Company talks up OnLive and Gaikai

Microsoft exec: Cloud tech coming to Xbox

Cloud technologies could have an important role to play in the future of Xbox, an executive at Microsoft has said.

Microsoft tech evangelist Brian Prince took stage at GDC China this weekend and told attendees that there’s a “distant future of gaming in the cloud”.

He said "you will be seeing things in the Xbox platform that’s cloud-specific”.

“I’m already doing it, it’s really exciting, but I can’t tell you about it or else I’ll get fired," he was quoted as saying by Gamasutra.

Prince’s comments come as the two most high-profile cloud gaming services, OnLive and Gaikai, edge near the end of a year in which their technologies survived widespread scrutiny.

Both Gaikai and OnLive are built on the ideology of running games on remote high-end servers. Player actions are sent to the servers, and gameplay, audio and video is streamed back. It means that players don’t have to install games, nor have sophisticated hardware to play them.

The main reservation for the technology was the latency that comes with sending instructions to servers and the information coming back – but since the launch of both Gaikai and OnLive, such complaints have fizzled out.

Prince said cloud tech “are really gaming platforms as a service”, though he did have reservations for some aspects. He said that player analytics are lost during the streaming process – something that could leave developers in the dark on what works and what doesn’t.

It is not known how Microsoft will utilise cloud technology. Sony’s PlayStation Network uses the tech for storage and game saves.

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