Xbox Cloud Games (# 18)

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Cloud gaming is the future of video games, and while consoles and PCs will always have their place, Microsoft recognizes the importance of game streaming from the cloud, so much so that it devotes a significant portion of its resources. at its own service in the hope of breaking the back of a potentially massive and untapped market. Anyone in the world can play a game on the Xbox ecosystem with just a phone, a good internet connection, and a Bluetooth controller (although the controller isn’t always necessary). We take a look at Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft’s passage into the game streaming space, in today’s piece on Xbox 20 defining moments.

In 2016, Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming CVP, Kareem Choudhry, who at the time was working on backward compatibility features, was giving more thought to the possibility of delivering games without the need for a console. “We allowed people to play a game designed for 360, without 360,” Choudhry told GQ in a recent article. So how do you take the next step? I started asking the question, “What does it mean to play a game on console without a console?” Choudhry then spoke to Xbox chief Phil Spencer and asked a team to take the idea further. In 2018, Microsoft saw the potential and officially created an Xbox cloud team and labeled the project, Project xCloud.

It’s unclear when Microsoft first started using cloud technology to specifically deliver games, but reports seem to suggest it was between the early to mid-2010s. As The Verge reported in 2013, Microsoft has showcased a cloud gaming prototype at an internal meeting that saw the Xbox 360 title Halo 4 run on a Nokia Lumia 520 Windows Phone (RIP) and a low-end PC with the game streaming from the cloud. In the demo, Microsoft showcased the prototype using the phone with an Xbox 360 controller attached using an accessory – sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? According to the report, Microsoft had managed to reduce the latency to just 45ms, which is pretty impressive.

Phil Spencer teased the service on stage at E3 2018, saying Microsoft’s cloud engineers are building a “game streaming network to unlock console-quality games on any device.” Choudhry then revealed Project xCloud in a blog post later in the year, which explained how Microsoft would bring the streaming service to gamers. To allow compatibility with existing and future Xbox games, Microsoft has built its own custom hardware for its data centers. New server blades that can hold components from multiple Xbox One S consoles have been built and deployed in various Azure data centers around the world. Microsoft would later upgrade these server blades to include custom Xbox Series X hardware, which would allow 1080p / 60fps streaming.

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  • Xbox Cloud Games (# 18)
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