Microsoft shows prototype of cloud-powered streaming game service - Report

Company officials reportedly demonstrated a prototype of the technology during meetings this week with Halo 4 running on Windows Phone and PC.

Microsoft may be following in the footsteps of Sony and developing its own cloud-gaming streaming service, if a new report proves accurate. Sources familiar with the matter told The Verge that Microsoft officials demonstrated a prototype of the technology during meetings this week.

Halo 4 was reportedly shown running on a Windows Phone and PC, streamed from the cloud. The Verge understands that the prototype runs "smoothly" on both devices and that Microsoft has been able to reduce latency on a Lumia 520 device to 45ms.

The prototype is part of a larger Microsoft initiative to stream games to Windows devices, The Verge reports. The demonstration this week reportedly included a Windows Phone with an Xbox controller attached through an unspecified accessory and a "low-end hybrid PC."

The Verge notes that the Microsoft's cloud-powered streaming technology has not been given an official name yet, as it is only a prototype. Sony's Gaikai-powered streaming technology will debut in 2014 for PlayStation 4, before rolling out for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita later.

"The Microsoft Company Meeting is a great place to demonstrate many exciting possibilities, but we don't have any specific plans to share at this time," a Microsoft representative told The Seattle Times.

Microsoft hinted at tapping into the power of the cloud for backwards compatibility on the Xbox One earlier this month.

"There are so many things that the servers can do. Using our Azure cloud servers, sometimes it’s things like voice processing. It could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box," senior Xbox director Albert Penello said at the time. "We just have to figure out how, over time, how much does that cost to deliver, how good is the experience."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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213 comments
MajinSquall
MajinSquall

an unspecified accessory? so a box you plug into your PC so it can play 360 games, honestly i think some kind of software would be better just install it on your PC and it basically program that acts like a 360 then just pop in your 360 disc into your PC drive and play it, no streaming or relying on an internet connection

yes basically i think MS should have just released an official 360 emulator for the PC

cws3e
cws3e

45 ms = too long

Chizaqui
Chizaqui

Dear Microsoft,


I think it would be prudent, for both the company and the customer, if you stopped releasing games on the cloud at retail store-value! It's absurd that for a little less actual content (and be honest... quite a difference in manufacturing cost,) gamers are still paying 60$ on release day for a game downloaded from the marketplace.

emerin76
emerin76

Love it! I knew they could/would do it.
Since I'm a microsoft clone, it's great.  windows phones, surface, pc and laptops.  So who out there would get a windows phone if they knew they could 'stream' xbox games on it?

zpluffy
zpluffy

Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome to Capitalism

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

I think people are expecting to much from cloud power, if you expect a small boost in visuals and performance your fine, if you expect movie quality computer generated visuals in real time your living in the future.

leandrro
leandrro

they say the have the lead on cloud

but all they do is try to follow the lead of sony's gaikai

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

well ms already have great could technology in place so this is almost bound to happen and be there ready for when people around the world get good enough connections for it

bndori
bndori

"Microsoft may be following in the footsteps of Sony"

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

The lack of knowledge of and about cloud services and gaming applications is sadly low on this news discussion board. Here is a quick faq

A bank of servers and computers run high end applications that many people can tap into and use on low powered devices like tablets, phones, and low end pcs. All that they really need is a fast internet connection and enough pc power to produce the image onto the above said devices. 

Example, a doctor pulls out a crappy tablet and taps into a resource bank across the country pulling up results of a 3D MRI with contrast showing details the tablet would never be able to display and software it would not be able to run. Basically just watching an image on the tablet that the servers are sending. 

Gaming, basically same thing above- you are seeing an image that banks of computers are crunching. The receiving computer does not need a high GPU or PCU, the huge server/cpu banks do all the work, just send the results back to the user. Of course input is sent from gamer to server then back to gamers screen. 

This is great for old games, high end engineering and graphics software, and even new games. In theory that would allow any device with enough power that can produce a high end image and internet connection to play and use the most powerful software. No worries about RAM, compatibility, storage, or OS. BUTTTTT......

Follow down to next post>>


moesuir
moesuir

Thank goodness for MS, always creating additional features and services.

