Microsoft is moving ahead with its Project xCloud streaming service as the race to deliver next-gen streaming technology heats up. Microsoft announced that it has expanded the reach of Azure datacenters compatible with xCloud, and that key developers could be testing the streaming product now.
"We've already deployed our custom Project xCloud blades to datacenters across 13 Azure regions with an initial emphasis on proximity to key game development centers in North America, Asia and Europe," Microsoft reveals. "Leading global development teams such as Capcom and Paradox Interactive now have the ability to easily test their games directly from Project xCloud without having to port to a new platform."
This could mean that key developers in Asia and Europe (where Capcom and Paradox are located respectively) are already testing out Microsoft's new streaming services. The fact that outside companies are testing xCloud could be a sign of the streaming service's progress.
Furthermore, Microsoft revealed that xCloud is able to support any existing Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One game without the need to develop specifically for the streaming service. Meaning if a developer pushes out an update for an Xbox One version of a game, "those updates will also apply to all versions available on Project xCloud without any additional work."
"There are currently more than 1,900 games in development for Xbox One, all of which could run on Project xCloud," Microsoft adds.
Microsoft appears to be leveraging its existing Azure cloud technology to support xCloud. Azure is Microsoft's cloud network, and prior to xCloud, is used to mainly support internet sites and services. Other tech companies like Amazon and Google also have strong cloud services, and Google is using it to power its own Stadia streaming service.
Sony, which is looking to grow its streaming service next-gen, has even agreed to an official deal to explore using Microsoft's Azure to power its streaming service, meaning PlayStation's and Xbox's streaming service could both be powered by the same cloud network. Nintendo is also reportedly interested in using Azure for streaming.
Whether players are ready for it or not, streaming is a big feature that's being teased for the upcoming generation of games. But until we get to see how streaming works in the real-world, consoles will remain the go-to platform for home gaming.