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.