Project xCloud, Microsoft’s future plans for cloud gaming, is starting to come together. A new streaming Xbox featuring a semi-custom AMD Picasso APU is reportedly in development at Microsoft. The streaming Xbox is suggested to release alongside a more powerful, traditional Xbox console.
The report comes by way of Wccftech, which received information regarding the new AMD chips. Microsoft is using the new AMD APU in an upcoming Microsoft Surface laptop, but the company wants a semi-custom chip for the new Xbox as well. The streaming-only Xbox system will allegedly utilize Microsoft’s xCloud infrastructure to allow people to stream and play games on a variety of devices. Public trials of xCloud are set to begin in 2019, which would suggest the new streaming-only Xbox is further away than these tests.
The AMD Picasso APU is an upcoming processor line that integrates CPU and GPU chips into a single component. The Picasso line is expected to provide exceptional performance for low power consumption, allowing the streaming Xbox to be small and relatively cheap. According to Wccftech, a critical part of the xCloud system is hardware deep learning. Deep learning through Microsoft’s Project Brainwave is expected to make servers and consoles better at predicting player actions.
If working as intended, this deep learning system will get better at predicting player actions, minimizing latency. If it is successful, the system could be a breakthrough for cloud gaming in general.
The Ryzen Picasso APU is suggested to be a four-core processor with a 15W thermal design power. If accurate, the streaming-only Xbox would use a similar amount of power to a Nintendo Switch, but will be a more powerful device thanks to the cloud.
Google recently got into game streaming with its recently tested Project Stream. Other competition in the streaming market, including PlayStation Now, GeForce Now, and others have started cropping up over the years. PlayStation Now, for example, was built out of Gaikai and OnLive cloud gaming services that Sony purchased in 2012.