Microsoft is planning for the future of its Xbox services, on both the current Xbox One X and the future consoles currently in development.
Analysts have backed Sony PlayStation and their tech giant rival to launch their next consoles in 2020.
But what they will offer is still very much shrouded in mystery.
What we do know is that Microsoft wants to expand the reach of Xbox Live beyond the traditional console space.
And one of those new areas will be streaming games via Project xCloud, which is going to be the subject of a new panel at the upcoming Game Developers Conference.
A new description posted from the GDC schedule reveals a few tidbits of information on the upcoming service, which is expected to go into public testing later this year.
GDC will be taking place in March, and it appears that gamers will hear more about how the Xbox One Project xCloud will offer full digital game support.
The official GDC panel description explains: “Project xCloud is enabling console native games to stream through our Azure-hosted game servers and streaming clients.
“Any console native game currently shipping in the Microsoft Store on Xbox will be capable of streaming to a mobile device.
“Project xCloud is an open platform with a customizable client user design experience where streaming starts with Xbox game developers not having to modify a single line of existing game code.
“This talk will go deeper into how cloud-aware games built with the Project xCloud software development kit will help games adapt for mobile through the same graphics and input paradigms as console native development.
“You will also learn about the new microservices layer that allows customization such as glass and touch input when a game controller is not available, all outside of the game.”
Project xCloud is expected to be available on Xbox One and the next Xbox console which has yet to be revealed.
So the coming weeks should see fans receive at least a snippet of information on the new next-gen tech being worked on.
Other Xbox One news this week also points to changes being made by Microsoft for the leap to next-gen consoles.
It was recently revealed that Microsoft Studios is being rebranded to fit with Xbox’s multi-platform future.
Matt Booty, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Game Studios, explained the name change, while also giving a big hint at how the company could change in the coming years.
“At Xbox, we believe when everyone plays, we all win. It’s why we’re passionate about building a portfolio of games for players across console, PC, and mobile,” he confirmed.
“As we’ve expanded our focus beyond the console, the Xbox brand has also evolved from its original roots. Today, Xbox is our gaming brand across all devices, no matter how or where you want to play, or who you want to play with.
“In that spirit, I’m pleased to share that we are changing the name of our game development organisation from Microsoft Studios to Xbox Game Studios.
“Xbox Game Studios is made up of thirteen distinct game development teams responsible for beloved franchises like Age of Empires, Forza, Gears of War, Halo, and Minecraft.
“The teams at 343 Industries, The Coalition, Compulsion Games, The Initiative, inXile Entertainment, Minecraft, Ninja Theory, Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, Rare, Turn 10 Studios, Undead Labs, and… Global Publishing… are working hard to deliver incredible exclusives, original intellectual properties, and all-new chapters from your favourite franchises.
“2019 is going to be a great year for Xbox gamers everywhere. Exclusive games including Crackdown 3, Gears 5, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps will be available to Xbox Game Pass members on the same day they launch worldwide.
“We’re also working to deliver big content updates for games like Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, and Minecraft that players are going to love.
“We’re also excited to see how the seven new game development studios we added to our team last year maximise their creative potential as part of Xbox Game Studios.
“As a gaming organisation, we have never been in a better position to deliver a diverse line-up of exclusive games for Xbox fans now, and in the future.”
While Microsoft is making those changes to their own brand before the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Two, developers are also making predictions.
Mark Aldrup, head of development at Headup Games, believes these changes being made could be the biggest the industry has ever seen.
“The next generation might contain some of the most major changes in console history,” Aldrup told Gamingbolt.
“With game streaming, game subscriptions services, disc-free systems etc. all being viable options for the next generation consoles, we’re very curious to see what Sony and Microsoft (and Nintendo at a later stage) have up their sleeves.
“From a development perspective, we just hope that there will again be a statically defined technical system that lasts for a couple of years.
“This has always been one of the consoles’ biggest advantages – developers can concentrate on optimising the game for one piece of hardware instead of making sure that it runs on a variety of different specs (as on PC or Mobile).”