IF YOU'VE BEEN WANTING to play Xbox games on your phone then keep October free as that's when Microsoft's Project xCloud game streaming service is arriving in public beta on Android.
Eager beavers in the US, South Korea, and good ol' going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket Britain will be able to take the cloud-powered service for a spin. Applications to get stuck into the service are open now, just don't expect to see a specific launch date just yet.
However, there's one caveat; the service won't enable streaming directly from a user's Xbox One console. That feature was touted at E3 earlier this year, and could effectively turn someone's Xbox into their own personal server; that's a feature the likes of Google Stadia doesn't have.
Once you have a spot on the public preview, to get started with xCloud, you'll need an Android phone or tablet running Android 6.0 or later, a compatible Xbox wireless controller, 5GHz WiFi or a mobile data connection with 10Mbps download speeds, and the Xbox Game Streaming app.
It's worth noting that Microsoft is warning there are a limited number of places and that and invites to the preview might not be sent out until several months after the registration has been submitted; be prepared to swallow a bit of disappointment if you get left out.
As for games to expect on the service, it's over to Microsoft: "Xbox launched with Halo, and so will the Project xCloud public preview. It will begin with Halo 5: Guardians, the all-new Gears 5, a fantastic fast-twitch fighter Killer Instinct, and the online adventure Sea of Thieves. This is just the beginning as our content library will continue to grow as the preview progresses."
All this is looking pretty promising, and it looks like the tech is here today that can allow for decent game steaming unlike in the past where poor performance and limited connectivity stymied the hole situation.
What'll be interesting is to see how xCloud stands up to Google's Stadia streaming service, given the latter offers some slick-looking integration with YouTube. Forget the console wars, the next gaming battle will be in the cloud. µ
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