Microsoft Announces xCloud Game Streaming Service

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Today, Microsoft officially announced Project xCloud, an Xbox game streaming service. Microsoft says they've built out custom hardware in their Azure datacenters to enable "compatibility with existing and future Xbox games." A video on Microsoft's blog shows off the new blade servers, which they will deploy all over the world. Microsoft says they're already testing xCloud on phones and tablets paired with Bluetooth Xbox Wireless Controllers, and that they are developing touch-based input for specific games. There's no firm release date for the service, but Microsoft states that more information is coming soon. Thurrott.com claims that Microsoft is working on a streaming-only Xbox console, but there's no official word on that yet.

    Check out the launch video here.

    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!
     
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  2. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    No thanks. How about working on making some actual games.
     
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  3. gxp500

    gxp500 Gawd

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    Lol streaming on cellular networks? Lets get streaming on hardwired networks feasible first.
     
  4. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    I like that last part of the video: We have it up and running today... and in about 10 years we'll let you know more...
     
  5. atom

    atom Gawd

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    I agree with you guys, but I have to point this out: Remember when we scoffed at the idea of digitally downloading games to the current generation of consoles and not having physical media?
     
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  6. Youn

    Youn [H]ardness Supreme

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    I don't remember them teasing it for years before it actually happened and we could see for ourselves that it wasn't all that bad waiting 30 hours to download a game, then having to buy more hard-drives for the console to expand, then having to deal with day-one patches and game-braking bugs that took a year to fix... no, I don't remember any fuss with any of that :D

    in other words, some people still hate it but it's a nice option, we just wanna see it in actual use before getting excited, not these marketing videos that are really pointless for anyone other than MS internal teams... why get excited about this? what's the point...
     
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  7. DPI

    DPI Nitpick Police

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    Correlation doesn't work because game streaming services have existed for years and other companies are already doing it better than what MS appears to be bringing.

    Sony, Nvidia, Valve and soon Google will dominate this space. MS appears to be introducing an also-ran in typical fashion because I don't see anything groundbreaking.
     
  8. Armenius

    Armenius I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital

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    Except the idea of gaming moving to a streaming only service has been around since at least 2006. Pundits back then were staking their reputations on swearing that the 7th console generation would be the last when people would actually be able to buy and play individual games locally.
     
  9. harbingerofdoom

    harbingerofdoom Gawd

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    if you can do it, id be mildly interested.
    i dont think you can actually pull it off though.
     
  10. xmadror

    xmadror Gawd

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    I kinda like the idea but I have doubts, I messed with steam streaming and even though it was playable the image quality took a hit and the extra latency was noticeable while on my local network.
    Even if they pull this off and it works perfectly my mobile data cap will still be there and if I'm at home then I'm really not interested.
     
  11. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    Valve doesn't really have one, as you can only stream locally. Haven't tried Sony, but GeforceNow is GREAT, well, not really, it CAN be great if ideal conditions are met. And there lies the problem with all streaming services. It needs ideal conditions for the games to be playable. A few seconds of lag or streaming interruption won't really hurt netflix as there's caching and even then, its not that rare that you have stuttering.

    But for streaming, you need bandwidth, very low latency and consistency. Otherwise the experience can be ruined. Low paced games like the arkham series run great, they are not very suceptible to latency but fighting games like SFV, well, good luck performing a combo or special moves. And forget about competitive multiplayer games. Fortnite SUCKS under streaming.

    BTW give gamestreaming while watching netflix a try. Just for kicks and tell me how it went.
     
  12. Travolta

    Travolta Gawd

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    Hopefully MS doesn’t delete your game files.
     
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  13. DPI

    DPI Nitpick Police

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    Valve doesn't have cloud/subscription based streaming yet, but the streaming space isn't limited to cloud since they're all vying for attention share. The streaming Android/iPhone apps for Steam actually work surprisingly well, and games are very playable with a DS4 controller connected to a newer Android device.

    The rest of that I'd fully agree, but then the idea that cloud streaming needs low latency and bandwidth is not shining a light on anything previously unknown.

    My question is simply what is Microsoft bringing to the table that no one else is doing, or are they just going through the motions to satisfy some internal bureaucracy that Phil Spencer be able to say in meetings "we're in cloud streaming too". Even the unimaginative "xCloud" naming suggests this is another thing they're phoning in, and will ultimately abandon when ignored by consumers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  14. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    I actually like the STEAM approach better, its basically the same as Gamestream on nvidia but with more devices support. I think STEAM should partner with nvidia (they already collaborate on the shieldTV). That would be a great contender.

    On the other hand, I wonder if MS would use Windows 10 instead of Xbox consoles for its service.
     
  15. TripleAgent77

    TripleAgent77 Limp Gawd

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    If they do away with hardware, I'm going Sony. If they both do, I'm full time Master Race
     
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  16. leathco016

    leathco016 Limp Gawd

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    I don't think this will be a main release, because they will leave a ton of money on the table for those with internet connections that are too slow or don't have the bandwidth for this. I have a DSL connection, and downloading games is the only real option. I'm doing good to be able to stream Netflix and Youtube.
     
  17. trandoanhung1991

    trandoanhung1991 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Just install Parsec on your gaming machine and you're set lol. Then you'll have an experience just as good if not better than what these companies are offering.
     