It would be very interesting if you could use the upcomming Steam Controller on an Xbox One. I certainly don't expect "steam games", but they could certainly work out and agreement to cross support the controller.

Xbox One with visual touchscreen, and haptic feedback support. NICE!!!

hystavito
hystavito

Years ago I remember feeling sorry for companies like OnLive because you just knew the early little guys like that would eventually get pushed out by the big players like MS and Sony.

broly180
broly180

XBOX ONE STILL SUCK.....................  YOU NEVE KNOW BUT NEXT WHAT HAPPEN????

Remi2521
Remi2521

So xbox bought nokia for they are going to make their windows phone to work like the ps vita tv. that was pretty smart.

straightcur
straightcur

Anybody else tired of the use of the term "cloud"  ......   my blood pressure rises every time they use that damn term, like it's young and hip to use it lol.....

Vodoo
Vodoo

I have a 50mbps down/8mbps up connection through cable and I still occasionally get a buffering with Netflix. I'm also a cable field tech, so I have the fastest DOCSIS 3.0 modem and my place is wired perfectly, because I did it all myself. During peak usage my connection gets 53mbps and [58mbps off peak]. So I always have over 100% of my advertised speed. I have a dual-band gigabit router with a wired connection to a gigabit media-switch right behind my entertainment center so my 360, ps3, and tv all have a wired connection. The 360 gets priority on the switch, followed by the ps3, then the tv. And despite having excellent connections every step of the way, including super low latency, I still get a rare buffering every once in a while. 

Now I know any buffering that occurs is NOT on my end. So these streaming companies either don't have enough servers or enough bandwidth on their end. 

I also know that both the 360 and ps3 have garbage network cards. The ps3 is much, MUCH slower than the 360 with any type of downloading. Sometimes it seems like Sony gave the ps3 a 56K dial-up network card with an RJ-45 (ethernet) port instead of an RJ-11 (phone) port lol. 

The bandwidth problem on the next-gen systems won't be remedied at all. For some odd reason, both Microsoft & Sony stuck with the same exact Wireless-N cards that are in the current gen consoles. Wireless-ac would've been a MUCH better choice. Not only does it have twice the range of Wireless-N, but it's also a wireless-gigabit connection in addition to the already gigabit wired support. 

It seems like a huge oversight on such an important thing. Most people don't really think about stuff like this, for example, but one of the major bullet-points for me choosing the laptop I now have was that it had a Wireless-ac built in. I'm still using an N router with it but I now get 5 bars of reception everywhere in my house. I could only imagine if I had an ac router connected to this ac card, how far I could go. It really does DOUBLE the coverage of N, and not having it in these new systems is not future proofing at all. It's like they said N is good enough.


D_K
D_K

lol 45 ms.

hordaak
hordaak

sony says they are going to do something...MS does it. thats why sony doesnt make money, they just keep losing money. they should just go away like the do do bird

rarson
rarson

@emerin76  

Why the fuck would I buy a Windows phone for Xbox games? It's not like the phone has a decent controller built-in. No, I'd rather play Xbox games on an Xbox.

I'd rather play stupid phone games that don't cost anything on my phone, since I only "game" on it in short bursts anyway.

Vodoo
Vodoo

@mkeezay22 The X1's cloud power is more for multiplayer support than anything, which leaves more system resources for single player.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@leandrro 

lol. the lead of gaikai? which was purchased only a year ago? and still has no prototype to show? probably because of how underdeveloped it currently is?

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@jtthegame316 normal PC games take a fast connection to stream, detail of the magnitude they want to convey would take a super massive superserver farm and require fast connections for hd and eventually 4k streaming.

edinko
edinko

@jenovaschilld MAte did you actaully tried cloud gaming? I have 100Mbps fiber optics I tried both onlive an gaikai and its really bad. ITs an ugly blocky compressed video wiith a control lag making the experience a torture.YOU can simulate it by playing some laggy youtube videoreview with a terrible control lag that makes fast games almost unplayable

minerl99
minerl99

@broly180 

Some people have a way with words and some people not have way...

FrankZoex2
FrankZoex2

@straightcur Just replace it with "lots of powerful servers that do clever stuff" or something. Like miner199 says though it doesn't really roll off the tongue and you'll get sick of saying it.

minerl99
minerl99

@straightcur 

Still, is there a better name?

