Microsoft has announced Project xCloud, a major new game-streaming service designed to bring console-quality gaming to devices such as smartphones.

The idea is similar to other game-streaming ventures - datacentres packed with Xbox hardware which then remotely streams the game to your device.

But of course with such an idea comes the need to solve issues such as latency and visual fidelity - which is where Microsoft's Azure cloud technology comes in.

Microsoft has begun privately testing xCloud using mobile phones and tablets paired with Xbox controllers using Bluetooth and via touch input, over 4G networks and 5G as it becomes available. Public trials of xCloud will begin next year.

In the above video, Xbox boss Phil Spencer and others discuss how the project will work in detail - and also reassure Xbox fans that the era of console gaming is far from over. This service is designed for those who do not have access to a console, Microsoft says, or want a secondary way of playing Xbox games, such as while on the move.

It's a huge development for Microsoft - and with new Xbox consoles already confirmed as in the pipeline, something likely to play a huge part in how the company handles its next gaming hardware generation.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.