Though Microsoft has struggled to beat Sony in the realm of console exclusives, one of its major selling points is still its broad backwards compatibility with past Xbox titles. According to Microsoft, this focus on backwards compatibility will carry on to their upcoming game streaming service, Project xCloud.
In fact, when Project xCloud does debut, Microsoft says the service will have 3,500 games available for streaming, none of which will require any updates from the respective game developers. Users will be able to stream console-quality games through Microsoft’s own servers to their devices, eliminating the need for unnecessary hardware, with the only requirement being a strong and stable internet connection.
According to Microsoft, there are already a number of games in its catalogue across the three generations of consoles – Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One – that are Project xCloud compatible. Furthermore, Project xCloud will reportedly allow developers to scale games across both the Xbox One and Project xCloud platforms, meaning that developers will only need to apply an update to the Xbox One version of a game, and the Project xCloud version will also receive the update.
Aside from the 3,500 games that will be available once the game streaming service is available, Microsoft has also shared that there are currently more than 1,900 games being developed for the Xbox One. Which essentially means that there are over 5,000 current and future games available on the xCloud. This sum has yet to include the games that will also be developed following the Sony-Microsoft cloud service partnership.
In its Xbox Wire post, Microsoft also stated that it has added streaming support to the standard Xbox Developer Kit, which allows games to adjust their features and functionality when it’s running on the cloud. The new updates include tweaking font sizes when the game is being streamed on a smaller screen, to hosting multiplayer matches on a single server to minimise latency.
With Microsoft’s commitment to accessibility, the former suggestion does seem to be something worth noting on, and would be a huge plus even for the casual gamers – nobody wants to squint their eyes while fighting hordes of enemies, after all.
Microsoft has also recently started rolling out alpha versions of Project xCloud for employees to test at home, and a public trial is slated for later this year. Hopefully, we’ll get to hear more about the xCloud during Microsoft’s showcase during E3 2019.