"Servers existing somewhere you aren't", just doesn't roll off the tongue.

darkmatter00
darkmatter00

@straightcur You're not alone there. My blood pressure doesn't go up but I can't help rolling my eyes or thinking of the Captain Picard or other face palm pics.

FrankZoex2
FrankZoex2

@Vodoo You ever wondered why ad videos download and play instantly but other videos don't? Dedicated high powered servers. That is the main reason for speed problems.

minerl99
minerl99

@Vodoo 

I've always wondered why my PS3 is so much slower than my 360 on downloads in my house on the same wireless network.  

Thanks for the explanation.  I just thought I had a lemon.

The "But it's free" thing for me wasn't worth it, so I use the 360 for all streaming/Live type things.

darkmatter00
darkmatter00

@Vodoo I think the reason for no wireless AC in consoles is that the IEEE still has not finalized an AC standard. I think until that happens the neither MS or Sony would want to put in their machines since the final version of the AC may not be what is out there now, which I think would cause both companies a lot of money and technical headaches, although they both would not be above selling an adapter for those who really want AC. I also think that people are just happy with wireless N since a lot of people are only getting new routers now because of new hardware. I appreciate your tech skills and don't doubt your setup but Xbox Live has been around longer and has a more substantial infrastructure vs the still pretty new PSN. The biggest problem I think is at the ISP level with their traffic shaping/throttling which can make trying to do anything on console or PC a pain the ass. If MS and Sony really want to make all this cloud streaming happen they are going to have to get into bed with the ISP's & FCC (who are pretty much puppets to the largest ISP's) since lobbying is the way they get things done. ISP's  here in the US are a large part of the problem of why not everyone can't take advantage of all that current gen and upcoming consoles have to offer especially the "cloud" and digital distribution. I still have a 3Mps DSL connection that gets me by thankfully but for some people its still dial up or if they're "lucky" satellite. I didn't mean to write so much and this was not an attack on you Vodoo, I just had to type what was on my mind.

Remi2521
Remi2521

@Vodoo  if it aint Verizon im not concerned for it is stupid fast where I live. got to upgrade to quantum

ll_po
ll_po

@D_K is actually playable. My plasma TV has 55ms

haze0986
haze0986

@hordaak sony is set to make more than half a billion dollars the day the console releases. how exactly are sony not making money. thats half a billion for a console not too mention the slew of products sony has. microsoft copying isnt bad for sony, it shows everyone who actually has the better system (ps4)

moesuir
moesuir

@hordaak Good thing Sony is "going first" with Gaikai. If they fail, MS can learn from their mistakes and then offer a superior service :)

emerin76
emerin76

@rarson @emerin76 hehe, gamers.  Such pleasant fellows.
Anyone would rather play on an xbox.  My question wasn't would you buy one to play xbox games.  anyway.  Thanks for that.

leandrro
leandrro

@blue_shift_91200+ TITLES. 50M+ GAMERS PER MONTH.

A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD.

And that's just for starters! Over the past several years, we've worked tirelessly to redefine the way people access and play video games. We developed amazing streaming technology, assembled an accomplished management team, signed numerous platform partners, and built the world's fastest and most widespread cloud gaming network.

And while we think all of that is pretty cool, we're not done yet. As a new member of the Sony Computer Entertainment family, we're working even harder to ensure the world's best entertainment content is delivered instantly to you, no matter where you are in the world.

Want to know more? Have a look around.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@edinko @jenovaschilld well follow down to my original post and the second half of my post just below the first which goes all over the problems you just mentioned! 

cirugo
cirugo

@FrankZoex2 @straightcur  

yeah that's great until you can't connect to the servers or they're down...like someone else said "Fuck cloud."

haze0986
haze0986

@minerl99 @Vodoo thats your experience, mine is a bit different my xbox would hang while my ps3 is a download beast. i guess it just depends on your area or something

Vodoo
Vodoo

@darkmatter00 @Vodoo I wasn't implying that XBL's back-end is shoddy. When I was referring to buffering, I was pretty much talking about Netflix. 

