Microsoft is planning to roll out the early access version of its Project Cloud streaming service in western Europe as planned, but the impact of COVID-19 is likely to slow the process.
Following the initial announcement during yesterday’s Inside Xbox, a subsequent blog post by head of product Catherine Gluckstein explained that Microsoft will only move forward when it is “confident it is sensible to do so.”
Gluckstein is referring to the strain on data centers that isolation measures to combat COVID-19 have brought about. It’s an issue that’s been so severe that publishers like Sony have taken steps such as reducing maximum download speeds in an attempt to lessen the load on servers.
Gluckstein explained Microsoft’s cautious approach to launching Project xCloud in the region, acknowledging the issue:
“We know gaming is an important way for people to remain connected, particularly during these times of social distancing, but we also recognize how internet bandwidth has been impacted with strain on regional networks as large volumes of people responsibly stay home and go online.
With that in mind, we continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation and will begin rolling out the Project xCloud preview across 11 Western European countries when we are confident it is sensible to do so. We will take a measured approach to help conserve internet access, beginning the preview in each market with a limited number of people and adding more participants over time.”
For those interested in taking part in the Project xCloud’s early access period, pre-registration can be signed up for here. The countries applicable are as follows:
In related news, during yesterday’s episode of Inside Xbox, Microsoft broadcasted a chat about the technology of Xbox Series X.