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Microsoft testing game streaming service

Microsoft testing game streaming service

The streaming service was demonstrated by streaming Halo 4 to a PC and a Lumia 520.

Microsoft is testing a cloud-based streaming service to bring Xbox games to Windows devices.

According to sources close to the matter talking to The Verge, the streaming service has been demonstrated with the Xbox 360's Halo 4 being streamed via the cloud to a Windows PC and a Windows Phone Lumia 520. The service currently runs smoothly with latency being reduced to 45ms on the Lumia.

The service at present only requires a low-end PC or a Windows phone using an accessory to attach an Xbox controller to it. Microsoft has not yet named the service or officially announced it and the demonstration was made in an internal company meeting.

This appears to be Microsoft's answer to Sony's Gaikai cloud service which is being leveraged to play Playstation 3 games on the Playstation 4. Microsoft does also already have a strong cloud service in the form of the Windows Azure platform.

The reveal also puts Valve's SteamOS into greater context. The Linux-based operating system will allow for native playing and streaming of Steam games, allowing Valve to operate completely independently in the face of expanded competition from Sony and Microsoft.

Talking to Gamespot, Microsoft senior director of product management and planning Albert Penello has confirmed that the Windows Azure platform could be used to introduce backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, although that would require extra development time to deliver a robust experience.

Previously, Microsoft has stated that backwards compatibility is something the company was not interested in bringing to the Xbox One. Former Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Don Mattrick went as far as to say that 'if you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards' around the console's announcement.

7 Comments

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theshadow2001 30th September 2013, 11:29 Quote
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Streaming and general clouding is the inevitable direction of all technology. Smartphones and tablets will have computing power and storage way beyond their size and and actual local processing ability due to cloud servers. Which more than likely will turn in to a personal data security cluster ****. But thats a whole other topic.

The required ubiquitous high speed high bandwidth infrastructure isn't there yet but it will happen eventually.
edzieba 30th September 2013, 11:43 Quote
Streaming of low-level functionality can only work with high bandwidth and above all low latency links being ubiquitous. Even a VDI linking locally via gigabit ethernet to an on-site server lags noticeably when doing something as simple as scrolling a page.

We're at yet another transition period in the continuous flip-flopping of thin and thick clients, and this time it's moving away from centralisation (the 'cloud', really just 'a load of virtualised servers owned by someone else') again, driven both by privacy concerns and by insufficient network connectivity. It's happened many times in the past, and is happening again now: local hardware improvements have outpaced server hardware and bandwidth improvements, making moving computing to the edge preferable to centralising. Mainframe/terminal, microcomputer, server/client, PC, 'cloud'/VDI, mobile device, etc. Back and forth as different bits of technology advance at different paces. When network technology advances to make high-bandwidth low-latency links common (i.e. when fibre rolls out everywhere and is cheap) then we'll see another flop back to 'computing elsewhere', probably a home server PC working to serve mobile client devices.
forum_user 30th September 2013, 15:05 Quote
We've had bedroom servers; extra old PCs with shared network drives/folders in our houses for years.

Then someone says "take their servers away", make them believe they need off-site clouds - the tech world sells it to their bosses. We start using evernote and dropbox accounts (etc).

Onlive and Gaikai fail (?! I hear nothing about them these days).

The NSA hack our dropbox accounts and steal our naked self portraits.

Valve put servers back in our houses.

The world is at peace again.

Now we just need fireproof, vandal proof, anti-theft, anti-NSA-hackable server safes buried in our gardens.
Andy Mc 30th September 2013, 23:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Streaming and general clouding is the inevitable direction of all technology. Smartphones and tablets will have computing power and storage way beyond their size and and actual local processing ability due to cloud servers. Which more than likely will turn in to a personal data security cluster ****. But thats a whole other topic.


Yes, but who's going to want that in a device that only lasts a few hours between charges?
theshadow2001 30th September 2013, 23:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Yes, but who's going to want that in a device that only lasts a few hours between charges?

Everyone, probably.

Imagine your desktop computer, but more powerful as a virtual machine in the cloud. Which contains all your software, data, programs, apps etc. and is accessible and usable by any device you have to hand, smartphone, tablet, laptop or whatever other future device there is. Even anyone else's device you just log in.

Its efficient, people will have longer lasting battery devices. Its more powerful than local devices. Client devices are cheaper than powerful local deices (those three alone would be enough to get joe public on board) The big software creators will have much greater control over software from piracy, which I think is what would really drive it.

Adobe have already gone to a cloud type system for some products, office 365 as well. Nvidia are working on game streaming, as are valve. OnLive has managed to keep going. Google chrome is an operating system based around the cloud. Its slowly but surely happening. The only big hurdle is the high speed internet access. But that will come eventually.

I don't think that this is a fantastic idea I just reckon thats where things will end up
Corky42 1st October 2013, 08:02 Quote
While there is no doubt company's are pushing the cloud i don't think it will or should replace local storage and computing. Just like many things it has its uses when properly applied and implemented, such as mobile devices, extra computational power, storage, sharing of data.

But to suggest its going to replace locally stored/processed data is misguided, there are the concerns over ownership, security, changing T&C, compatibility, as well as connection issues. You only have to look at how much criticism Adobe's Creative Cloud has been received for an example of how not to do it, while Office 365 is an example of how it should be done, although how long conventional Office will be released along with the subscription-based Office is anyone's guess.

As for streaming it to has its uses to, but both NVidia and Valve's implementations are streaming data locally. When OnLive attempted remotely streamed data no one wanted it, and Google's chrome OS isn't exactly popular either.

When time sensitive data is streamed latency becomes an issue, Microsoft claims in the article "The service currently runs smoothly with latency being reduced to 45ms on the Lumia" But there is no mention of the type or setup of the connection used. Other than niche markets, and backwards compatibility streaming time sensitive data over longer distances will never work.
forum_user 1st October 2013, 09:53 Quote
It remains to be seen if the current highest resolution gaming can be delivered down a phoneline.

1080P TVs are yesterdays news.
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