Xbox Cloud Gaming: Microsoft formalizes its branch dedicated to the creation of “cloud native” games

Long rumored, Microsoft’s new cloud-native game publishing branch was made official at GDC 2022.

The Xbox Series S and X // Source: Microsoft

After several years of rumors, and a bit of teasing, it’s now official: Microsoft has opened a new branch of video game publishing dedicated to games designed for the cloud.

A team led by an industry veteran

This new branch will therefore have the responsibility of going to meet developers with interesting projects to propose the edition. The Xbox Game Studio Publishing branch has had a lot of success in recent years. She is responsible for editing Ori and the Will of the Wisps with MoonStudio, Tell Me Why with Dontnod Entertainment or flight simulator with Asobo Studio. For each console manufacturer, the publishing branch is a way to complement the work of internal studios with ambitious, platform-exclusive projects. In the industry, we sometimes call it games ” second party ”, halfway between the games first party developed by internal studios, and the games third partydeveloped and published by other video game players.

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The new publishing team will be led by Kim Swift, known for being project leader on Portal and designer on Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 at Valve. She mainly went to Google Stadia where she also had the role of editor. The closure of projects at Google naturally led him to the other player that is investing heavily in the cloud: Microsoft.

What is a “cloud native” game?

As part of the Game Developer Conference 2022, Kim Swift was able to present the work of this new team whose objective is to ” partner with world-renowned game development teams to develop Cloud Native games to provide players with unprecedented experiences that can only be achieved with Cloud technology. »

The idea is therefore to develop new games which, for the first time, will not only be suitable for cloud gaming, but designed for cloud gaming. This can make it possible to create games requiring more resources, with for example more sophisticated AIs for NPCs, or games offering different gameplay depending on the device used by the player. We can imagine a Pokémon game where the capture of monsters would be done by the smartphone while on the move, while the adventure and the fight would take place at home from a console on a television.

Xbox Cloud Gaming: Microsoft formalizes its branch dedicated to the creation of “cloud native” games
The Flight Simulator game // Source: Frandroid

Obviously, we can also think of ultra-sophisticated games with state-of-the-art graphics and an ultra-realistic physics engine, so greedy that the user of servers in the cloud becomes mandatory. We can also think of what Flight Simulator has proposed, with a connection to the cloud allowing us to model our blue planet in a very realistic way.

A game with Hideo Kojima?

Rumors surrounding this new publishing arm also hinted at a project with creator Hideo Kojima. Of course, Kim Swift did not confirm such a collaboration during her presentation. Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid, Death Stranding) was rumored to be looking to work with Kim Swift to develop a game. cloud-native with Google Stadia. The project would then have followed the same path as Kim Swift at Microsoft, and Kojima would have been in negotiations for a project with Xbox.

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