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Microsoft’s Xbox Series X console could power xCloud servers next year

Microsoft will use its upcoming Xbox Series X console to power xCloud servers, according to a new report.

When Microsoft launches its xCloud game-streaming service later this year, it’ll rely on the Xbox One S to power the platform. But sometime next year, Microsoft plans to replace the Xbox One S with the Xbox Series X, providing improved graphics and performance for the company’s streaming service, The Verge is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. The Xbox Series X is scheduled to launch in time for the 2020 holiday shopping season.

Those same sources told The Verge that Microsoft is already testing the Xbox Series X on xCloud. Microsoft is also testing PC blade servers for streaming PC titles, according to The Verge’s sources.

Microsoft told Digital Trends in an e-mailed statement that the company does “not comment on rumors or speculation.”

Microsoft’s Project xCloud, which is currently in preview and has more than 50 games, allows players to stream to Android-based mobile phones and tablets. Games work with a standard Xbox controller connected to a device via Bluetooth. Players need a Wi-Fi connection with 10Mbps download speeds or greater. Microsoft has said that it can’t fully test xCloud on iOS because of Apple’s App Store restrictions, and is unsure when a final version of the service would be available to iPhone and iPad users.

Microsoft revealed last year that it uses blade servers loaded with Xbox One S to power xCloud. When players boot up a game and stream it to their homes, the games run on the remote Xbox One S. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will provide a significant boost in performance compared to the Xbox One S, thanks to a more powerful CPU and improved video encoding.

Perhaps most importantly for Microsoft, the move to Xbox Series X-based servers could also reduce its server load. According to The Verge’s sources, the Xbox Series X power would allow the company to stream four concurrent Xbox sessions per server, topping the single session that can run on an Xbox One S-based server.

Microsoft has yet to announce an exact launch date or pricing plans for xCloud, but The Verge’s sources say the service is still on track for a 2020 release on Android devices.

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