Microsoft's Project xCloud preview goes public in October, sign up now

Microsoft demoed Project xCloud at E3 this year. It worked well!


James Martin/CNET

Project xCloud, Microsoft’s online game streaming service, was first announced in October 2018. After a period of home testing, which began in May 2019, Project xCloud is getting ready to go public.

We already knew Microsoft was planning public tests of Project xCloud in October. What was less clear was how to apply and what we could expect from those tests. Today, on Inside Xbox, Microsoft spelled out more of the details.

First, eligibility. Public tests of Project xCloud are initially going to be limited to folks in the United States, the UK and South Korea. Games like Halo 5: Guardians and Sea of Thieves, games already demoed on the service, will be available from launch, as will the newly released Gears 5 and Killer Instinct. Microsoft has promised more games will be added as the trial continues. However, according to the fine print you can’t keep ’em after the preview ends.

How do you apply? People in the US and UK can apply here. If you’re in South Korea you can head here. Microsoft has said it expects demand to outstrip its capacity, but will slowly be sending out invites to those who register on those sites. The plan is to slowly send out invites over the course of the Project xCloud preview period. 

A few things are required to apply: a phone or tablet running Android 6.0 or newer with Bluetooth 4.0, a Microsoft account and a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller. Users aren’t expected to buy or already own the games part of the service.

Microsoft has partnered with T-Mobile to better optimize the system for mobile streaming, though you can play the preview on any carrier. Although the two companies will be working with T-Mobile’s LTE network for this preview, the service is expected to work with mobile carriers’ forthcoming 5G networks. 

At this point Microsoft has no idea exactly how long this trial period will last. “The preview will continue until customers are consistently reporting a great, fun experience and the technology meets our internal quality standards,” Microsoft said, in a statement. “As is typical of our preview programs, we plan to begin with focused groups in the early stages for stability purposes and then to expand over time.”

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Mark Serrels

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