Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec

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Monkey Man
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PostMicrosoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Monkey Man » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:51 pm



Project xCloud: Gaming with you at the center

The future of gaming is a world where you are empowered to play the games you want, with the people you want, whenever you want, wherever you are, and on any device of your choosing. Our vision for the evolution of gaming is similar to music and movies — entertainment should be available on demand and accessible from any screen. Today, I’m excited to share with you one of our key projects that will take us on an accelerated journey to that future world: Project xCloud.

Today, the games you play are very much dictated by the device you are using. Project xCloud’s state-of-the-art global game-streaming technology will offer you the freedom to play on the device you want without being locked to a particular device, empowering YOU, the gamers, to be at the center of your gaming experience.

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Ultimately, Project xCloud is about providing gamers — whether they prefer console or PC — new choices in when and where they play, while giving mobile-only players access to worlds, characters and immersive stories they haven’t been able to experience before.

To realize this vision, we know we must make it easy for developers to bring their content to Project xCloud. Developers of the more than 3,000 games available on Xbox One today, and those building the thousands that are coming in the future, will be able to deploy and dramatically scale access to their games across all devices on Project xCloud with no additional work.

About Project xCloud

Scaling and building out Project xCloud is a multi-year journey for us. We’ll begin public trials in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations. Our focus is on delivering an amazing added experience to existing Xbox players and on empowering developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players across devices. Our goal with Project xCloud is to deliver a quality experience for all gamers on all devices that’s consistent with the speed and high-fidelity gamers experience and expect on their PCs and consoles.

We’ve enabled compatibility with existing and future Xbox games by building out custom hardware for our datacenters that leverages our years of console and platform experience. We’ve architected a new customizable blade that can host the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles, as well as the associated infrastructure supporting it. We will scale those custom blades in datacenters across Azure regions over time.



We are testing Project xCloud today. The test runs on devices (mobile phones, tablets) paired with an Xbox Wireless Controller through Bluetooth, and it is also playable using touch input. The immersive nature of console and PC games often requires controls that are mapped to multiple keys, buttons, sticks and triggers. We are developing a new, game-specific touch input overlay that provides maximum response in a minimal footprint for players who choose to play without a controller.

Cloud game-streaming is a multi-faceted, complex challenge. Unlike other forms of digital entertainment, games are interactive experiences that dynamically change based on player input. Delivering a high-quality experience across a variety of devices must account for different obstacles, such as low-latency video streamed remotely, and support a large, multi-user network. In addition to solving latency, other important considerations are supporting the graphical fidelity and framerates that preserve the artist’s original intentions, and the type of input a player has available.

Microsoft — with our nearly 40 years of gaming experience starting with PC, as well as our breadth and depth of capabilities from software to hardware and deep experience of being a platform company — is well equipped to address the complex challenge of cloud game-streaming. With datacenters in 54 Azure regions and services available in 140 countries, Azure has the scale to deliver a great gaming experience for players worldwide, regardless of their location.

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Developers and researchers at Microsoft Research are creating ways to combat latency through advances in networking topology, and video encoding and decoding. Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and will dynamically scale to push against the outer limits of what’s possible on 5G networks as they roll out globally. 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.

We are looking forward to learning with you during our public trials next year and sharing more details as we continue on this journey to the future of gaming with you at the center. Stay tuned!

Thanx,

Kareem

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2018/1 ... he-center/

Last edited by Monkey Man on Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud
by As Fat as Santa » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:54 pm

Can't watch the vid right now.

Is it cloud gaming like the thing that Google has announced? So streaming games to various things without needing an Xbox?

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud
by Peter Crisp » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:02 pm

Good idea but I'm still going to buy a console just because my internet while good isn't 100% perfect or ultra fast enough just yet. Maybe by the time the next next gen but not in the next 10 years or so.
I think this would be perfect for anyone at university though with access to decent wifi and only a small flat.

The East coast of Australia are gooseberry fool out of luck it seems and have fun getting a game going in Russia :slol:

jiggles wrote:Nobody with a VR headset is going to be using it regularly this time next year, let alone in 4 years time.


Posted 16th March 2016. Let's see.
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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Ho-Ho-Ho-tek » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:32 pm

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud
by Ho-Ho-Ho-tek » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:32 pm

Pedz wrote:Can't watch the vid right now.

Is it cloud gaming like the thing that Google has announced? So streaming games to various things without needing an Xbox?

Yes.

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NickSCFC
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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by NickSCFC » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:51 pm

That was a good video.

How does this compare to PS Now?

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Trelliz » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:59 pm

Apart from internet speeds, a question will be how much this costs. Stuff like PSNow is expensive, so if MS undercut that or just do it for free that would be quite a thing.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Ho-Ho-Ho-tek » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:13 pm

Trelliz wrote:Apart from internet speeds, a question will be how much this costs. Stuff like PSNow is expensive, so if MS undercut that or just do it for free that would be quite a thing.

I'd imagine it to be kinda free as in you need a Xbox Live Gold sub but nothing else.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Gemini73 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:55 pm

Digital Luddites am cry.

Last edited by Gemini73 on Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Snowy » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:22 pm

I'm just not interested in this business model. I hope it fails.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by NickSCFC » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:27 pm

Sandy wrote:I'm just not interested in this business model. I hope it fails.


It's a long term solution that will be popular in a decade or so.

I'd prefer companies that built up the industry like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft see success here instead of someone like Google or Amazon just cashing in, so I'm glad they're getting their foot in the door.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:42 pm

I wonder if MS will consider making the service, sans exclusives, available on other consoles. That'd be an actual game changer.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Garth of Christmas Future » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:52 pm

Interesting times, I'll give it a go!

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Death's Head » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:57 pm

NickSCFC wrote:
Sandy wrote:I'm just not interested in this business model. I hope it fails.


