Microsoft jumpstarted the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 in Los Angeles with the June 9 announcement of 60 new video games, an upgraded Elite 2 game controller and further mention of the pending Project Scarlett console, which claims to support 8K resolution, framerates up to 120fps and is slated to launch in 2020.
This October Microsoft will preview an Xbox One software upgrade enabling users (including Xbox One S) to stream their games onto portable devices, including a smartphone and tablet.
“It turns your Xbox One into your own personal and free xCloud server,” Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, told E3 attendees. “Whether you’re using a console in our data center or your console at home, this October, you’ll be able to use our hybrid gaming cloud to play your games wherever you go.”
The briefing also marked a new milestone for Project xCloud, with E3 attendees being among the first to play Xbox One games Halo 5: Guardians and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice streaming on smartphones and tablets.
Project xCloud is Microsoft’s answer to Google Stadia – a cloud-base gaming platform that promises to offer users access to third-party games, including Microsoft.
“With Project xCloud, Xbox is investing to ensure players have the choice and freedom to play the games they want, with the friends they want, how and where they want,” Spencer said.
The briefing also disclosed more than 30 PC games, including Microsoft Flight Simulator and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, premiering with Xbox Game Pass for PC users.
New Xbox One and Windows 10 games unveiled June 9 are available here.
Microsoft Oct. 8 announced details of a new video game streaming platform – dubbed Project xCloud – that enables users to play console games regardless of device. The platform is set to launch public trials sometime next year.
Microsoft, whose Xbox brand features more than 3,000 proprietary game titles, plans to test the xCloud platform on mobile phones, tablets and desktops paired with an Xbox wireless controller through Bluetooth.
“Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using. Project xCloud’s game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device,” Kareem Choudhry, VP of gaming cloud at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.
With console and PC games often requiring controls that are synched to multiple keys, buttons, sticks and triggers, Microsoft is developing a new, game-specific touch input overlay for players who choose to play without a controller.
Unlike other forms of digital entertainment, video games are interactive experiences that dynamically change based on player input, according to Choudhry. Delivering a high-quality experience across a variety of devices must account for different obstacles, such as low-latency video streamed remotely, and support a large, multi-user network.
In addition to solving latency, Choudhry said xCloud would aim to support graphical fidelity and framerates that preserve the developers’ original intentions and the type of input a player has available.
“Our vision for the evolution of gaming is similar to music and movies — entertainment should be available on demand and accessible from any screen,” wrote Choudhry.