Last fall, 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. Project xCloud brings us closer to fully realizing 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 are using the feedback to make improvements, ensuring Project xCloud offers customers a great experience.
The driving purpose behind Project xCloud has been to enable playing great games anywhere, anytime. From the beginning, our aim has been seamless compatibility. We want to make it as easy as possible for developers to make their games available to all gamers with support for existing games, those currently in development, and future games.
The power of Project xCloud – the seamless compatibility for developers and the new places to play for gamers – comes from Azure datacenters spanning the globe, with hardware that shares a common set of components with our Xbox consoles. 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. Leading global development teams such as Capcom and Paradox Interactive now have the ability to easily test their games directly from Project xCloud 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.
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 3,500 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 1,900 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.
We also recently added enhancements to our standard Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) to add support for streaming. One API we’re excited about is the new “IsStreaming” API which allows any game to know if it’s streaming from the cloud. 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…