Xbox has confirmed that it has formed a new organization within Xbox Game Studios Publishing to bring cloud-native games exclusively to Xbox systems and services.
In a 16-minute video posted to an Xbox Game Developer YouTube channel during GDC 2022, Kim Swift, Senior Director of Cloud Gaming, details the unnamed cloud gaming organization within Xbox Game Studios Publishing. and the type of games it seeks to publish. Swift says Xbox Game Studios Publishing’s mandate with cloud gaming is to “partner with world-class game development teams to develop cloud-native games to deliver unprecedented gamer experiences that can’t be achieved only with cloud technology”. So far, no game from this new initiative has been announced, although Hideo Kojima is working on one.
While Xbox Game Pass already allows gamers to stream many games from the cloud across mobile, PC, and console games, this new organization will focus on “cloud-native” titles. This means that these games will require cloud gaming technology to realize their vision. Some examples given by Microsoft include the use of natural language processing on in-game NPCs and then the extra power to improve visuals, destructible environments, player counts, and randomness in games.
Overall, the prospects for cloud-focused gaming are exciting, but we already heard about this potential when Google Stadia’s GDC 2019 unveiled. While this presentation teased the impact cloud technology could have on game development and the titles themselves, Google never produced any exclusives that actually used this technology in cool ways. Before the studio shut down, Kim Swift was even at Stadia Games & Entertainment as the Director of Game Design.
We still have to wait and see just how effective and successful this new Xbox Game Studios Publishing organization will be as it explores uncharted territory in AAA console gaming. That said, Microsoft’s access to Azure and xCloud technology and its history of developing and publishing successful games instills a bit more confidence in its ability to pull this off.
Xbox Game Studios Publishing’s unnamed cloud gaming organization is definitely a group to watch in the coming years as cloud gaming becomes more widely available to gamers and used by developers.