With the new Google Stadia announced at GDC last week the internet is ablaze with renewed talk of cloud gaming and the “death of consoles”. It is incredibly hard to know just what the future truly brings when it comes to technology.
After all, who could have predicted that we would all have access to the entire internet on our phones or the ability to live stream our faces? Well, outside of shows like Star Trek.
Well, it seems that it isn’t just Google who believe streaming could be the next step in gaming. Eurogamer caught up with the head honcho of xCloud, Microsoft’s own streaming service. Kareem Choudhry.
He really dug into just what xCloud could mean for the industry, and why streaming services are so important to them. It seems that the Xbox could well be at the forefront of this exciting technology.
Technology always pushes its own boundaries and gaming can often be at the cutting edge of it. Just look at Virtual Reality.
Why is now the right time for streaming though? Kareem said this “Music streaming was around the launch of 3G, video was what kicked off with 4G and there’s a general belief that game streaming is what will be the killer workload for 5G.”
It looks like the tech is finally there for this kind of service. Of course, it isn’t as simple as just having the tech work though, in order for it to work for gaming there are a plethora of issues to overcome.
When asked about latency Kareem said this:
“From the data centres we have near Washington we’re seeing really good latency – less than 10 milliseconds that’s being added by the traversal to the cloud.”
Which sounds great, but it also relies on a level of infrastructure that is far from worldwide, hell, even in the UK we have plenty of areas with atrocious internet speeds.
With Xbox specifically having GamePass as it stands, how does this tie in with xCloud and what does it mean for the future of the consoles?
According to Kareem “Right now it’s a console product – we have aspirations to bring it to more users and more places. Project xCloud and GamePass are going to co-exist in some reasonable way.”
Which gets even more interesting because he also said this when asked about xCloud coming to the Switch “From an aspiration perspective, really I want to enable content on any device that has a screen and an input.”
Could this be the end of the Xbox then? Or is it simply an exciting new era with Microsoft at the forefront. Only time will tell.
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