Microsoft 'figuring out' cloud-based game streaming for Xbox One

Xbox One senior director Albert Penello says that Microsoft could eventually offer streaming Xbox 360 games on the next-gen system, similar to Sony's plans for the PlayStation 4.

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Xbox One isn't backwards compatible with 360 games, a fact that has led to PR mishaps. But playing 360 games on your Xbox One isn't completely out of the realm of possibility, as senior director Albert Penello says it could be done through the cloud.

"Yeah, absolutely," Penello said, when GameSpot asked if backwards compatibility through streaming was possible. "That's one of the things that makes [the cloud] at the same time both totally interesting and hard to describe to people. Because what the cloud can do is sort of hard to pin... It could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box. We just have to figure out how, over time, how much does that cost to deliver, how good is the experience."

With "the cloud" referring to any online distributed computing system, it's no surprise Microsoft says game streaming would possible. Every company can use the cloud. However, Sony has already heavily invested with its plans for cloud-based game streaming with its purchase of Gaikai. Streaming services will launch in early 2014 on PS4, with Vita and PS3 support to come in the future.

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  • reply
    September 5, 2013 7:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Microsoft 'figuring out' cloud-based game streaming for Xbox One.

    Xbox One senior director Albert Penello says that Microsoft could eventually offer streaming Xbox 360 games on the next-gen system, similar to Sony's plans for the PlayStation 4.

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      September 5, 2013 8:13 AM

      RIP Xbox

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      September 5, 2013 8:19 AM

      To be fair, Sony hasn't figured it out yet either.

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        September 5, 2013 12:59 PM

        This, I don't trust new features Sony claims to be hyping. Their track record is piss-poor. They have a habit of hyping and overstating their products capabilities and it's always wait and see with them.

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        September 5, 2013 11:30 PM

        ? Gaikai is a fully mature solution.

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      September 5, 2013 8:33 AM

      "CLOUD CLOUD CLOUD CLOUD CLOUD" seems to be his answer to everything. And this is after Microsoft was debating over whether to acquire OnLive ( http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/16/3091693/microsoft-considered-buying-onlive-rumor ), and after the assets were sold in August 2012, Microsoft hosted a career networking mixer at Mountain View ( http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/24/microsoft-to-onlive-employees-we-wont-buy-ya-but-well-hire-ya/ )

      ...and then it turned out that the sale price was only $4.8 million. http://www.shacknews.com/article/76154/onlive-sold-for-only-48-million

      Contrast to Sony's game plan: http://www.shacknews.com/article/74602/sony-buying-gaikai-for-cloud-gaming-service ...and then said that Gaikai was how a PS4 user would be able to play PS3 games. Done. Drop the mic.

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        September 5, 2013 8:40 AM

        All true, but I don't think Sony's plan is ready for prime time. Especially as much as ISP's have been crying about last mile revenue - basically threatening to wage war against Netflix (funny they don't target Amazon who probably has enough cash to buy them all out). But, my point is that OnLive style cloud-based gaming isn't quite ready for the mass consumer. I am 100% confident that this is the last non-cloud based console we'll see.

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          September 5, 2013 9:16 AM

          No matter how good hardware gets 10 years from now it won't improve bandwidth or latency. The bandwidth might get bigger, but the latency won't change much. ISP don't want to spend the money to improve it and consumers don't understand latency, they just understand 100mb is better than 50mb and 500 gig cap is better than a 200 gig cap.

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            September 5, 2013 11:55 AM

            Naw, it'll get better. At the very least hardware attrition should provide incremental improvements. Or probably competition like Google's fiber service should up the game to some degree. The real losers in that game will be rural gamers or anyone that has to use satellite based isp.

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              September 5, 2013 1:33 PM

              Without competition there is no reason to make it better. Even with competition the competition will likely be in bandwidth cap size and total bandwidth not latency. Latency matters to gamers and basically no one else.

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            September 5, 2013 1:12 PM

            Consumers don't have to understand. You don't sell them technical details. You sell them what the technology enables.

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              September 5, 2013 1:25 PM

              But that's the problem. So far the Xbox One CLOUD! hasn't enabled anything, but they're still touting it at every opportunity.

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          September 5, 2013 1:11 PM

          Amazon doesn't have that kind of money.

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        September 5, 2013 8:47 AM

        so are you for or against cloud-based game streaming?

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        September 5, 2013 9:09 AM

        what is your answer to backwards compatibility after a CPU architecture switch? Since you're all about preserving old games and such.

