Rumours have been circulating regarding Microsoft releasing a Cloud Gaming service on its Azure Platform, allowing games to be streamed over the Internet to various devices. With all these ‘big words’ being thrown around, what exactly does that mean for you as a gamer? Well that’s the easy part, the implementation of a streaming Cloud Service essentially means the facility to stream games to other devices and a high possibility for backwards compatibility, so theoretically with all those tasty 360 games you’ve been collecting over the years, you ‘may’ have the option to stream to your shiny new Xbox One. This appears to be a similar style of integration as Sony are promising through the Playstation 4 with the Gaikai platform.
So breaking it all down, let’s get into the nitty gritty details. The Microsoft Azure platform has been around for ages – it’s a tried and tested platform for Cloud Hosting services, and (in my personal opinion) it’s a great service to utilise with the Xbox One’s Cloud power, which is fairly top notch. Microsoft are already using this service to host their 300,000 Dedicated Servers for the Xbox Live platform as well as provide some additional services via the Azure cloud platform. Beforehand, however, this information was only announced as a way of ‘augmenting’ games through the cloud service (the benefits of which explained by Titanfall Engineer Jon Shiring), not a means of actually delivering them.
Not only is backwards compatibility part of this larger picture, but also the facility to stream your games to other Microsoft products. If, like me, you own a Surface Tablet and a Windows 8 Phone, this is just another cherry to add to the top of an already tasty pudding. This cloud gaming service was purportedly tested internally at Microsoft this week according to The Verge. Halo 4 was showing running on a PC and a Windows Phone (connected to a 360 controller) and was noted to be running quite ‘smoothly’ on both, the latency on the Lumia 520 a mere 45ms. Supposedly the purpose of this service (which is to be noted is only a prototype and without an official name) would be to stream games to a Windows device, but could also be used to provide backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, which Microsoft has recently talked about potentially offering. I’m not sure about you, but given I’m the kind of person who is consistently on the internet and would love the ability to stream content to one of my devices, this seems like an awesome move for Microsoft. I hope it does come to fruition!