Microsoft's Project xCloud is finally taking shape this holiday season and at X019, the company made a few more announcements regarding its beta testing that include more ways to play, more regions of availability, more games in the library and support from more device partners.
Xbox executives on stage at this year's X019 fan showcase spoke to the additional news regarding project xCloud's games library that will now include up to 50 playable titles in the beta preview with Madden 2020 from EA rolling out to the library now.
In addition to a growing library, Project xCloud will break free from its current selection of Android device limitations and make its way to Windows 10 PC in early 2020. In an interview with The Verge, head of Xbox gaming, Phil Spencer explained, "My expectation is that it will be generally available in 2020." There was a hint of other devices being enveloped in the family of playable screens but no explicit mention of iPads or iPhones at this moment.
Other xCloud news includes support of DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controllers and gamepads from Razer beginning sometime in 2020 as well the expansion of more Bluetooth enabled controllers joining the roster of playable input devices. With a leap from mobile on to PCs, there were questions raised by The Verge related to keyboard and mouse input for games originally designed for Xbox or touch input and spokespeople pivoted away from developer requirements to highlight the varied types of gameplay coming soon.
What you’re saying is absolutely true for Xbox game content right now, but there will be more types of content.
Beyond the technical aspects of xCloud, Microsoft executives Kareem Choudry and Ken Moss also announced the expansion of locals the beta will be available in that include Canada, India, Japan and parts of Western Europe in 2020.
We will also bring Project xCloud Preview to more markets beginning in 2020, such as Canada, India, Japan, and Western Europe. Expanding to additional markets over time is an important step in our journey to delight the 2 billion gamers in the world. We’ll have more details to share soon on when and how to register.
Predictably, Microsoft sees India as a huge market opportunity for Project xCloud where the most used device is a smartphone rather than a PC or console.
Perhaps, the most intriguing news was the hint that Project xCloud could come at no extra cost to Xbox Game Pass holders.
AND Game Streaming is coming to Xbox Game Pass! pic.twitter.com/JddrAT1ow5
— Xbox (@Xbox) November 14, 2019
We believe in the freedom to play and the freedom to choose. In 2020 we will enable gamers to stream from the cloud Xbox games that they already own or will purchase. We will also add game streaming from the cloud to Xbox Game Pass. Gamers will be free to discover, choose, and play their favorite games anywhere and everywhere.
Those were among the highlights of today's Project xCloud announcements today on stage at X019. While many of the new features and technical details won't be readily accessible to testers until 2020, they showcase how cautiously yet aggressive Microsoft is taking this endeavor.
However, with Google's Stadia competitor launching and selling to actual buyers this month, Microsoft will need to not only continue to expand its feature set but deliver close to flawlessly on those additions going into its eventual 2020 release.