Microsoft launches Project xCloud preview, lets users start testing new game streaming service

(GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

Microsoft on Monday kicked off public trials of its Project xCloud game streaming service that lets users play high-powered Xbox games such as Halo on their smartphones.

The company last month began accepting sign-ups for the preview, which gives gamers in the U.S., U.K., and South Korea initial access to Project xCloud.

The preview includes four games: Gears 5, Halo 5: Guardians, Killer Instinct, and Sea of Thieves. It will start small, on Android devices only, with a limited number of participants and then grow over time.

Microsoft reporter Paul Thurrott tested the service Monday and noted that the “performance is surprisingly excellent.”

The service is powered by Microsoft’s Azure data centers on specially-designed servers built from Xbox components. Users don’t need to own any games, or even a console, to use xCloud. All they need is a phone or tablet running Android 6.0 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0, a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller and a Microsoft account.

Microsoft is also working with wireless carrier partners such as T-Mobile, SK Telecom, and Vodafone on Project xCloud tests.

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