It's either go big or go home for Microsoft's forthcoming xCloud game streaming service. Apparently, the company is packing three generations' worth of titles into its cloud gaming platform, spanning games across Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Microsoft has been testing the service with employees recently, letting them take it anywhere to test its streaming capabilities. At present, the company is building the server infrastructure required for xCloud, but as early as now, the company says it will have the ability to "stream more than 3,500 games." Even more impressive, developers won't even have to make changes to their titles at all.
Capcom and Paradox are just some of the few developers working closely with Microsoft to test xCloud, which comes ahead of public trials scheduled later this year.
"We've already deployed our custom Project xCloud blades to datacenters across 13 Azure regions with an initial emphasis on proximity to key game development centers in North America, Asia and Europe," according to Kareem Choudhry, the company's cloud gaming chief. At this, expect xCloud to debut in more places than just the United States alone.
xCloud Game Streaming Service
Microsoft will be giving developers the ability to tweak their games specifically for streaming. For example, they can tweak the typefaces on their games to account for xCloud being streamed on small displays. They can even host multiplayer matches on a single server the keep latency down and keep overall gameplay smooth and lag-free.
xCloud is primed to go head-to-head with Sony's PlayStation Now service, but don't expect a full-on rivalry this time around, as both companies have recently announced to make peace with each other and partner up for the sake of the future of cloud gaming. Their most apparent competitor will be Stadia, Google's low-latency, stream-from-anywhere cloud gaming service that's expected to shake up the gaming industry and overhaul it significantly.
Microsoft is still mum on the most crucial details, such as a proper release date — or even a public trial date. It has been confirmed, though, that public testing will occur sometime later this year. Microsoft is also expected to share the finer points of xCloud at its E3 conference in June. It says that'll be its biggest, most significant show yet. With Sony skipping E3 this year, and Nintendo continuing to debut Direct presentations as it's done for several years past, Microsoft has a real chance of stealing most of the spotlight at E3, considered to be gaming's most important event of the year.