UPDATE: Xbox has issued a clarification surrounding the interview with Stevivor and exclusive titles being developed for Project xCloud. Xbox is still taking the approach of game streaming being complimentary to console and is not looking to develop cloud-exclusive content at this time. An Xbox spokesperson said:
“We’re very early in the multi-year journey for Project xCloud, which is currently in public preview. We are investigating a variety of new capabilities made possible by the cloud. However, we remain committed to an approach with game streaming that is complementary to console and have no plans for cloud-exclusive content at this time.”ORIGINAL STORY:
Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Gaming Cloud, Kareem Choudhry has confirmed that Microsoft is "in talks" with first and third-party studios over exclusive games for the streaming service Project xCloud.
Speaking to Stevivor at X019 in London, Choudry said, "In terms of [Project xCloud] exclusives, we’re in early talks with first and third parties, but we don’t have any announcements to share. New content and IP takes eighteen months to two years [to develop].
"The first thing that we’re doing is… just lifting and shifting content that doesn’t require any development changes into the cloud. So right away we’ve got a platform that can run any of the 3000 games you can run on Xbox today."
Choudry also stated that specific application programming interfaces (API) had been added to the Xbox software development kit that will let a game know if it's being streamed or not. The functionality is called "Cloud Aware", and the API enables developers to "make any changes that they want, specific to streaming — things like changing the font sizes or… changing some of their networking code to account for the fact that the server is in a data centre."
Project xCloud is currently on trial in the US, UK and in South Korea and will be coming to more areas soon. The preview program features over fifty playable games, all of which support the unlocking of achievements. Amazon is rumoured to be starting their own cloud-based streaming service in a bid to compete with the likes of Google Stadia, xCloud and PS Now.
We've been messing around with Project xCloud in the office, and for the most part, it's a solid way to play Xbox titles. There have been some latency issues and long load times, however, we are impressed with the way it handles. Microsoft has no pricing plan in place for xCloud and the service is expected to launch at some point next year.