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Finally, Xbox Cloud Gaming is releasing significant latency improvements

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Coming soon is Direct Capture

image credits: flipboard

Microsoft has provided details of its efforts to reduce latency for games on the cloud-based platform. Additionally, later this year, functionality for the mouse and keyboard is still planned.

The display pipeline for Xbox Cloud Gaming currently has a latency of between 8 and 74 milliseconds. It takes that long for controller inputs to be registered in the game. However, it is currently striving to integrate its Direct Capture technology into a larger selection of games on the platform. According to the most recent update from Morgan Brown of the Xbox Game Streaming Team, this will reduce latency to an amazingly low 2-12 milliseconds.

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Direct Capture reduces latency by turning off a lot of features, much like many of the top 4K TVs. These include a 1440p resolution maximum, dynamic scaling, and HDR. We won’t need to worry about that last one just yet. Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming is only available in 720p on mobile devices and 1080p on PC and Xbox Series X|S.

Microsoft has reiterated its goal to offer Xbox Cloud Gaming using a mouse and keyboard. According to team member Brown, Xbox is “working on integrating it to streaming for PC users.” Unfortunately, we still don’t have a concrete release date for mouse and keyboard support.

PC gamers are now limited to utilising a controller on the streaming service due to the perplexing exclusion. Additionally, it probably means that Xbox Game Pass mouse- and keyboard-based games like Age of Empires 4 will finally be made available online.

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Aches and pains

A few games on the Xbox Cloud Gaming service already support Direct Capture. However, we’re pleased to see Microsoft begin to include the feature in a larger range of games. Even the finest cloud gaming services, meanwhile, are still in their infancy as evidenced by restrictions like scaling and HDR disabling.

However, we won’t dismiss Microsoft’s efforts in this case. In competitive multiplayer settings where responsiveness offers players an advantage, lower latency is essential.

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