Microsoft hasn't been shy when it comes to discussing its upcoming game streaming service, and that includes revealing when you can try it.
Dubbed Project xCloud, the service is designed to work across consoles, PCs, and even mobile devices. Microsoft’s cloud gaming chief Kareem Choudhry gave a preview of xCloud last October, adding that public trials will begin in 2019 so the company can "learn and scale with different volumes and locations". Now, during an earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has specified that those public trials will begin "later this year".
In other words, don't expect xCloud until the end of 2019.
Keep in mind this is a huge effort for the company. Microsoft built custom hardware for its data centers and is working to ensure existing and future Xbox games will be compatible with the service. Games will be streamed to devices, so Microsoft's research teams are “creating ways to combat latency” using advanced network techniques paired with video encoding and decoding.
More specifically, Microsoft plans to use its Azure cloud network to provide more server access points around the globe than any rival platform, which could reduce latency to acceptable levels as, instead of signals traveling across continents, they could be coming from much closer to the end user. The end-goal is to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and across multiple platforms and compatible with wireless controllers.
For more information about the future of game streaming, including xCloud, see Pocket-lint's guide here.