Microsoft’s cloud gaming comes closer to reality with project DeLorean

Sony has largely overshadowed Microsoft when it comes to cloud gaming. PlayStation Now, their cloud streaming service, is meant to provide backwards compatibility for the PS4 and to be a major differentiator from the Xbox One.

However, Microsoft has been working on its own cloud gaming services, and demoed it last year on a Lumia device. The DeLorean study is a big step forward in Microsoft’s cloud computing future.

The premise of cloud gaming is very simple. Instead of the device you own doing the heavy lifting, it is done on a remote server. Your device sends your interactions to the server, and it displays output frames from the server. This allows you to play games on a variety of devices, and is what allowed Sony to promise backwards compatibility even though the PS4 does not support it itself.

Aside from backwards compatibility, there are many other possibilities. To use cloud computing you would not need as powerful a machine, basically a glorified streaming device. Devices less powerful than the Xbox One, such tablets and phones could allow you to play games that they by themselves could not handle.

The problem with cloud based gaming is basically latency. Since you are communicating with a server, how do you make the experience seamless and smooth?

This paper by Microsoft Research may hold the answer. The DeLorean project aims to account for up to 250ms of network latency by delivering rendered frames up to one round-trip time (RTT, also called Ping), the time for a packet to be sent by your computer and acknowledged by the server. It aims to do this by future input prediction, state space subsampling and time shifting, misprediction compensation, and bandwidth compression.

They have tested the system with Doom 3 and Fable 3, and found that DeLorean “successfully mimics playing across a low-latency network”. The future of this is very exciting, as it could expand the gaming experience between all Windows devices – phones, tablets, consoles, and PCs.

What are you hoping cloud gaming will bring to your gaming experience? What devices do you want to see it on the most: a similar experience as PlayStation Now, or on lower powered mobile devices?

18 Responses

  1. amnesia says:

    Microsoft’s cloud vision is going to become a reality in a few years. I can already see pony guys crying in the corner.

  2. Sargon says:

    Meh. If that finally lets console people have backwards compatibility then good for them. I already got backwards compatibility on my PC. No need to stay always online for it to work either.

    • delta007 says:

      could mean more games on PC, or a Surface too

      • Sargon says:

        Or they could just port them to PC if they really cared about it. Not everyone likes always-online games, especially if they’re single-player.
        I’m sure they’ll market it like: You can finally play Halo 3 on your Windows computer or a tablet***************

        *As long as you own an XBOX ONE
        **As long as you own an XBOX ONE Controller
        *** As long as you pay for XBOX Live Gold
        **** As long as you pay whatever this streaming service will cost
        ***** As long as you own a copy of Halo MCC on XBOX One
        ****** We reserve the right to remove any game from our library whenever we want, so you will never truly own a copy of any game ever again
        ******* And so on…

        They’ll do everything they can to prove that Xbox is still the centre of all entertainment and that it is “superior” to your much more powerful PC…. All to avoid supporting PC gaming and convince you to just get an xbox already.

        • delta007 says:

          They don’t make much money off Xbox hardware. The point is to sell games. Also, once you do own a game on an Xbox, it would be nice to be able to play it on other things also.

          • Sargon says:

            Then why not just make it run natively on other platforms. Yes I know that they make money from that silly subscription of theirs and from licencing of games (hence why console games are always more expensive than PC), but they could still just make an overpriced PC version and collect that money as some sort of right-to-play-xbox-title-on-pc-tax. That way they still get money from games and PC players aren’t forced to buy hardware that they don’t want which, as you said, doesn’t really make Microsoft much money anyway.

            Microsoft could also do exactly what Valve feared MS would do with Windows 8…. Create a native steam-like game store. It would be native and convenient and it would also let Microsoft take a cut from all the sales, yet they never did that…. simply because they do not care about PC gaming. They think PC is only good as a “companion” to Xbox, hence they released Halo: Spartan Assault and pat themselves on the back, thinking that they are “supporting PC gaming”.

            This whole streaming business is no different. PC could easily run all those games, but MS refuses to recognise PC as a proper gaming platform on its own.

