CURRENTLY, THE XBOX ONE'S job is a relatively simple one. Calculate game data, and then push the pictures up a short HDMI lead so you can shoot someone you've never met in the face from halfway around the world.
But people are increasingly deciding that the 50in wonder in their living room isn't good enough for gaming. No, they'd far rather use a 6indisplay instead, even if that means poking away at the screen rather than using ergonomically optimised gamepads specifically designed for the task.
Microsoft thinks it can win back these gamers with Project xCloud: a way to stream Xbox games to your phone. Originally announced last year, you'll be able to stream from Microsoft's own cloud servers, or from your own Xbox One this October when Project xCloud enters public testing.
"It turns your Xbox One into your own personal and free xCloud server," Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in Microsoft's E3 presentation, where he also gave a glimpse at the firm's upcoming 'Project Scarlett' console.
"Whether you're using a console in our data centre or your console at home, this October you'll be able to use our hybrid gaming cloud to play your games wherever you go. Where you play is now entirely your choice."
That means the old fashioned way of playing at your TV isn't in doubt: "We're developing Project xCloud not as a replacement for game consoles, but as a way to provide the same choice and versatility that music and video enjoy today," Microsoft said when the technology was first announced.
"We also believe in empowering gamers to decide when and how to play," the company added. Provided you stick to officially-sanctioned trash talk, that is.
Crucially, an October test launch means that xCloud will beat Google Stadia to the punch, by arriving a month earlier. It's also a more established gaming brand, of course, but then streaming from your own console free of charge only works if you already own the console in question.
For those without an Xbox One lazily pushing polygons through an HDMI cable, we'll just have to see how pricing is for streaming from Microsoft's servers, and whether it can undercut the £8.99 per month Google is charging. µ
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