Microsoft is attempting to dip its toes into cloud gaming before Google gets a chance to establish itself with Stadia, announcing that sign-ups for a Project xCloud beta are now live.
Project xCloud is Microsoft’s attempt at cloud gaming, providing the means through which to either stream locally, from your Xbox to laptop or mobile devices, or externally, streaming games entirely from cloud servers.
The Project xCloud preview program will be available in October and will initially be limited to just four games. Xbox players will be able to stream Halo 5: Guardians, Sea of Thieves, Gears 5, and Killer Instinct through Android mobile devices. All that’s required is a wi-fi or mobile network connection along with a Bluetooth Xbox One controller. The games themselves will be free to play during the duration of the network test, while more content will be added over time.
Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb confirmed that save games, achievements, and assorted user data will transfer between xCloud, Xbox, and PC, allowing Xbox gamers to play on mobile and then immediately pick up right where they left off on PC.
Microsoft’s initial test run for Project xCloud will be open to users in the US, UK, and Korea, so if you live in any of those territories you can register your interest in the beta test here. The available territories will be expanded as the test rolls on, so keep your eyes peeled in you’re interested in seeing what it’s all about.
I’ve signed up for the test, the digital rubbernecker that I am, more out of interest in how the technology holds up rather than any great urge to benefit from the features of Project xCloud. It seems a bit unnecessary to me to stream games to a mobile device but this is clearly just the first step in a wider cloud gaming push from Microsoft.