Cloud-based gaming is all the buzz at the moment. Numerous manufacturers and publishers have talked about the possibility of powering all your gaming via the cloud, but the promise of untethered, console-quality game streaming has yet to be realised. Enter Xbox. Back at E3, Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Executive Vice-President of Gaming, promised their engineers were working on revolutionary technology that would provide such a service. And they’ve revealed it this morning.
Project xCloud allows gamers to play Xbox’s games on mobiles and tablets. Their philosophy is simple: “entertainment should be available on demand and accessible from any screen.” Utilising Microsoft’s cloud-based computing technologies, Xbox has adapter their console hardware to support to make games streamable to any device and connect your controller via Bluetooth or use the on-screen touch controls.
But they are aware of the challenges. Overcoming latency issues, and maintaining graphical fidelity and framerates are of particular focus for Xbox. There have traditionally been the sticking points for other streaming services. However, Xbox appears confident however that these won’t prove troublesome again, beginning private testing of the service next year using data centres that already reach 140 countries. They are currently working with “networking topology, and video encoding and decoding” as well as getting ahead of the curve in trialling 5G mobile network coverage. Currently, testing is working off 10 megabits per second internet connections, which – surprisingly – would be within reach for most Australians.
Obviously, this is within controlled environments, but it’s promising news. Cloud-based game-streaming might finally be delivering on its promise.