Xbox Cloud Gaming just got a major boost

Xbox Cloud Gaming
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has hired former design director for Google Stadia, Kim Swift, as its senior director for cloud gaming at Xbox, in a major move to develop cloud-based games for its Xbox Cloud Gaming service.

In an interview with Polygon, Xbox Game Studios publishing head, Peter Wyse, said Swift, who was also also lead designer on the Portal game series, has joined the company “to build a team focused on new experiences in the cloud,” adding that Microsoft’s goal is to create “cloud-native games.”

The Xbox Cloud Gaming service (formerly known as Project xCloud) – which launched for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in September last year – allows players to stream Xbox games directly to their smartphones, though at present there have been no titles developed specifically with cloud gaming in mind.

Given that all of the games currently playable via Xbox’s Cloud Gaming service were designed to run primarily on existing consoles and PCs, none of them have truly been able to take advantage of the cloud-based platform.

The “new experiences in the cloud” Swift has been tasked with creating for Xbox, then, may refer to games which tap into the platform's multi-server capabilities – potentially meaning faster load times and greater graphical performance, beyond that which a single Xbox Series X console can support natively. 

The news comes after Microsoft recently announced plans to upgrade its Xbox Cloud Gaming servers to the latest Xbox Series X hardware in a bid to improve gaming quality – further proof that the company is serious about getting cloud gaming right. 

Help for Hideo?

Swift joining Microsoft could be music to the ears of Hideo Kojima fans, too, if another report about the hire is to be believed. 

The legendary Metal Gear Solid developer had previously expressed an interest in making a cloud-native game for Google Stadia, before Google closed its in-house game development studios in February.

But rumors suggest Kojima is now in negotiations with Microsoft to have the studio exclusively publish his next game, and a VentureBeat report claims Swift has been brought in specifically to help the developer with the technical aspects of his as-yet-unnamed project. It's noted, though, that these negotiations remain just that – so it’s worth considering the partnership between Kojima Productions and Microsoft as merely speculative, at this point.

In any case, Microsoft’s acquisition of a celebrated alumni of both Google Stadia and Valve is a sign that the future is bright for Xbox’s still-young Cloud Gaming service – as well as that of the gaming industry as a whole. 

Via The Verge 

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.