Xbox Launches New Publishing Division for “Cloud-Native” Titles

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Image: Xbox

Wouldn’t it be neat if every game in the future leveraged the power of the cloud, making an online connection mandatory in order to play the game? Not really, but this is apparently where the industry is headed, according to Microsoft, which showed up at GDC 2022 with a presentation about cloud gaming and how it would be launching a new publishing division that would center around helping studios develop “cloud-native” titles. The initiative is being led by Portal and Left 4 Dead designer Kim Swift, who joined Xbox last year as cloud gaming director following her stint at Google as Stadia’s game design director. As opposed to merely being streamed over the cloud, cloud-native titles are specifically built to take full advantage of a server, utilizing the cloud to process AI, physics, and other key aspects of a game.

Image: Xbox

Xbox has unveiled a new publishing division focused on ‘cloud-native’ games (VGC)

In a presentation video aimed at developers (which can be viewed above), Swift explained that the division’s mandate is to “partner with world class game development teams to develop cloud-native games to bring unprecedented experiences to players that can only be achieved with cloud technology”.

The concept of ‘cloud-native’ games differs somewhat from simply streaming games to a player’s display using something like Game Pass or PlayStation Now.

While technically this counts as ‘cloud-native’ because it relies on remote servers, these servers are still mainly running games that were designed for home consoles, which would provide identical performance if installed locally.

Instead, ‘cloud-native’ games use the cloud to process certain parts of the game, such as physics, lighting, environments or AI. This has a number of potential uses, such as freeing up processing power on a home console, or making sure that players joining an online world can all get the same synchronised experience.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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