Microsoft's xCloud Servers Will Start Upgrading to Series X Hardware Next Year

Microsoft's xCloud Servers Will Start Upgrading to Series X Hardware Next Year

Newer hardware should mean better streaming, even for current-gen titles.

If you're not sure you'll be ready to drop money on a next-gen console later this year, you might not need to wait too long to start playing Xbox Series X titles via streaming on a phone or tablet. According to a new report from The Verge, Microsoft plans to upgrade the servers running its xCloud streaming service to use its newer console next year.

This upgrade would be a huge leap in processing power for xCloud servers. Currently, xCloud runs off of server blades that are based on the Xbox One S. Presumably, incorporating Xbox Series X hardware into the servers would also allow for improvements in visuals and load times, but The Verge reports that the Series X's processor is actually capable of running four simultaneous Xbox One S game sessions, a big efficiency gain.

In addition to a planned upgrade for xCloud's Xbox hardware, new PC server blades are reportedly being tested with xCloud. This could expand Microsoft's streaming service to include PC only titles down the line, even raising the possibility of playing a PC release via streaming on an Xbox.

It's important to note that upgrading xCloud's servers to Series X tech doesn't necessarily guarantee that the next-gen versions of games will immediately come to the service. As stated above, Microsoft could leverage the hardware to run Xbox One versions of titles, and based on hands-on experience with the service so far, it might not even be worth streaming a Series X version of a title on a phone given xCloud's relatively soft image quality.

Microsoft is still on track to bring xCloud out of preview and officially launch it as part of Xbox Game Pass later this year. That means there's a solid chance we'll be able to see how these server upgrades impact xCloud's performance and presentation of first-party titles like Halo Infinite, or even older titles like Gears 5 which are due to see Series X optimizations, come 2021.

If you have a compatible mobile device, a supported Xbox One controller, and live in one of the preview regions (including the U.S. and Canada), you can sign up to test out xCloud today. The preview program is currently invite only, so you might not get in, but if you do you'll be able to try streaming over 50 different games.

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Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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