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Microsoft’s next Xbox, due in 2028, considers hybrid computing


Microsoft’s new disc-less Xbox Series far of the only news that has just escaped from FTC vs. Microsoft case. The documents could also reveal Microsoft’s long-term plans for 2028 – through which the company believed it could achieve “full convergence” of its cloud gaming platform and physical hardware to deliver “hybrid gaming in the cloud”.

“Our vision: to develop a next-generation hybrid gaming platform that can leverage the combined power of client and cloud to deliver deeper immersion and entirely new classes of gaming experiences.”

“Our vision: to develop a next-generation hybrid gaming platform capable of leveraging the combined power of client and cloud”
Image: FTC documents against Microsoft

These are the words about right A slide from a leaked presentation titled “The Next Generation of Gaming at Microsoft,” which appears to be a May 2022 presentation document entirely around this idea.

The company imagined that you play these games using the combined power of a sub-$99 gadget — perhaps a handheld — and its xCloud platform simultaneously.

Image: FTC documents against Microsoft

I’m familiar with this idea, because it’s one I championed in June 2021, highlighting how Microsoft had a unique opportunity to create games that scale from native hardware to the cloud.

This is something that Microsoft has already tried by offering photorealistic backgrounds in Microsoft Flight Simulator by streaming this data from a 2 petabyte cloud instead of your Xbox or PC where most of the game is run. But the best example remains this Amazon demo from 2014 – where the The Lord of the Rings-Classic armies don’t actually live on your device, it’s just the ballista that works locally so you can feel that responsive experience.

Now, in these documents, Microsoft calls the idea “Cohesive Hybrid Compute” – a “Cloud-to-Edge architecture across silicon, graphics and operating system enabling ubiquitous gaming.”

If this happens, it could Already occur. The team suggested that it should sign silicon partnerships with AMD by the first quarter of 2017. This year to lock in the company’s Navi 5 graphics – for reference, we’re only on Navi 3 at the moment – ​​as well as potentially grab the company’s Zen 6 CPU cores. (This also considers Arm.)

Microsoft suspected it would also need an NPU (machine learning coprocessor for AI) to provide a wide variety of benefits, including super resolution, latency compensation, frame rate interpolation images and much more – see below.

Image: FTC documents against Microsoft

The documents include a comprehensive potential roadmap for the technology that would have seen hardware design begin in 2024, the first development kits arrive in 2027, and the first hybrid cloud games produced from 2024 to 2026.

Image: FTC documents against Microsoft

But before that, according to another slide, the company had to make key decisions about that silicon, including building a lightweight operating system to run the local parts of those cloud games, which teams would be responsible and what hardware it would build . to go with. It’s very possible that none of this happened, just as Microsoft abandoned its “dedicated xCloud SKU” in favor of partnering with other vendors.

According to the leaked documents, the speech appears to have emerged from a major ongoing conversation between top Microsoft executives, including CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, Windows devices and operating system leader Panos Panay , xCloud CVP Kareem Choudhry, and more.

“We are building 4 types of computers: (1) all-cloud, (2) hybrid Xbox, (3) hybrid Windows, and (4) hybrid HoloLens,” Nadella wrote, according to the main documents. “We need to bring together the systems talent across the enterprise to align on a unified vision. »

“We can’t go from big idea to big idea. We need one big idea around which to rally the company,” he wrote.

Microsoft increasingly views cloud-first gaming as important.

In 2021, Microsoft hired Kim Swift, a former Google Stadia design director best known for Valve. Portal, to build a new team focused on cloud-native gaming, but it’s unclear if that has anything to do with this initiative. Sony also hired Jade Raymond away from the Stadia wreck, and her studio is working on cloud gaming technology ahead of a likely new cloud gaming push from Sony.