Microsoft highlights its Xbox Cloud Gaming division with Kim Swift (Portal, Left 4 Dead). The first game to use the technology natively could be signed by Hideo Kojima.
It’s Game Developers Conference 2022 time, so a whole bunch of companies is taking the opportunity to talk tech, show off their games to professionals, share their manufacturing secrets… On the Microsoft side, one of the topics of the moment is relative to the Xbox Cloud Gaming division which had a new video presentation. It is Kim Swift, director of the section, who sticks to it. After contributing to Portal (project lead, designer) and Left 4 Dead (designer, artist) for Valve, she stopped at Stadia.
A land to conquer
What is Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming division? A full-fledged team mandated to team up with “the best development teams from around the world to build cloud-native games, to provide players with unprecedented experiences that can only be achieved with this technology”.
In her presentation, Kim Swift highlights the many things that cloud computing allows, without developers being limited by the power of a machine. For example, she sees this technology as a way to free up resources by letting AI and/or physics be managed in the cloud. According to her, the cloud could take care of making NPCs more believable, or even destruction. Even if the result was far from promising, that’s what Crackdown 3 tried to do with the explosion of environments thanks to the cloud.
She also believes that cloud computing could help, via machine learning, to test games. The famous “quality assurance” department is in charge of the proper functioning of the titles. Ditto, according to her, machine learning would have the ability to improve elements in procedurally generated software, or even to identify toxic behavior within the gaming community.
But Kim Swift is lucid: everything remains to be done. She compares this to the advent of streaming platforms like Netflix where it was necessary to wait for the internet connection to be sufficiently robust.
A first native Xbox cloud gaming game with Hideo Kojima?
To clear the ground and have a showcase that speaks to everyone, Microsoft’s division is reportedly in talks with Hideo Kojima for an iCloud-only game. More than just talks, journalist Jeff Grubb (Venturebeat) claims that a letter of intent has even been signed by Xbox and Kojima Productions.
Realistic? Yes, if you put the end of the track to end. Already, as said above, the goal of Xbox Cloud Gaming is to collaborate with the most important studios for xCloud exclusives. The creator of Death Stranding and Metal Gear Solid (among others) would therefore be the ideal pickaxe. In addition, the Japanese developer, who has an appetite for technology, had almost partnered with Stadia, but Google ultimately refused. Considering what happened afterward, the closure of Stadia studios, it may not be so bad…
In any case, this game would be the studio’s smallest project, but where it gets complicated (rumors what) is that this mysterious title could also be a PSVR2 game, in partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment. Wait & see as they say!
What do you think of cloud computing and its possible uses? Is Microsoft right to want to create games exclusively from this technology? Tell us everything in the comments.