          • delta007 says:

            I was talking about lower powered devices like a surface tablet that would not be able to run the games natively. Also, last gen games needed to be ported with significant investment as the silicon in consoles was different than PCs. Could change this generation though.

          • Mike C says:

            forget this guy, if we took his model they would be no need for services like Netflix.

          • delta007 says:

            I see his perspective too, though. Microsoft will make this a not – so – awesomely priced subscription service. They would do this for everything if they could, it seems.

            Cloud gaming could be pretty damn awesome though – and thats a perspective that he doesn’t seem too open to.

  3. AzCloud says:

    Did you even read the article this is extremely big, they’ve answered all my doubts. If Microsoft came out with this first a lot more people would understand and believe the Cloud bs from the start.

  4. Micky says:

    I said it before and I say it again…
    online only can go to hell EVEN if it’s PERFECT!
    Microsoft or any other company will not force us to online only world.
    we are not fools, and we know what your agenda guys…
    slavery is back again…but this time it’s a technology slavery!
    beware smart people!

  5. Guest says:

    So your comparing the sales of a console (Xbox One) that is currently only available in 13 Country’s compared to another console (PS4) that is available in 70+ ?. And this has been going on for 7 months.

    Sony should say how many they have sold in the 13 country’s that the Xbox One is currently available, (you know as in a fair playing field) though I doubt they will do that because removing those extra “57” country’s numbers they have added for the last 7 months to those PS4 numbers they would no longer look so impressive.

    • Robert Kegel says:

      This is the game they play and its a sad one. They do it with number of apps in an ecosystem too, they don’t say how many apps aren’t used or that are junk apps. This is what a company does when its scared and wants to seem like they’re strong.

      The PS4 is strong, it is selling well but like you said they never say how many sales in the 13 countries that the Xbox is being sold. That would probably tell a totally different story.

      I predict that the more countries the Xbox One is available the closer it will get to the PS4. A lot of those will be people who have the PS4 also buying the Xbox One.

      Also this is 7 months. They act like its been 3-5 years already. A lot can happen in a couple years. Just look at the PS3, it was way behind the Xbox 360 but in time it caught up, it took a while.

      I keep saying this but its cool to hate Microsoft. Most people just pull thoughts out of their ass or listen to the BS that the companies are spewing instead of seeing the truth.

  6. Stomp Assailant says:

    An XBOX for everyone!!!!

  7. Robert Kegel says:

    Years ago I was in the beta for OnLive. It was the first game streaming service and it was ok. I played a few games, single player and multiplayer, the single player games worked really well and the multiplayer had their ups and downs but all in all I was impressed. I never thought game streaming would work but here it was, it did. OnLive though did some funky payment model which I see they’re still around but who knows how well they’re doing.

    OnLive showed it can be done, then a bunch of other companies came out as well. This is good. If they keep this on the Xbox One (which I think they will at least for a few years) it will good for backwards compatibility. They will hopefully bring it to the PC and tablets. If they make a service like Steam for streaming I think it would do well.

    Steam now has streaming from your PC to another system in your house which I guess is cool, but I have never used it. Why would I play a game on my laptop when I can play it on my PC? I guess this is for people who have powerful laptops but weak PC’s. If Steam decides to expand that and make a streaming service of their own, with the payment model they currently have (straight forward and not convoluted like OnLive’s is) it would do well. They wouldn’t even have to convert, just add. You can download games and play like you do now or you can stream the games.

    I hope this works for Microsoft. I don’t see why it won’t. There will be haters who will say “Blah blah blah, streaming, blah blah blah, control” whatever, don’t do it then. I don’t think they’ll make it mandatory. Unless the next console is a pure streaming one, in which case you’re screwed, but knowing Microsoft they’ll then make another one later on that will allow you to use disks or download the game. One will be $99 and the other will be $400 and you’ll be able to pick and choose.

  8. game wars not consoles! says:

    So by using delorean devs can make only 1 version of a game and be played on both xbox and pc via cloud. That would make games cheaper and smoother on less expensive hardware.

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