Microsoft has recently collaborated with SK Telecom to deliver its xCloud game streaming service over 5G in South Korea. SK Telecom is not the exclusive operation partner of Microsoft’s cloud gaming service in South Korea and Microsoft is also planning to release public reviews of project xCloud next month. %G is the most suitable service for services like xCloud and once the %G networks are running worldwide with mmWave, the promises of latency reductions would become more evident.
The xCloud game would be running next month and some of the SK Telecom customers would be able to get their hands on the xCloud game streaming next month over both LTE and 5G services. Microsoft has not yet exposed any exact preview plans however Microsoft is focusing on releasing the phone-based versions of xCloud in October. Microsoft is holding its Surface hardware event in New York City on 2nd October and it would release more details regarding its xCloud program.
The collaboration between Microsoft and SK Telecom is very interesting and it could hint at further carrier exclusives for xCloud in the future. Microsoft aims to optimize its data centers, networks and general service across a multitude of networks, and by partnering with particular operators, it will be able to do so more tightly while carriers have yet another way of attracting rival clients. It would be surprising to see Microsoft opting in the US for an exclusive agreement with AT&T or Verizon, but in markets such as Korea, it obviously makes sense for the business. In a press release, Microsoft said it hoped to “test and learn more about game streaming in the Korean market” through the public preview. It’s possible that the company is inking similar, yet-to-be-announced deals with other mobile network operators around the world. Such partnerships could be announced at Microsoft’s upcoming Surface event or the Xbox-focused X019 celebration that’s coming to London on November 14th.