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Microsoft’s xCloud Game Streaming Service

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https://www.thurrott.com/xbox/188081/microsofts-project-xcloud-game-streaming-service-arrives-in-2019

 

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Microsoft has announced today Project xCloud, the company’s game streaming service that I have been writing about since early this summer and something the company has been working on for many years. Phil Spencer hinted that this type of service was coming soon at E3, and now we are learning more about it.

The idea is quite simply, being able to play any type of game on nearly any type of device. Microsoft showed off in the video below playing Forza on an Android phone but this is on the start of what will be possible with this technology.

And if Microsoft can deliver on this front, it will signifacntly change how we think about console gaming and will likely change how the market plays games as well. Imagine being able to play Xbox exclusive titles on a MacBook with nothing more than an Xbox controller and an Internet connection; for Microsoft, ProjectX Cloud will open up the gaming door to millions of more consumers.

 

 

Didn't see a thread on this but they've put a public name on their game streaming stuff now.

 

 

Is it wrong that that the thing I'm most interested in is that clip to hook an Xbox controller to a phone? 

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I'm very interested in this stuff, although realistically I'm not quite sure how I'd use it yet. I do stream my PS4 and One X to my PC sometimes, and I've even streamed my PS4 over the internet on one occasion, but the important factor there is that I still have the physical consoles at home to use as my first choice. It would be amazing if xCloud could be bundled in with a Live sub or something, although I'm not getting my hopes up.

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48 minutes ago, bear said:

 

Is it wrong that that the thing I'm most interested in is that clip to hook an Xbox controller to a phone

RetroArch + Bluetooth XB1 controller + that clip = ultimate retro handheld

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Give me the actual silicon any day of the week. Whilst in theory it sounds amazing being able to play games on your phone, but in reality it just degrades the experience too much imo.

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Great more options the better! Guessing also if they release a XBO client its one way of playing games no matter what hardware you have  in effect if you aren't bothered about 4K you'll be able to play the games on your current setup without investing in new hardware. Or if you have just say bought a XBOX One X then going forward you could just get a client installed and play via that on hardware that is more potentially more powerful than you currently have so still getting a premium experience on older hardware.

 

As network speeds increase all the the time I can see this been a great way of playing. This coupled with game pass and gold think MS are onto something.


It would be great playing say Forza Horizon 4 on any device I have without investing in a new box or buying a bit of software outright. So low initial outlay to get on and play.

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So the rumour mill got it bang on, XCloud was indeed the codename. Some info from Microsoft:

 

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About Project xCloud

Scaling and building out Project xCloud is a multi-year journey for us. We’ll begin public trials in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations. Our focus is on delivering an amazing added experience to existing Xbox players and on empowering developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players across devices. Our goal with Project xCloud is to deliver a quality experience for all gamers on all devices that’s consistent with the speed and high-fidelity gamers experience and expect on their PCs and consoles.

We’ve enabled compatibility with existing and future Xbox games by building out custom hardware for our datacenters that leverages our years of console and platform experience. We’ve architected a new customizable blade that can host the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles, as well as the associated infrastructure supporting it. We will scale those custom blades in datacenters across Azure regions over time.

 

So exactly the same solution as Sony used, custom consoles in a datacenter hardware config.

 

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2018/10/08/project-xcloud-gaming-with-you-at-the-center/

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8 minutes ago, mushashi said:

So the rumour mill got it bang on, XCloud was indeed the codename. Some info from Microsoft:

 

 

So exactly the same solution as Sony used, custom consoles in a datacenter hardware config.

 

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2018/10/08/project-xcloud-gaming-with-you-at-the-center/

Yeah, this is the same thing that you thought would enable Sony to 'check-mate' MS the other day.

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So this lends credibility to the much earlier thing about the "Scarlett" devices, which suggested a streaming only console as well as a standard console. 

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6 minutes ago, TehStu said:

So this lends credibility to the much earlier thing about the "Scarlett" devices, which suggested a streaming only console as well as a standard console. 

 

Looks like it.

 

Wonder if this service will be a pure streaming service or a hybrid where it will cache some data locally (say a level of data) so if there are any hiccups on the connection it can still give a smooth experience.

 

Be interesting to see how it all works... looks like the next generation is going to get interesting.

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1 hour ago, ronin said:

@StanleyIf you had watched the presentation before commenting, you would know that the home console is still the premium platform.

