A big question facing Microsoft’s upcoming cloud gaming service is what you’ll be able to play. So far, the company hasn’t said much. But on a technical level, the Microsoft xCloud service will be capable of streaming any Xbox game ever made —without any changes needed by the developer.

“That means that Project xCloud has the technical capability to stream more than 3,500 games,” Microsoft vice president Kareem Choudhry said in a blog post on Friday.

The statement isn’t really a surprise. To develop the xCloud gaming service, Microsoft has been building custom servers using Xbox One hardware, which is built to play three generations of Xbox games going back to the original console.

The real takeaway is how game makers can port their existing titles to the new platform. According to Choudhry, it’ll be easy. “Developers will be able to dramatically scale their existing games across devices, with no additional development, no additional code base maintenance and no separate updates,” Choudhry said.

“When a developer updates the Xbox One version of their title, those updates will also apply to all versions available on Project xCloud without any additional work,” he added.

Getting developer support for xCloud will be crucial for Microsoft. The company is competing against Google’s own cloud gaming service, Stadia, which is slated to launch later this year.

However, translating Xbox games over to xCloud may give Microsoft a key advantage in the game streaming market. According to Choudhry, more than 1,900 games are in development for the current Xbox One console. Leading game developers such as Capcom and Paradox Interactive also now have access to test their games over the xCloud platform.

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We’ve already deployed our custom Project xCloud blades to datacenters across 13 Azure regions with an initial emphasis on proximity to key game development centers in North America, Asia and Europe,” Choudhry added.

The company has also been letting Microsoft employees test an alpha version of xCloud. You can expect public trials of the service to begin later this year.



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