Last October, we pulled back the curtain on Project xCloud – our game-streaming technology. Our vision for Xbox is that you can play the games you want, with the people you want, on the devices you want. xCloud brings us closer to fully realising that vision. Our teams around the globe have been hard at work, building out and testing the system. We recently rolled out an alpha version to Microsoft employees through our take home program and we’re using the feedback to make improvements and ensure Project xCloud offers customers a great experience.
Today you can play three generations of amazing games on Xbox One. That means that Project xCloud has the technical capability to stream more than 3500 games, without any changes or modifications required by a developer. In other words, developers will be able to dramatically scale their existing games across devices, with no additional development, no additional code base maintenance and no separate updates. When a developer updates the Xbox One version of their title, those updates will also apply to all versions available on Project xCloud without any additional work.
There are currently more than 1900 games in development for Xbox One – all of which could run on Project xCloud. Developers creating those games continue working normally – building with the tools they have – while we do the work to make their games accessible to the broadest set of players possible.
The power of Project xCloud – the seamless compatibility for developers and the new places to play for gamers – comes from Azure datacentres around the world with hardware that shares a common set of components with our Xbox consoles. We’ve already deployed our custom Project xCloud blades to datacentres across 13 Azure regions with an initial emphasis on proximity to key game development centres in North America, Asia and Europe. Today, development teams large and small around the world can easily test and play their games directly from the cloud without having to port to a new platform. This is just the beginning of our buildout, with our ultimate goal of supporting gamers in Azure regions around the world.
We also recently added enhancements to our standard Xbox Developer Kit, (XDK) to add support for streaming. One API we’re really excited about is the new “IsStreaming” API which allows any game to know if it’s streaming. Games can then cue features and functionality to enhance the streaming experience, for instance adjusting font sizes for smaller displays or hosting multiplayer matches on a single server to reduce latency. We’ll continue to look for ways to empower developers to tailor their games for the many ways their customers play.
Project xCloud is an exciting journey that we are all on together. We can’t wait to invite the community to provide feedback, help us shape it and participate in development in a very open and transparent way. Stay tuned…