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Microsoft’s Vision for a Hybrid Cloud Gaming Platform

In leaked documents from the ongoing FTC v. Microsoft case, it seems that Microsoft had plans to develop a new hybrid cloud gaming platform by 2028. The company aimed to achieve “full convergence” of its cloud gaming platform and physical hardware to deliver immersive and innovative gaming experiences.The leaked presentation, titled “The Next Generation of Gaming at Microsoft,” discusses a vision of a next-generation hybrid game platform using a sub-$99 handheld device and Microsoft's xCloud platform. This concept would allow games to scale from native hardware to the cloud, similar to the Amazon demo from 2014.The documents refer to the idea as “Cohesive Hybrid Compute,” a cloud-to-edge architecture encompassing silicon, graphics, and the operating system to enable ubiquitous gameplay. The team suggested partnering with AMD for the silicon, potentially utilizing Navi 5 graphics and Zen 6 CPU cores. They also considered incorporating machine learning AI coprocessors for benefits such as super resolution, latency compensation, and frame rate interpolation.A potential roadmap outlined in the documents mentions hardware design starting in 2024, dev kits arriving in 2027, and the production of hybrid cloud games from 2024 to 2026. However, it remains unclear if any of these plans were implemented, as Microsoft previously abandoned a dedicated xCloud SKU in favor of partnering with other providers.The leaked documents indicate that Microsoft's top executives, including CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, and others, were involved in the conversation around this initiative. Nadella emphasized the need for a unified vision, stating, “We need a single big idea to rally the company around.” This aligns with Microsoft's increasing emphasis on “cloud-first” gaming, as evidenced by their hiring of Kim Swift, a former Google Stadia design director, to lead a team focused on cloud-native games.These leaked documents shed light on Microsoft's ambitious vision for a hybrid cloud gaming platform, though it is unclear if and when these plans will come to fruition.

Sources:

  • Sean Hollister, The Verne