  18. SamuraiInBlack

    SamuraiInBlack [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'd rather sell my rig than to use this shit.
     
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  19. GreenOrbs

    GreenOrbs Limp Gawd

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    I think that streaming over hardwired networks may be a lot closer than you think. I just tried the Assassin's Creed streaming gaming for free through Google's Project Stream beta today. It was much better than I thought. This is why the ISPs have been fighting back by putting on data caps...

    I might be a bit more of a tech optimist than many of you. I think in the very near future it will be possible to play AAA games streamed on a cellular network. 5G is just rolling out here in Houston and Verizon is already offering a 300 Mbps connection for $50/month wireless to replace cable/fiber. That's twice as fast than the damned Comcast I'm stuck with for now (150 Mbps) for the same price. Once phones, tablets and laptops with 5G connections come out, you might be able to play streaming games wherever you go.

    Edit: According to Verizon you ""should expect typical network speeds around 300 Mbps and, depending on location, peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, with no data caps." It boggled my mind that they are promising up to gigabit cellular data with no cap at a reasonable price. I'm very excited at the things that may be possible if 5G delivers to its max potential. Only thing I'm afraid of is the greed of these companies eventually screwing the customer over (I bet once you get hooked the data caps are coming back).
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  20. trandoanhung1991

    trandoanhung1991 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The problem always have been latency. Even with 5G can you expect a stable <10ms latency? If not, you won't be having a good experience at all.

    At 60FPS, you're already at 16.6ms. Add round-trip latency of 10ms each way for a total of 20ms and you're now at an acceptable level of 36.6ms. If there's any jitter at all your input lag will be too high to play most action games at an acceptable experience level. 10ms for cellular network is IMO unrealistic.

    That's already not counting the latency involved with encoding the raw video stream to a compressed one, using H.264/H.265. That's probably a few ms there too. If you are anywhere close to 50ms gaming will mostly be miserable, unless you're not expected to react at all.
     
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  21. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    So, in the video, I notice that the racing game only shows the car driving straight forward with no analog stick adjustment to show how responsive it is.

    In the Halo footage, there looks to me like there's delay time between the movement and the game's response:



    And they probably made sure there was as good a data transfer-rate as possible for the video.
     
  22. GreenOrbs

    GreenOrbs Limp Gawd

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    Sure I give you that. I'd stick with my 1080 Ti desktop for FPS any day. Don't think streaming will get there anytime soon.

    For other types of games like RPGs and other single player games, streaming performed better than I expected at least in the Google test I tried today. Certainly playable. So maybe I'm being naively optimistic like I said but I think we are closer than most people think.
     
  23. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    This sounds like a great idea for the fraction of people who have internet faster than 25Mbps.
     
  24. GreenOrbs

    GreenOrbs Limp Gawd

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    According to the FCC:

    That means 92.3% have the choice to buy it. Other sites like Akami and Pew estimate about 75% of people actually have it. So not the most affordable unfortunately. And assuming those speeds are actually lies (up to 25 Mbps), I'd guess that half of the people in the US might be able to use game streaming. If only ISPs didn't have monopolies or duopolies here in the US. Too bad the FCC is currently in the pocket of the big cable companies.
     
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  25. Mazzspeed

    Mazzspeed [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wow, that's me. I never thought I'd be able to say that.

    #EliteInterwebz
     
  26. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    And that's JUST the richest country in the world. Here in Australia, you have no chance of getting anything higher than 10-20Mbps unless you were one of the lucky ones who got targeted in the one or two years before the current government scrapped the nation-wide fibre roll-out.
     
  27. Deathroned

    Deathroned Gawd

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    Why did they scrap the NBN?
     
  28. GT98

    GT98 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I was playing around with it last night also and I was impressed by it too-but only downside was the graphics seemed like they where turned down a notch or two in places..the Image quailty wasn't there. I have a 400MB connection now I just upgraded from 200 since I went to streaming only for enterianment in my house-Directv Now, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

    For "Free to test" it was great-looking to messing around with it some more.
     
  29. GreenOrbs

    GreenOrbs Limp Gawd

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    I think the graphics being turned down a notch or two is a function of the piss poor Ubisoft optimization. Not sure how much of that is down to the streaming. Multiple review sites show that a 1080 isn't enough to get a locked 60 on Ultra (around 58 fps at 1080p). According to Hardware Unboxed, you need to drop the settings to very high just to get 1% lows above 60 fps using a 1080 Ti. So unless Google is running the tests on only 2080 Ti's then I don't doubt they had to drop the quality two notches to high in some places. Even on most PC's without considering streaming this is required (unless you've got a 2080 Ti)...
     
  30. trandoanhung1991

    trandoanhung1991 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Also, you have to remember that these streaming services for sure won't be compressing losslessly, so there's bound to be IQ issues there too.
     
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  31. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    The IQ with GeforceNow can be very good. I woudn't say "high end PC quality" but better than XBone/PS4, then again, under ideal conditions. But normally you can have heavy pixelation from time to time.
     
  32. IcePickFreak

    IcePickFreak [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'll just leave this here...
    peg&output-quality=95&fit=inside%7C200%3A200&composite-to=*,*%7C200%3A200&background-color=black.jpg
     
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