But as for the Wireless-ac not being the final version... that shouldn't really matter and won't cost the company anything. Routers and cards are sold before the final version (forget the term) is decided on and very little hardware-wise changes. Console manufacturers can issue a firmware update and be done with it. Even in its current incarnation, it's leagues better than N. And for people in your situation or worse, with slower broadband speeds, you don't lose hardly any speed over the wireless connection. So it only benefits wireless online gaming.

You're absolutely correct in that the ISP's here are the biggest problem in the way of cloud services. A good portion of the biggest ISP's started having caps for home users, which is just ridiculous. It's completely unnecessary and a way for them to squeeze people for more money. They saw the mobile providers doing it, so they started doing it. Luckily, my company doesn't use caps. 

I don't know if you're familiar with "Net-Neutrality" laws. It basically says that an ISP cannot show preferential treatment to ANY company for online access. So if an ISP let the Xbox's online services not count towards their online cap, they would be violating network neutrality laws. It's all about fair and consistent usage for everybody across the board. They can't give any company an advantage. But these laws are supervised by the FCC, which as you pointed out, has no balls. 

It's plainly obvious we have a broken system; and technology will remain to be hindered of future progress unless politicians "grow a set" and stand up to the big corporations that think they run the country.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@haze0986 @hordaak 

first off, their gaming division is in the shitter. the success of the ps4 isn't really gonna skyrocket them to riches.

and second off, sony as a whole is in the shitter. the success of the ps4 won't save them from that.

rarson
rarson

@emerin76

Actually, that's exactly what your question was. Perhaps you just worded it incorrectly.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@edinko I just tried finding the rest of my long post and I guess it was cut off by Livefyres parameters - shame to i made sure it was posted correctly before i logged off couple of nights ago. 

Anyway you are spot on, I went over the largest problem which was latency as well as the many other problems of cloud gaming. 

Now I believe xbox/ps4 are wanting to try a hybrid, where you download a small part of architecture and engine, it will not be a true emulator but be better at producing graphics more compatible to the many different screens and tvs it will be use on. 

I am like you I think even the holo decks of the ncc-1701 C would still be buggy. The greatest problem will be implementing a cloud based gaming over sooo many different forms of broadband all over the USA and world. 

The thing is though - it is the most profitable future the gaming companies see, which is a shame. They really believe they can force gamers/consumers to want and buy whatever they put out that is the most profitable to them.  To them it is always a matter of why are the gamers so stupid - don't they know how much money it will make us. Instead of giving the gamers what they want. 

I would try and rewrite the rest of the post, but it has already scrolled off the headers and condemned to google search purgatory. But you pretty much already know what cloud is and will be like for quite a while yet. Is it the future? yes But one far off.  


edinko
edinko

@jenovaschilld @edinko Where is the next post? I dont see any solution to this being a software guy myself. Poepel have bad internet connections. THe quiality of streamed games will be terrible and can work maybe in star trek times in the 24th century where there is no lag between your screen and the cloud. ITs just not possible they way they are advertsiing it now.The lag is awful and so is the picture quality. I feel sorry for people who will pay a sub for this -playing a youtube blocky video review basically . SLow games are servicable but look and play awful. Civilisation 5 streamed is so bad that you cant read the small text or you need some huge glasses. ITs unbearable bad mate. Its as subpar  as possible and if you think that console gaming is awful with its washed out 720p at 20 fps than this is about an order of magnitude worse

darkmatter00
darkmatter00

@Vodoo @darkmatter00 I thought that you were talking about Netflix and their streaming abilities and not MS. The problem I have and many other Xbox owners have is not being able to watch video that is on Live such as a featured trailer or video interview without it buffering every few seconds making something unwatchable but that is another story all together.

I think the console makers go with the wireless standard that is established so they don't have to deal with a worst case scenario after releasing a firmware patch that causes way more problems hardware wise. I think the term is pre-draft for routers and cards sold before the standard is finalized. To keep cost down and to get the console released in time may be another reason. I think we can all be happy that there is at least a choice between wired or wireless.

You're lucky not to be capped. I'm familiar with Net Neutrality and the whole debate but when it got to a certain point I got fed up with it and realized the situation would work out and that all the usual tactics would be used and in the end there would be a "solution" that made everyone "happy" which speaks to your broken system statement which I won't go into, lets just game on from the womb to the tomb and maybe beyond.