Microsoft / Xbox
Microsoft officially joined the game streaming party with the reveal of Project xCloud in October 2018. The service allows you to stream games directly to your PC, phone, or tablet via hardware in remote data centers.
Although it isn’t live yet, Xbox’s head of gaming cloud Kareem Choudhry has said that public trials will begin this year. A demo of Project xCloud was shown off during the March 2019 Inside Xbox livestream, which showcased Forza Horizon 4 being played on an Android mobile device that was also wirelessly connected to an Xbox One controller.
Microsoft has also launched Game Stack, a platform specifically designed to help developers build and launch cloud-connected games. The dev kit combines Microsoft’s services and platforms with Azure and PlayFab–giving aspiring creators access to DirectX, Mixer, Power BI, Havok, Visual Studio, Windows, Xbox Game Studios, Xbox Live, and Simplygon.
Xbox One doesn’t have a streaming service yet, but it has the building blocks in place to do so, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer already claiming the plan is for the console’s Game Pass to expand to “every device.” During a November 2018 Microsoft earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella also mentioned bringing Game Pass to PC. And through Project xCloud, Xbox’s subscription service could become a Netflix-style streaming platform.
Xbox Game Pass already offers hundreds of digital titles for download at a monthly fee. For as long as you pay for the subscription, you get access to any of the games offered through the service and can uninstall and redownload titles at your leisure. Much like Netflix, Game Pass’ library changes over time, with unpopular titles being replaced with new ones–which include original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games.