Streaming Xbox Games to Your Browser
Microsoft has been experimenting with bringing Xbox 360 and Xbox One games through a web browser, using the Microsoft Azure cloud. Microsoft Research had previously showed off a cloud-based gaming service that could reduce lag by masking up to 250ms of latency by predicting users' inputs (to put it simply).
With this new project, Microsoft has been experimenting with running the latest games on the Xbox 360, as well as the Xbox One, from within a browser window. Sources have reported that their experiences are at the 60FPS level. Plus, this is not just running an Xbox game within a browser window, but the entire Xbox experience, right down to the dashboard also running in the browser window.
Sony has hinted in the past that the next PlayStation may not actually be a physical console, and with its purchase of Gaikai (and subsequent introduction of the PlayStation Now platform), it is becoming more apparent that letting virtual consoles in the cloud to do the heavy-lifting is increasingly becoming more of a reality.
This also gives Microsoft an opportunity to flex its muscles a little, as it is able to show off the power of its Microsoft Azure platform as being just as good, if not better than Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services.
My hope is certainly that the cloud will become the next-gen consoles. Microsoft is quickly learning that consumers are willing to pay for a subscription if it means that they don't have to do the upgrades themselves, as with Office365. The dream is that I could play console-quality games inside a browser, meaning that my games would be accessible through just about any device.
Of course, there are still problems to work out, such as how to ensure a quality experience on a wide variety of devices, as well as licensing issues with the game publishers and developers; however, these are minor in comparison to being able to run the games flawlessly within a cloud environment.
At the moment, there is no word yet whether this could actually come true, but from the sounds of it, it seems like it is not only technically feasible, but is already being done right now.