 

As they say, its a way to play your games whenever you want to.

Yeah I understand that, but there's a difference between premium and imo, unplayable, which is how I find most of these services.

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I suspect they're thing to continue and be with investing in, for people who are on a good enough connection, and live close enough to a data center for it to work. I mean, online gaming works, and I remember the time of 300ms pings. I mean, I'll take boxes every time, but it seems these companies are investing bonkers amounts of money for something that "doesn't work".

 

I was more interested to see it'll be based on custom blades. I assumed it would be generic PC hardware with some hardware abstraction expertise, because that eventually gets them out of the expensive hardware R&D game. I guess they think this scales though, so. You'd have to assume the full version of Scarlett will be in there, too.

 

Edit- I'm getting old, I can't even remember what that original sentence was supposed to be before autocorrect utterly broke it.

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I think theyre dealing with an input lag of around 100 ms for the Scarlett streaming tech. There was a presentation which spawned a large thread on resetera, maybe here as well. Somewhere in the area of 80 - 120 ms, and far from unplayable as far as I know.

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120ms is 3 frames and a bit of overhead at 30fps - pretty much the same latency as every other streaming service limited by the 3 frame preread required by MPEG compression. I was hoping MS claims that there was something revolutionary in their new streaming stuff held up but this seems pretty standard.

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34 minutes ago, petrolgirls said:

120ms is 3 frames and a bit of overhead at 30fps - pretty much the same latency as every other streaming service limited by the 3 frame preread required by MPEG compression. I was hoping MS claims that there was something revolutionary in their new streaming stuff held up but this seems pretty standard.

 

Yeah actually I think I confused two things from that thread, going back to it now. The guy who posted this video also explained later that the CPU and HDD in the Scarlett streaming box would deal with the input sensitive issues. So scratch that.

 

Pardon.

 

Here is the presentation I was referring to, which is about dealing with bandwidth caps on mobile gaming

 

 

At some point they show this chart, which I confused with input lag:

 

screenshot2018-07-24ab6ede.thumb.png.745fb9671cc5c9961d2ead2fca507a90.png

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I’d be happy if they just enabled remote play! Would love to catch up on slower paced games on my lunch, life is strange etc. If it’s has cloud sync to home console I’d certainly give it a whirl. 

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3 hours ago, Stanley said:

Yeah I understand that, but there's a difference between premium and imo, unplayable, which is how I find most of these services.

 

What speed internet do you have?   I've played MotoGP on onlive ad it was great. Similar with PSNow. It's just the prices that did my head in. 

 

Bring it on I say. More ways to play my consoles in a way I choose?  Sure thing.  My body is ready, 

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3 hours ago, petrolgirls said:

120ms is 3 frames and a bit of overhead at 30fps - pretty much the same latency as every other streaming service limited by the 3 frame preread required by MPEG compression. I was hoping MS claims that there was something revolutionary in their new streaming stuff held up but this seems pretty standard.

 

I think it's good that they're pushing the streaming to all devices.   Sony can't be far behind. They already stream to PS4, PSVIta and PC and select Sony devices.  Hopefully this will push them to open it to all devices too.  Choice to stream or play it on dedicated hardware. I want that. Looks like I'm going to get it in the next year or two.   Any further technological leaps made by either of them is icing on the cake. 

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1 hour ago, fattakin said:

I’d be happy if they just enabled remote play! Would love to catch up on slower paced games on my lunch, life is strange etc. If it’s has cloud sync to home console I’d certainly give it a whirl. 

 

You can but it's a bit of a kludge.  Bit of a strange restriction they have really 

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16 minutes ago, rafaqat said:

 

What speed internet do you have?   I've played MotoGP on onlive ad it was great. Similar with PSNow. It's just the prices that did my head in. 

 

Bring it on I say. More ways to play my consoles in a way I choose?  Sure thing.  My body is ready, 

Plenty fast enough, it works fine, but I can still detect the lag. 

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35 minutes ago, rafaqat said:

 

Hardly "unplayable" then!

I'm just really sensitive to it. Each to their own of course, it's a problem I find generally with online gaming, some games worse than others, some that mask it really well. 

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2 minutes ago, scoobysi said:

Seriously, a phone bodged onto an Xbox controller :doh:

 

Yup. Can't believe that's literally the only form factor they're going to allow for streaming.  Madness!

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