Microsoft wants to make it as easy as possible for developers to make their Xbox games available on the upcoming Project xCloud game-streaming technology.
Announced last fall, Project xCloud game-streaming technology promises to allow gamers play the games they want, with the people they want, on the devices they want. Micorosoft recently rolled out an alpha version to Microsoft employees and is using the feedback to make improvements.
"The driving purpose behind Project xCloud has been to enable playing great games anywhere, anytime. From the beginning, our aim has been seamless compatibility. We want to make it as easy as possible for developers to make their games available to all gamers with support for existing games, those currently in development, and future games," said Kareem Choudhry, Corporate Vice President – Gaming Cloud, Micorsoft.
The compatibility for developers and the new places to play for gamers come from Azure datacenters spanning the globe, with hardware that shares a common set of components with the Xbox consoles. Microsoft has already deployed 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. Global development teams such as Capcom and Paradox Interactive now have the ability to test their games directly from Project xCloud without having to port to a new platform. Microsoft's ultimate goal is to support gamers in Azure regions around the world.
Today you can play three generations of amazing games on Xbox One. That means that Project xCloud has the technical capability to stream more than 3,500 games, without any changes or modifications required by a developer. In other words, developers will be able to scale their existing games across devices, with no additional development, no additional code base maintenance and no separate updates. When a developer updates the Xbox One version of their title, 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 also recently added enhancements to its standard Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) to add support for streaming. The “IsStreaming” API allows any game to know if it’s streaming from the cloud. Games can then cue features and functionality to enhance the streaming experience; for instance, adjusting font sizes for smaller displays or hosting multiplayer matches on a single server to reduce latency.