It has been almost one year since Microsoft first announced Project xCloud. The service had a brief, closed test phase at E3 this year, which resulted in some positive impressions but now, a public beta is also on the way, giving us the chance to try Microsoft's cloud gaming tech for ourselves.
Project xCloud's public beta will be limited to the UK, US and Korea for the time being and while Microsoft does hope to cover a number of devices in the future, for now, the company is just focusing on smartphones. The public beta will support Android devices, but it won't be coming to iOS for now.
Project xCloud will feature four games at first- Halo 5: Guardians, Gears 5, Killer Instinct and Sea of Thieves. Other titles will be added to the preview program over time, with one likely candidate being Forza Horizon 4, as that game has already been shown running in cloud streaming form. Users will also be able to test using on-screen controls or a Bluetooth Xbox controller.
We don't know when Project xCloud will leave beta and launch as a full service, so Microsoft will be a bit behind Google Stadia. On the plus side though, at least Microsoft is having a beta, with the goal of not launching “until customers are consistently reporting a great, fun experience”.
KitGuru Says: While Google Stadia wants to compete against consoles and PCs, Microsoft is hoping to have Project xCloud be a complimentary add-on to the way people already play games today. The public beta is now open for sign-ups, so we'll just have to wait and see how well the technology ends up working.