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Microsoft Wants to Publish Cloud-Native Games for Xbox

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  • Posted on 04th Apr, 2022 02:32 AM
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Microsoft is looking to partner with game studios to develop games that make better use of its cloud technologies.

p>When it comes to cloud gaming, Microsoft has been at the forefront of driving its popularity in recent years. Its subscription service, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, comes with a neat feature that allows player to stream games through their smartphones or tablets, using nothing but a good internet connection. But now, Microsoft also wants game developers to take advantage of the cloud as well.

In a video shared to YouTube last week, Microsoft outlined its plans to work with external studios to develop cloud-native games, while also introducing a new Cloud Gaming Organization within its publishing wing, Xbox Games Studios Publishing, which was responsible for titles such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Microsoft Flight Simulator. This new division is headed by Kim Swift, who joined the team as a director of cloud gaming last year, after her brief stint at the now-defunct Stadia Games & Entertainment.

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The presentation video is mainly targeted at game developers, and covers many of the technical aspects of the cloud technologies on offer. In the video, Swift explained that the aim is to partner with studios to develop cloud-native games for the Xbox ecosystem; games that can bring experiences which are previously not possible without the involvement of cloud technologies.

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Microsoft's take on cloud-native games is probably different from what most players have in mind. These aren't simply games that are streamed from remote servers to players' devices. Instead, what Microsoft is proposing is games that make use of the cloud to process certain parts of the game, much like how Microsoft Flight Simulator leverages the cloud to achieve an incredible level of realism.

This has some potential benefits, both from developers' and players' standpoints. For developers, they can utilize networked cloud machines to increase the capacity of graphics rendering, number of AI agents, randomization of levels and features, and to apply incredible special effects like destruction. For players, they can have games with more convincing NPCs through the use of natural language processing, or better experience in games that employ many procedural elements with the help of machine learning.

While all these areas of improvements sound very promising, they are currently still under early stage of research and haven't been implemented yet. That, however, doesn't stop Microsoft from wanting to talk to developers about it in order to gather some insights on which area that they should be focusing on first. Swift also added that cloud-native games don't necessarily mean ambitious AAA titles, but can also include small, experimental yet focused indie titles.

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Source: Games Industry

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