Microsoft + Game Streaming Service: Project xCloud
A little more than a week after Google announced their game streaming platform, “Project Stream”, Microsoft is now testing their own service, “Project xCloud”. Like Google’s streaming service, games would, in theory, be playable across any device via the Chrome browser. These are monumental steps in the video gaming ecosystem because, if successful, it almost fully removes the hardware barriers necessary to play most games. This would completely negate the necessity of downloading games or buying discs.
All of the necessary computing power is outsourced to massive data centers and the game is then streamed to your device. The biggest concern with this service is latency. In a blog post from Microsoft, they’re developing a “new, game-specific touch input overlay” which would potentially help with latency concerns. Microsoft’s goal is to “deliver high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrate that work across the widest possible networks, taking into consideration the uniqueness of every device and network.”
With Google and now Microsoft taking on the enormous challenge of game streaming, we may be stepping into a limitless future of gaming.
Sony is Working On a Next Generation Console
Sony has officially leaked that they will be releasing a next-gen console to be the successor of the Playstation 4. Sony CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, released the minimal information in an interview with the Financial Times; he even made sure not to call it the Playstation 5. One thing to note is that esports is said to be a focus for this next console.
Rumors of the next-gen console started to ramp up when two new patents by Sony were discovered. One titled “Remastering By Emulation” which most likely suggests backward compatibility and another titled “ Video Frame Rate Compensation Through Adjustment Of Vertical Blanking” which would suggest V-sync. V-sync is a play option found in some 3-D computer games that allows the gamer to synchronize the frame rate of the game with the monitor refresh rate for better stability.
It’s difficult to know when we might be expecting this console, but Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO, John Codera, hinted at a 2021 release. According to Digital Trends he said “we will use the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher into the future,” in May 2018, noting the PS4 was entering the “final phase of its life cycle.” Sony has been a powerhouse in the console market with the Playstation 2 being the best selling console ever and selling 53 million Playstation 4’s (compared to only 27.3 million for the Xbox One).
Another Game Developer Faces Layoffs
It’s been less than a month since Capcom shut down their Vancouver studio and Telltale laid off the majority of their staff. Now, Wavedash, the creators of Icons: Combat Arena has reportedly laid off twenty-five of their thirty employees. On Wavedash’s official website they said, “When we started Wavedash three years ago, our mission was to create the game that we most wanted to play, and to share it with the world. Along the way, as the mission grew, we had the great fortune to be joined by some of the most talented, passionate builders in the game industry. Sadly, we have fallen short of our goals — but we feel immensely fortunate to have had the chance to bring Icons into existence, together.”
According to a former employee, the members who were laid off were given less than two weeks notice and no severance packages. This comes shortly after a similar event at Telltale where they received a lawsuit from a former employee alleging a violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
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