Since announcing Project xCloud last year, Microsoft has been testing it internally among its employees. Now it has opened the streaming service for a public trial in the United States, United Kingdom and Korea. The preview will start in October and will go on “until customers are consistently reporting a great, fun experience and the technology meets our internal quality standards,” said Microsoft corporate VP Kareem Choudhry via a blog post.
There is still a long way before Project xCloud can launch commercially. In the meantime, Microsoft will continuously improve the technology based on the feedback and data it collects ahead of the global deployment. Microsoft hasn’t announced its monetization model yet, but it’s likely to be some kind of subscription.
Such titles as Crackdown 3, Destiny 2, Sea of Thieves, Halo 5: Guardians and Gears 5 will be available as part of the test. More will be added during the preview. There is no need to purchase any content, all games are free to sream from the cloud during the trial. Those in the UK and the US can sign up here, and if you would like to sign up from Korea, go here. Microsoft will initially send out invites to a small number of users, gradually expanding the player base along the way.
The system supports cross-platform progression, so you can pick a game on your phone where you left it on your Xbox.
Hardware-wise, you need:
- a phone or tablet running Android 6.0 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0,
- a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller,
- and ideally, a phone mount for your controller.
Project xCloud runs on Wi-Fi and on any mobile network in your area. Microsoft announced technical partnerships with T-Mobile in the US, Vodafone in the UK, and SK Telecom in Korea, so these providers will ensure the “phenomenal” experience for the participants of the preview. In Korea, though, SK Telecom is currently the only carrier to participate in the trial, while other networks will get on board as the trial expands.
“This is just the beginning,” Choudhry says. “We’ll continue to improve, innovate, invite more of you in, add more content, and do it with the community in an open and transparent way.”