The idea of streaming games to computers, consoles, and phones has been a long-standing idea in the gaming world. Many companies have attempted it over the past decade, with no one quite making it work successfully. The most famous failure is probably OnLive, the company that tried to pioneer the concept in modern gaming. A number of other contenders haverevived the concept, with a few big entrants taking the lead.
Over the past year, there have been many details of Microsoft's xCloud streaming service that have emerged. The company has been working on the technology for a couple of years and intends to bring the concept to as many gamers as possible. It is built on their industry-leading Azure cloud service, which also powers the modern Xbox Live. The first public demo of Project xCloud was this month, showing just how far the technology has come. We expect to see a much bigger demo, and far more focus on the system, at E3 2019 in June.
At GDC 2019, however, we got our first big look at Google's game streaming platform: Google Stadia. This is the more permanent version of Project Stream, the beta test that Google ran last November with Assassins Creed Odyssey. The service runs within the Chrome browser, which means that it can be used on a large number of platforms, including the often ignored Chrome OS. They've taken an interesting approach to a controller, with the hardware running over Wi-Fi, rather than the more traditional Bluetooth. The service is planned for a late 2019 launch.
It might seem like this announcement might be a trouble for Microsoft, but Xbox head Phil Spencer seems happy to have the competition. He was impressed by the unique Wi-Fi controller, as well as for the market validation that Microsoft had the right idea for the future of gaming. In a year where companies are skipping E3, including Sony, it will be more important than ever for Microsoft to take advantage of this event, especially as companies like Walmart are considering entering the fray.