It's a long term solution that will be popular in a decade or so.


It will be popular because that will be the only option available. Pretty much every software vendor has a cloud offering or wants to have a cloud offering, games is sadly the next step. Unfortunately the way we are going suggests everything will be rented and we will own nothing. I am dead against this future, but what can you do?

Yes?
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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Death's Head » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:00 pm

Saint of Killers wrote:I wonder if MS will consider making the service, sans exclusives, available on other consoles. That'd be an actual game changer.

I don't see any real reason why not, it is just a service after all. If they could come to an agreement with other publishers, it could happen. I would expect though that Sony will do the same as will Amazon with Nintendo still trying to get the cartridge model to work. So the most likely scenario is probably one where there are a number of competing subscription services like we have with Netflix, Amazon, NowTV etc

Yes?
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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by jawafour » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:13 pm

Death's Head wrote:It will be popular because that will be the only option available... Unfortunately the way we are going suggests everything will be rented and we will own nothing. I am dead against this future, but what can you do?

I think you're right, Deaths. Games will be available through subscription services like Game Pass and PlayStation Now... with the platform holders liaising with publishers to choose what games will be made available and for how long. You wanna play, say, Fallout 4? Sure, it'll be coming up in February for four weeks.

It sounds cynical but it looks like things could go that way.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Gemini73 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:18 pm

Perhaps I'm being selfish but with over 30 years of gaming behind me I'm not at all concerned where the future of gaming takes us, including a lack of ownership. I probably won't even be gaming at that point.

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Monkey Man » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:34 pm

Now, on an ironically cloudless early October day, I'm visiting those same Microsoft execs at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to see the progress they’ve made. That progress includes a lot of caveats, and more than a little secrecy—but it also makes clear that Microsoft is aiming higher, and achieving more, than what some have thought.

Project xCloud, as the effort is known internally, is a company-wide push that leverages the expertise of a multitude of different teams. It tapped the secretive Microsoft Research division, which works on everything from quantum computing to AR/VR to genomics, to crack thresholds that probably wouldn’t have been cracked otherwise. It harnesses the power and ubiquity of Microsoft’s globe-spanning network of Azure data centers. And perhaps more importantly, it turns the living-room console—an immovable fixture of game culture since 1972—from an anchor into a hub.

“Our expectation would be if you fast-forward five years, there will be multiple videogame streaming aggregators,” says Mike Olson, a managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. “The ones that are best positioned are probably those that already have a good brand in gaming, and a robust cloud platform. That’s a pretty short list.” According to Olson, it’s a list of three: Amazon, which owns Twitch and server behemoth AWS; Google, which has Google Play and Google Cloud Platform (and just last week announced their own cloud-gaming initiative, Project Stream); and Microsoft, with Xbox and its Azure cloud infrastructure.

That’s where Microsoft Research comes in. The research group was instrumental in helping make the Xbox One backward-compatible; now, it’s trying to make Project xCloud efficient enough to run on a 10 megabits-per-second internet connection, which means you’d be able to play using a 4G LTE connection in virtually every major market in the US. (A high-def Netflix video requires about 5 Mbps; Google's recently announced cloud-gaming project recommends 25.) That encompasses a host of challenges, but many of them boil down to trying to improve existing compression methods so that encoding and decoding can be accomplished using fewer bits. Fewer bits = less information to move = lower latency. One example: since most video games have a heads-up display, researchers are using machine learning to train the encoder on those less variable areas of the screen.

Attached to the controller, via a cheapo Amazon clip, is a Samsung Galaxy phone. (Microsoft started putting Bluetooth in its Xbox controllers in 2016, so people could use the controllers with their Windows computers.) Halo: Master Chief is on this one, but there are four Xbox titles total, all running on phones or tablets. “They don't know they're running in the cloud,” La Chapelle says. “As they're concerned, they're on a console that could be in your house.” The consoles that they’re on, each nestled among three of its siblings, are in a data center in eastern Washington, about 200 miles away.

Could I tell? Honestly, no. On that phone, I drove the Warthog like I’d just staggered out of a bar; on another, I played a little Gears of War 4. None were high-speed multiplayer environments, but the controls were responsive and the graphics were smooth, and I never felt appreciable latency. Aside from a single instance of blocky graphics on Gears, it was like playing at home, albeit on a much smaller screen—and with phone-speaker sound. (You’re gonna want headphones. And maybe reading glasses.) The games were … the games. “We didn't crack the bits,” Choudhry says. “They didn't repackage it. They didn't reopen it. They didn't put cloud-specific restrictions on. It is the same experience.”

For now, Choudhry’s just proud of what they’ve managed to build so far. And how crucial Project xCloud is to today’s always-on digital world. “My children don’t understand what it means to listen to the radio, waiting for your favorite song to come on,” he says.

So why should they wait until they get home to play Forza?

https://www.wired.com/story/xbox-cloud- ... exclusive/

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PostRe: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by mic » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:36 pm

Aren’t we only buying licenses to play anyway, with the disk NOT denoting ownership? I pay for gold regardless, so it would be great to have the extra freebie options.

Not sure what Xbox one games I’d be happy to play on my phone, though... indie stuff, I supppose?

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PostRe: RE: Re: Microsoft announces Project xCloud. Trials start 2019, test experience is 10 megabits per sec
by Death's Head » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:25 pm

mic wrote:Aren’t we only buying licenses to play anyway, with the disk NOT denoting ownership? I pay for gold regardless, so it would be great to have the extra freebie options.

Not sure what Xbox one games I’d be happy to play on my phone, though... indie stuff, I supppose?
I don't think a pure game service is going to cost the same as a yearly gold subscription. I think we'd be looking at £10+ per month.

Yes?

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