Microsoft has launched the public preview of Project xCloud, sending out invitations to those that have signed up for consideration via their website.
The initial preview is intended to test the technology of Microsoft’s cloud gaming service, and is currently available in just a few select regions – the US, the UK and South Korea. There are, of course, plans to expand xCloud’s global reach as the service grows, as is stated in the xCloud FAQ: “It will be a multi-year journey to deliver this technology to gamers around the world at the quality we want to meet, so we will be adding more regional availability as we learn more and create a great game streaming experience.”
The service, which allows players to stream Xbox games to a compatible Android device, is already seeing good feedback from early adopters, though with some mild latency between button input and action. At present only cloud-to-device streaming is available, though Microsoft’s hybrid service will be adding an option to stream from a home-owned Xbox console to your device as well.
xCloud’s primary rival in the cloud gaming space, Google’s Stadia, is set to launch in November this year. Microsoft will presumably be playing close attention to the feedback from players. While Microsoft have made confident remarks regarding their competition, we believe that Sony and Microsoft’s collaboration to develop “new cloud-based solutions for gaming experiences” shows that the companies are aware of how big a competitor Stadia could be.