but the slots were taken almost immediately. The iOS preview is slightly more limited, only providing access to a single game - Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
What games can I play on Project xCloud?
While the list is expected to expand once the service officially launches, you can play the following games during the beta period:
- Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- Batman: The Enemy Within
- Batman: The Telltale Series
- Battle Chaser: Nightwar
- Black Desert Online
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
- Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
- Brothers: Tales of Two Sons
- Children of Morta
- Crackdown 3
- Darksiders 3
- Dead by Daylight
- Dead Island: Definitive Edition
- Devil May Cry 5
- Dirt Rally 2.9
- F1 2019
- Felix The Reaper
- Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour
- For The King
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo Wars 2
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Hello Neighbour
- Hitman: Game of the Year Edition
- Just Cause 4
- Kingdom Come: Deliverance
- Madden NFL 20
- Mark of the Ninja: Remastered
- MotoGP 19
- Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- PuyoPuyo Champions
- Recore: Definitive Edition
- Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Sniper Elite 4
- SoulCalibur 6
- State of Decay 2
- Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
- Tekken 7
- The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut
- The Hunter: Call of the Wild
- Tracks: The Train Set Game
- War Thunder
- Warhammer: Vermintide 2
- West of Dead
- World of Final Fantasy: Maxima
- World of Tanks
- World of Warships
- World War Z
- WRC 7
- WWE 2K20
- Yoku’s Island Express
Expect more to be announced ahead of the official release of Project xCloud.