Xbox Cloud Gaming gets support for mouse and keyboard and latency enhancements

Xbox Cloud Gaming gets support for mouse and keyboard and latency enhancements

Microsoft is preparing to add mouse and keyboard support to its Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) service that streams Xbox games to TVs, computers, mobile devices and more. The software giant teased the supplement earlier this year, and now it’s encouraging game developers to get ready for mouse and keyboard support and some major latency improvements on Xbox Cloud Gaming soon.

“Xbox has been supporting keyboards and mice for a few years now, and we’re working on adding it to streaming for PC users,” explains Morgan Brown, a software engineer on Microsoft’s Xbox game streaming team. “But you can start adding it to your game right now and your console keyboards and mouse users will appreciate it. It will light up in streaming once we’ve added it.”

Microsoft Flight Simulator chef Jorg Neumann previously teased that the addition of mouse and keyboard support on Xbox Cloud Gaming may appear this summer. As Microsoft encourages developers to start thinking more about PC and keyboard support for Xbox games streaming to the PC, it’s likely that we’ll start seeing this come soon.

It will allow Xbox Cloud Gaming users to stream Xbox games, not PC games, with a mouse and keyboard. We could see games like Sea of ‚Äč‚Äčthieves, Minecraft, Halo is endlessand also Fortnite everything supports mouse and keyboard via Xbox Cloud Gaming. However, the list of Xbox games that support mouse and keyboard is still relatively small. It will be especially useful when Microsoft expands Xbox Cloud Gaming library later this year.

Xbox developers will get new APIs to improve the power delay.
Image: Microsoft

In addition to mouse and keyboard support, Microsoft also offers developers more ways to improve the flow delay in their games. Microsoft has been working on a new Display Details API, which in total can save up to 72 ms delay. This is accomplished by using Direct Capture, which recreates hardware features in the software to eliminate VSync latency and dual or triple buffering, and even the scaling needed for TVs.

Scaling and artifacts all add extra latency to game streaming, and many games already support Direct Capture to improve their performance on Xbox Cloud Gaming. The latency can drop to as low as 2-12 ms, compared to 8-74 ms through the traditional display pipeline. However, there are some limitations. Direct Capture only supports a maximum resolution of 1440p and does not yet support dynamic resolution or HDR.

Resolution limitation will not be an issue for most game developers right now, as Xbox Cloud Gaming is scaling down games to 720p on mobile and 1080p on PC and the web. Microsoft eventually expects to support higher resolutions, but there is no timeline for 1440p or 4K support for new Xbox TV app. “It’s something we expect to change over time, based on different devices, network conditions and improvements to the streaming stack,” explains Brown. Tools will soon be available for developers to test their games and find out how to support Direct Capture.

Direct Capture improves streaming power in Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Image: Microsoft

Latency enhancements are the key to gaming streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, and as Direct Capture shows, it’s not just about reducing network latency. Nvidia launched its RTX 3080 GeForce Now level last year, with impressive latency improvements. Nvidia built its own Adaptive Sync technology, which varies the game display to match a synchronous monitor and allows GeForce Now to synchronize streamed games to any 60Hz or 120Hz monitor.

Nvidia’s Adaptive Sync also reduces some CPU and GPU server-side buffering, and the end result is somewhat impressive latency improvements over what is available from Google Stadium or Xbox Cloud Gaming. Nvidia even claims to beat an Xbox Series X runs locally at 60fps thanks to its 120fps GeForce Now support.

#Xbox #Cloud #Gaming #support #mouse #keyboard #latency #enhancements

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