Microsoft’s next Xbox, coming in 2028, envisions hybrid computing

Microsoft’s new disc-less Xbox Series far One of the only news that just leaked from Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft issue. The documents may also reveal Microsoft’s far-future plans for 2028 – through which the company believed it could achieve the “full convergence” of its cloud gaming platform and physical hardware to deliver “hybrid cloud gaming.”

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

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

Those are just the words One A slide from a leaked presentation titled “Next Generation Gaming at Microsoft,” which appears to be a May 2022 presentation document, revolves entirely around this idea.

The company envisions you playing these games using the combined power of a sub-$99 device — perhaps a handheld — and its xCloud platform simultaneously.

Image: FTC v. Microsoft documents

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

It’s something Microsoft has already tried to deliver by offering a realistic scene Microsoft Flight Simulator By streaming that data from a 2 petabyte cloud instead of the Xbox or PC that most of the game is played on. But the best example of this is this Amazon offer from 2014 – where… Lord of the rings-The awesome armies don’t actually live on your device, only the catapult runs locally so you can get that responsive experience.

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Now, in these documents, Microsoft calls the idea “hybrid coherent computing” — a “cloud-to-edge architecture across silicon, graphics, and OS that enables ubiquitous gaming.”

If this is happening, it might happen actually It is happening. The team suggested that it would need to sign partnerships with AMD for silicon by the first quarter of the year this year To secure the company’s Navi 5 graphics – for reference, we’re only on Navi 3 at the moment – as well as potentially take over the company’s Zen 6 CPU cores. (She’s also thinking about the arm.)

Microsoft suspected it would also need an NPU (machine learning coprocessor) to provide a wide range of features, including super-resolution, latency compensation, frame rate interpolation, and more – see below.

Image: FTC v. Microsoft documents

The documents include a full 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 will be produced from 2024 through 2026.

Image: FTC v. Microsoft documents

But before that, according to another slide, the company needed to make some key decisions on that silicon, aligning on building a thin operating system to run the local parts of those cloud games, which teams would be responsible, and which hardware it would build to go with it. It’s very likely that none of that will happen, just as Microsoft has abandoned its “custom xCloud SKU” in favor of partnering with other providers instead.

Microsoft increasingly sees “cloud-first” gaming as important.
Image: FTC v. Microsoft documents

According to leaked documents, the offer appears to have come about as a result of a key ongoing conversation between Microsoft’s senior leadership, including CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox head Phil Spencer, Windows hardware and operating systems head Panos Panay, xCloud CVP Kareem Choudhry, and more.

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“We are building four types of PCs: (1) cloud for everything, (2) Xbox hybrid, (3) Windows hybrid, and (4) HoloLens hybrid,” Nadella wrote, according to the documents provided. “We need to bring the company’s systems talent together to align on a unified vision.”

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

In another document from May 2022, titled “Roadmap to 2030,” the company suggests that its new strategy may revolve around the console. “The controller becomes the hero,” he says as one of the core principles, adding that “the new Xbox controller is the only thing you need to play on every device.” This document goes on to describe the Sebile, a new Xbox controller that includes “Direct-to-Cloud” connectivity in addition to Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth.

It also contains an image of a potential “mobile console,” a “one-handed controller,” and a gaming keyboard and mouse that Microsoft appears to have considered building itself.

Image: FTC v. Microsoft documents

The document also mentions “Cloud Console (Keystone)” as a project that has already been funded, along with the new Xbox Series It is currently on as of May 2022.

In 2021, Microsoft hired Kim Swift, a former design director at Google Stadia known for Valve. outlet, to build a new team focused on cloud-native gaming, but it’s not clear if that has anything to do with this initiative. Sony has hired Jade Raymond away from the Stadia wreckage as well, and her studio is working on cloud gaming technology ahead of a potential new cloud gaming push from Sony.

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