Project xCloud: Gaming with you at the center

Our cloud engineers are building a game streaming network to unlock console-quality gaming on any device. There are two billion gamers in the world. Some of them have a PC. Some of them have a console. Some of them have a smartphone.

Some of them have all three. What if everybody in the world could play Halo? Or everybody in the world could play Red Dead Redemption.

Everybody in the world could play games here. What would we have to do in order to make that possible? In order to do that, we believe we need to build a game streaming service. We see game streaming as a great technology giving you access to the games that you want to play on the device that you want to play them on. >> Being able to compute in the cloud and then stream to whatever device I’m on, allowing me to play with anybody. That’s powerful.

When you think about any other form of media, the idea that it’s locked to one device is just totally absent. I want to be the center of my world and I want the devices around me and the services around me to be available wherever I want them to be. What does it mean to completely change the paradigm of how we play?

Well the first thing people say is, “You’re crazy. You can’t build a service like that.” What about latency?

What about the level of detail? What about the richness of the game? Is my experience going to get degraded? We are a gaming company with content and community.

And we happen to also have a great strong first-party cloud in Azure. Makes us uniquely positioned here. Azure supports 54 regions in 140 countries. And we’re going build hardware to deploy into those data centers. We have our first rack of console hardware in the data center in Quincy, today. We’ve taken an existing Xbox console, we’ve broken it out into its component parts and can actually build a single blade unit that can host multiple Xbox systems at one time.

So, we’ve actually built not just the blades themselves with the boards inside but all the infrastructure associated with it. We have evolved the platform. We’re reading the data centers. We’re reading the network. We have increased bandwidth.

We’re introducing new ways to do video encoding and decoding. We are going to be pushing the edge of what’s possible even with 5G, which hasn’t been deployed worldwide yet. So, how real is it?

The first time I played Forza on my Android phone, it’s just amazing. You’re playing your favorite game and it’s streaming. You’ll be able to play with an Xbox One controller connected via Bluetooth and if you don’t have a controller, you’ll be able to play with our touch input controls.

I’m a huge console gamer, but now when I’m done with the console or my son walks into the room and he wants to play something else, I don’t ever have to stop gaming. Because I’ll be able to game the games that I love on every device that I own.

As we think about this next step for us, the idea of putting the gamer at the center is critical to how we goal ourselves in the gaming team in the Xbox team. We love the device that we build, our Xbox consoles. We want those to be world class, the best place to play.

Consoles are still going to be a flagship experience. You’re going to have that immersive, high fidelity experience with your amazing sound systems. It’s all right there.

But we know not everybody on the planet is going to go buy a gaming console. It’s actually about choice for you. It’s amazing for traditional console players because it gives them another place to play. But what’s incredible is for the people who haven’t been introduced to this type of gaming. People who’ve never seen a franchise like Halo, or ever seen a franchise like Gears.

It’s pretty amazing. We have it up and running today. And when we have it just right, we’re going to scale it out in an epic way and deliver it to the world.