For a few years now, we’ve been hearing reports that the future of gaming may be a cloudy one indeed. The concept of streaming your games to devices like a smartphone or laptop has been steadily popping up more and more in both rumors and interviews.
Well, grab your umbrellas gamers, because it sounds like those clouds are moving in faster than we anticipated. Both Google and Microsoft have both made recent announcements and shown off tech that will allow you to play modern AAA games on something as simple as a smartphone or even a web browser! Read on to find out what this means for the future of the Xbox Two.
Take Your Games Anywhere? That’s The Plan!
Cloud gaming is a concept that many gamers are still warming up to, myself included, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft, Google, and even Nintendo from dipping their feet into its waters. Plenty of rumors have emerged in the past, but now we have some solid information to go on, and it’s quite interesting.
Let’s start with Nintendo. In may of 2018, the company partnered with a Taiwanese game streaming company called Ubitus GameCloud to bring Resident Evil 7 to the switch. It actually worked pretty well, even when playing on WiFi, which is amazing when you consider that the Switch could never run this game otherwise.
During a Japanese Nintendo Direct, the company also announced that the latest Assassin’s Creed game, Odyssey, would be playable in Japan on the switch via cloud-based streaming. The company hasn’t brought this concept west yet, but it’s interesting to see how it is being used on portable hardware.
Which brings us to the latest announcements from both Google and Microsoft. While we’ve heard rumors in the past about Google’s mysterious Yeti team, the fruits of their labor were revealed in a private demo of Google’s Project Stream.
Some game journalists had the opportunity to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey using this technology. The twist? They did so on their Chrome internet browsers!. The game didn’t have any graphical settings, and it certainly wasn’t running at 60 FPS, but the experience has been largely well received when playing on a laptop with a DualShock 4.
Now we come to Microsoft, who very recently unveiled Project xCloud. This is an upcoming game streaming service designed to bring Xbox games to other platforms in a big way.
Games that you wouldn’t be able to run on a smartphone, tablet, or standard PC will all become playable through the magic of streaming. They won’t be allowing anyone to try it until next year, but Microsoft already revealed that they are bringing on developers and testing everything in a private beta.
The goal is to provide console-quality experiences with low latency and options for input that range from standard controllers, to touch-based options. Trying to play a modern shooter with touch controls sounds like an impossible feat, but if anyone can figure it out, it’s Microsoft.
What’s really interesting about all of this is the fact that developers don’t need to do a whole lot to make this happen. The games themselves would be running on servers that handle all of the computations and hardware needed to make them run.
The only thing Microsoft has to be concerned with, is the capabilities of your connection to provide a smooth and playable experience. This is, of course, it’s own unique challenge, but if they can surmount it, they will have the ability to put their games on any connected platform, which would be huge.
How Does This Affect Xbox 2?
With the announcement of Project xCloud, you’d be forgiven for wondering how this will affect Xbox 2 (Project Scarlett). Right now, we don’t know for certain, but it’s safe to say that this won’t replace the next generation console. In fact, it may just exist as a separate entity to allow modern games to be playable on other devices.
Since this is being touted as its own service, I’m thinking this will play into Xbox 2 in some way, possibly as a feature, but it won’t replace the console hardware option that we know and love. That may come in the future, but for now, I’m willing to bet our way of playing via discs or digital downloads if safe for the time being.
What do you think? Would you use Microsoft’s xCloud service or stream games in your internet browser? Let us know in the comments!