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          September 5, 2013 9:34 AM

          My issue isn't that; it's that Microsoft PR is still being intentionally vague, and is still refusing to say, "We'll be streaming 360 games executed cloud-side", like Sony did when they said Gaikai would be the underlying technology behind streaming games on PS4. MS PR needs to stop treating the cloud like magic fairy dust, and objectively state what they are doing. They've been afraid to put their cards on the table this whole pre-launch cycle, and the flip-flops are a side effect of that.

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            September 5, 2013 9:53 AM

            Also, playing old-generation console games was classically a matter of holding onto your PS2 or N64 when you wanted to play a classic, and putting them in storage until you wanted to go back. With the 7th-gen consoles being so dependent on hard drives and title updates, that strategy doesn't work so well (not to mention the 360 not having the best longevity reputation within its own generation). Yes, online streaming is how, but Microsoft being unwilling to commit to anything makes me want to not go with them.

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              September 5, 2013 10:15 AM

              so you would rather the Sony plan where they may be committing to a plan that is completely financially untenable in the long term? So far the only cloud gaming service most of us have touched had to fold due to an inability to be profitable. What if Sony has to shut down their cloud streaming service 2-3 years in because it doesn't cost what their projections said it would years before it was done? With the amount of skepticism you have for the cloud I'd think you'd be asking Sony to be far more specific than they have, because just promising you're going to stream games via the cloud is extremely vague in and of itself (what games? all games? at what cost? do my existing games come over for free? what's the latency like? are twitch games going to be playable? etc, etc). All they did was buy a company and then promise a feature in the most vague terms possible but you're strangely satisfied with that.

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                September 5, 2013 10:47 AM

                I'm not satisfied with what either of them have said about streaming. But it's also not a major concern for me because really, the chances of me playing streaming games when I have real ones is slim to none.

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            September 5, 2013 10:01 AM

            Microsoft is being vague because there is no killer cloud app for gaming yet anywhere, and yet Microsoft as a corporation is making a lot of money from cloud in other sectors, so they're trying very hard to figure out how to apply this bottled lightning to consumer gaming. Not unlike how they have this nifty Kinect device that has yet to produce any killer apps or services. But you can't fault marketing guys who just have to do their job towing the company line.

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            September 5, 2013 10:12 AM

            Over promising (potentially) years before a feature is ready is a recipe for pain. If they don't have proof that they'll be able to do it technically or financially then why would you expect a promise that it'll work? Sony is promising it'll work before they have it near ready, that can blow up in your face sometimes. The alternative is to not say anything until you can make a promise but then everyone complains about silence and vagueries. You can't win.

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            September 5, 2013 12:57 PM

            I'd guess they can't objectively state what they are doing because they haven't 100% decided and/or built it yet.

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      September 5, 2013 8:45 AM

      so ..that means not only can we not use old games we'd have to purchase the streaming version of a game we already own?

      viva la steam

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        September 5, 2013 9:09 AM

        Onwards to online renting via streaming! One step at a time!

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        September 5, 2013 9:11 AM

        I would think you'd at least have access to anything you bought digitally.

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      September 5, 2013 9:06 AM

      They need to focus this tech on demos, if I could instantly try a game, even if it was a little laggy I would try more games that might lead to more purchases

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        September 5, 2013 9:18 AM

        Demos lead to less purchases apparently

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          September 5, 2013 9:39 AM

          I don't think he means old school demos. Something more akin to a 1 hour trial that is just streaming the full game for that length of time would be sweet. Then you could purchase when your time ran out.

          They could easily market this as a Gold/+ only thing and offer a small discount when you purchase after the trial, too.

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            September 5, 2013 9:45 AM

            Exactly, devs don't have to waste time on demos, just a timed trial of the real game

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            September 5, 2013 9:45 AM

            Probably not really needed with this priority chunk downloading/download while you play both consoles will have.

            And unlike with a streaming system, if you like the game then you can just unlock the purchase and not have to re-download anything.

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              September 5, 2013 12:41 PM

              no "play as you download" system is going to be anywhere near as fast as a streaming demo, especially on the average broadband connection. You'd still be talking about a significant download. Think about a sports game. The current demos are about as stripped down as you can get (engine, UI and assets for a minimal set of teams) and that's a 1gb+ download. A next gen version will be even bigger.

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      September 5, 2013 11:59 PM

      They should prioritize figuring out what the Xbox One really is before promising random "me too" features.