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xCloud Preview will soon let gamers play XBOX Games on Android

Microsoft recently released a blog post indicating that we won’t have to wait for long for handheld XBOX games. Dubbed the xCloud Preview, the service will soon let gamers play XBOX Games on Android devices.

xCloud Preview Lets XBOX Games be played on Mobile

For those unaware, Microsoft will soon enter the mobile gaming market. But they are not going to be releasing their own handheld device or releasing their own mobile OS. Instead, Microsoft is developing a service that will allow Android users to stream XBOX Games on their phones. The service is dubbed xCloud, and it will soon be available for select people.

Microsoft has just opened the registration for the beta testing of the xCloud. Currently, the offer is only up for US, UK and Korean residents. Closed Beta will start on October, and will continue until beta testers continuously return positive feedback for the service. People would remember xCloud’s demo during Microsoft’s E3 presentation last June. Since the feedback they received at that time wasn’t so great, we might see the xCloud Preview go on for some time.

Select Games for Select Gamers

The exclusive xCloud Preview will have four XBOX titles available for play:

  • Gears 5
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Killer Instinct
  • Sea of Thieves

People are most likely excited for Gears 5 and Halo 5, and this gives them a good opportunity to play these games on an entirely new platform. An XBOX One controller is required for the xCloud to work, which may hint at at what games we could expect in the future. Compatible Android devices will have to be running Android 6.0 or higher for the xCloud.

Flexing Cloud-Computing Technology

Stream XBOX Games through xCloud

The xCloud project is Microsoft’s way of testing and showing off their cloud computing technology to the wider world. Streaming large games consistently for thousands or even millions of customers will be no easy feat. xCloud is in now way the first service to test the waters of cloud-based gaming, as the Switch recently had Assassin’s Creed Odyssey playable through cloud streaming in Japan. Google’s Stadia is also nearing its release on November, and is promising to provide a seamless cloud-based streaming service between multiple devices. Microsoft’s xCloud will be meeting a lot of competition when it finally comes out, so it’s wise that they’re taking their time testing their own product first.

The xCloud Stream will have Android devices source the game from Microsoft’s own servers. But later on as the technology gets more developed, Microsoft plans to roll out the XBOX Console Streaming. Saved games from any XBOX One console will help improve the consistency of the game’s stream, allowing for a more stable gaming experience on the Android device.

The xCloud Service so far has been announced for Android devices. Microsoft hasn’t indicated whether or not the service will come out on iOS as well. There are also no clues yet on how much the service will cost, and what business model it will follow.

Do We Really Need To?

Getting to play video games meant for actual gaming consoles on your Android device is an exciting prospect. Mobile devices are getting stronger and stronger that they can reliably play games from the previous generations of consoles reliably using emulators. But given that an XBOX One Controller is needed to use the xCloud Service, and given that an XBOX One will be required for XBOX Console Streaming, then why not just play the games on your XBOX One directly? What’s the need to play on mobile?

Not all games are fun to play on-the-go. Most console games require a lot of focus to play. Sometimes, games require you to book chunks of your time before they become enjoyable. That’s why there’s been a vast difference between the nature of mobile and console games. Even games exclusively for handheld consoles are designed with portability in mind. Can you even imagine playing Gears 5 while on commute?

Meanwhile, the service may be most useful for traveling people. Maybe the whole point is allowing people to pick up where they left off in Halo 5: Guardians in a hotel room miles away from home. Or continue playing your favorite game in a rest house during the summer, all without having to bring your console with you.

There are definitely pros and cons for this kind of service. It doesn’t seem designed yet to replace the modern gaming console, or even to replace the traditional mobile gaming platforms. But it’s a great complement to all the things we have now. In a nutshell: it’s still a great step forward for the gaming industry.