Enjoy this round Sony, Microsoft’s perfectly positioned for the next

The console wars have been with us for decades, but all that’s about to change with the little box under your TV set to become superseded by the cloud. ...

The console wars have been with us for decades, but all that’s about to change with the little box under your TV set to become superseded by the cloud. 

Microsoft announced at E3 this year that they were working on game streaming from the cloud and today we get news that they’re ready to rock and roll with private trials already happening inside Microsoft and public trials of Project xCloud to commence in 2019. 

Built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure, distributed to their 54 Azure datacenters across the 140 countries, games could be streamed to almost any device (connection dependent). 

Microsoft has taken the specialised hardware inside a single Xbox and worked out to pack 4 of them into a server blade. By adding and connecting tens of thousands of these server blades, game sessions can be run on the Microsoft infrastructure, and at scale. 

Game streaming is certainly not a new concept with OnLive‘s famous entrance and exit to the market, finally wrapping up with an acquisition by Sony. After buying the technology, Sony rolled it into a service called PlayStation Now, which has struggled to gain meaningful subscriber numbers (Sony aren’t promoting them) almost no new titles are offered on the service.  

The challenge of game streaming is also a lot more difficult today, with 4K HDR graphics now expected by gamers and the latency has to be super low. The 2019 launch of Project xCloud is also timed well to coincide with the global rollout of 5G networks, something which aids in the delivery of high speeds and low-latency, making this a serious reality. One thing we don’t know is how the massive amounts of data required would be impacted by Australian mobile data caps. 

Currently, the test experience is running at 10 megabits per second. Our goal is to deliver high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrate that work across the widest possible networks, taking into consideration the uniqueness of every device and network.

Kareem Choudhry – Corporate Vice President, Gaming Cloud, Microsoft
Categories
Gaming

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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  • Academic Maniac
    9 October 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Not necessarily. Even if people were to hop onto the Xbox stream service, they would most likely still stick to a PlayStation hardware for the quality exclusive content, which I’m sure Sony is going to double down on next generation. That’s my plan anyway if the xCloud turns out to be great, I’ll just grab a PlayStation, Join PS Plus and subscribe to the Xbox streaming service whenever an exclusive is available. Also, PlayStation has recognised the next gaming battleground to be the cloud even before PS4 was announced, hence the purchase of Gaikai and OnLive to form PS Now. People like to put down PS Now, saying it got pulled from platforms, that it will never be able to compete with the sheer size of MS’s Azure Cloud, but one must remember cloud streaming is a technology and there are different ways of going at it, that’s why patents exist. Sony is also suspiciously quiet about the service too, not even during shareholder conferences it ever talks about its performances. To me this is a sign of them waiting for competition to pounce before they announce any form of new upgrades for the service. I’m pretty certain during PS5 announcement PS Now will play a part in it besides VR. Other signs that points to that is Sony silently expanding their cloud data centres around the world, with the latest being Adelaide in Australia.

    The battle of the cloud will be an interesting one that’s for sure, but MS other than their OS and office suite have a poor history at being dominant player in any consumer market. They are a jack of all trade company in every sense, always trying their best to be ‘cool’ but will never be regarded as such. Surface line compared to Apple products; Cortana compared to Siri, G-Assistant and Alexa; Xbox compared to Playstation; Bing compared to Google Search; Zune compared to Ipod; MS Store compared to Play Store, App Store and Steam etc. Notice the trend? They are always “let’s join in”, lagging behind, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because being so dogged and thick keep trying and trying is exactly why Microsoft is where they are today.

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