Microsoft to create cloud-native games, led by Portal developer Kim Swift

Microsoft’s “next big goal” is to create cloud-native games, according to Xbox Game Studios publishing head Peter Wyse in an interview with Polygon.

The push to create games specifically designed for cloud streaming will by led by former Google Stadia design director Kim Swift, who is also known for her work at Valve on Portal and Left 4 Dead.

“Kim is going to build a team focused on new experiences in the cloud, something that’s going to support our mission of bringing our Xbox games to connect 3 billion gamers to play our games,” said Wyse.

Swift’s previous employers, Stadia, closed its internal development studios this year, ending first party development for the platform. This means that the current crop of games on cloud platforms are not cloud-native, and were originally designed to be played on PC and consoles. In essence, we haven’t yet seen games that fully take advantage of cloud technology. Wyse himself noted that Microsoft “don’t know exactly what that looks like today, or what that even plays like.”

The company’s push into cloud gaming is an attempt to reach consumers who either don’t have or don’t want a PC and games console, in order to expand Microsoft’s reach to the ‘3 billion players.’

“[Xbox head] Phil [Spencer] always talks about that journey of getting the 3 billion players. I do get super excited about the idea of high-fidelity gaming on a phone […] that’s the carrot I keep chasing, for sure.”

Microsoft has been making efforts  to build up its cloud gaming offering – just recently the company announced that it was upgrading its xCloud servers for the Series X hardware, in order to improve its quality. Additionally, Microsoft will be bringing next-gen games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator to the Xbox One via the cloud.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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