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Microsoft Project xCloud Promises to Revolutionize Mobile Gaming

Microsoft Project xCloud Promises to Revolutionize Mobile Gaming
  • On October 26, 2018

Gaming has gained tremendous ground lately across players of all ages and all walks of life – and major tech companies are eager to tap into the rising market. Microsoft has delivered a lot of exciting mobile device news lately, and it has just announced that its new Project xCloud is under development – a mere days after Google went public with its own Project Stream. Could Project xCloud change the face of the mobile gaming industry forever? And what would this mean for the immensely profitable app market?

Microsoft Eager to Tap into Rising Mobile Gaming Market

Gaming has undergone some fundamental changes lately, with one of the most vital being the unprecedented rise of the mobile gaming market, in line with the increased popularity of mobile devices. It is projected that gaming on mobile devices will bring in 51% of all gaming revenue in 2018 – which corresponds to over $70 billion. This will set mobile gaming apart as the top revenue source in the industry for the first time. By contrast, console gaming will account for roughly $34.6 billion or 25% of profits and PC gaming lags behind at $32.9 billion and 24%. This should come hardly as a surprise: smartphones have managed to become our go-to device for an increasing number of tasks, from watching the news and chatting with friends to replying to emails or booking airplane tickets while commuting, all through dedicated and tailored mobile apps – so why should gaming be any different? After the tremendous popularity of mobile games like Fortnite and the classic Candy Crush, mobile gaming seems set to fundamentally change the landscape.

Developers and tech companies are eager to find new ways to deliver content to mobile devices in order to benefit from this meteoric rise – and Microsoft’s Project xCloud is trying to do precisely that. Microsoft has set the bar high with this new project: it means to give gamers who prefer mobile devices the chance to bring content from traditional venues like PC or consoles directly to their smartphones and tablets. The idea behind the new project is simple enough – game titles will be hosted on the cloud and gamers will be able to play them on a mobile device of their choosing by sending their commands via an internet connection and have the audio and video of their gameplay streamed directly on the device. The news comes a little less than a week since Google announced its own Project Stream, a streaming platform based on a similar premise – so the two projects are clearly vying for a similar segment of the market.

Will Microsoft Project xCloud Prove a Game-Changer?

Of course, the idea of delivering content to mobile devices is not new. Ever since smartphones took the market by storm and tablets became the latest portable solution for users tired of carrying a heavy laptop around, developers have been searching for ways to optimize content for mobile devices. This need has lately been served by the HTML5 format which enables increased functionality of video and audio content on mobile web browsers. Industry giants like Apple have optimized their web browsers for HTML5 content, while streaming services like Netflix use the format to serve subscribers who want to watch films and TV series across a range of browsers. HTML5 was instrumental in allowing mobile entertainment to flourish and is already widely used in gaming and entertainment, with online casino providers like Betway and immensely popular game streaming service Twitch relying on it to deliver content to mobile users.

It is estimated that roughly 60% of app developers are using HTML5, which demonstrates a growth rate of 20%, one of the highest across similar technologies. But now it seems that a new age has dawned for mobile gaming, and even though the details of the new Microsoft Project xCloud have not yet been fully revealed, it is likely that the company is aiming to develop a viable alternative to older technologies. The teaser for the new project has shown legendary games like Halo being played on mobile devices – which means that Microsoft will develop a platform that will be able to support running such complex games on low-capability devices like smartphones. Microsoft’s announcement claims that developers will be able to directly deploy on mobile and scale access to one of the over 3,000 games currently available on its Xbox One console with no additional requirements. The tech giant is working hard to ensure compatibility – but when the project launches, could it be devastating for the mobile gaming apps market?

It is unlikely that Microsoft will be able to single-handedly deliver a fatal blow to such a lucrative industry, as many casual players prefer less intricate games of the Candy Crush kind and will most likely not go to the trouble of learning how to use the new service – despite its simplicity. Instead, the new project will add new options to a seasoned gamer’s toolkit.