Microsoft has confirmed it has added enhancements to its standard Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) to support streaming and Project xCloud. According to a detailed post on the Microsoft Wire by Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president – Gaming Cloud, Microsoft, the team is particularly excited about new API “IsStreaming”, which allows any game to know if it’s streaming from the cloud, and therefore “cue features and functionality to enhance the streaming experience, for instance adjusting font sizes for smaller displays or hosting multiplayer matches on a single server to reduce latency”.
“The power of Project xCloud – the seamless compatibility for developers and the new places to play for gamers – comes from Azure datacenters spanning the globe, with hardware that shares a common set of components with our Xbox consoles,” said Choudhry. “We’ve already deployed our custom Project xCloud blades to datacenters across 13 Azure regions with an initial emphasis on proximity to key game development centers in North America, Asia and Europe. Leading global development teams such as Capcom and Paradox Interactive now have the ability to easily test their games directly from Project xCloud without having to port to a new platform.
“This is just the beginning of our buildout, with our ultimate goal of supporting gamers in Azure regions around the world.”
The update goes on to add that there are more than 1900 games currently in development for Xbox One, “all of which could run on Project xCloud”. Interestingly, Choudhry said that while developers creating those games continue working normally, Microsoft itself does “the work to make their games accessible to the broadest set of players possible”, and Project xCloud “has the technical capability” to stream more than 3500 games, without requiring any additional changes or modifications from the developer.
“Developers will be able to dramatically scale their existing games across devices, with no additional development, no additional code base maintenance and no separate updates,” Choudhry said. “When a developer updates the Xbox One version of their title, those updates will also apply to all versions available on Project xCloud without any additional work.”
“The driving purpose behind Project xCloud has been to enable playing great games anywhere, anytime. From the beginning, our aim has been seamless compatibility,” added Choudhry. “We want to make it as easy as possible for developers to make their games available to all gamers with support for existing games, those currently in development, and future games.”
Microsoft recently rolled out an alpha version of Project xCloud to Microsoft employees through its “take home program”. It is using the feedback from these colleagues to make further improvements.