Microsoft recently announced some of the big new features for Windows 10, including the ability to stream games directly from the Xbox One. However, one of the features that they didn't readily disclose was something being worked on right now in the lab: streaming Windows 10 games to the Xbox One.
Eurogamer has an article detailing Microsoft's current progress with getting Windows 10 games to stream from PC to the Xbox One. If it sounds a little ridiculous, I think that's because most people are trying to figure how that's going to work when the Xbox One is having trouble hitting 1080p at 60fps for most standard games.
Partner director of program management, Mike Ybarra, commented about the initiative from the software publishing giant and console manufacturer, saying...
"We're actively investigating that right now," … We don't have any further details to share, but it's something we're looking at."
It just doesn't make sense to me trying to stream high-end games from PC to the Xbox One – even if we're talking about a software wrapper where most of the processing takes place over the stream, wouldn't it just be easier and more efficient to just play from your PC? That's not to mention that it could only stream controller-compatible games, unless Windows 10 had mouse and keyboard emulation support for controllers, similar to Valve's SteamOS.
While the team still has a ways to go getting the Xbox One to play Windows 10 games, they're moving along much further with streaming Xbox One games to Windows 10 PCs via the Xbox app.
Ybarra mentioned that the team is looking at the resolution and frame-rate output for the stream, saying...
“Right now in the labs it's 720p/30fps. We're looking at 1080p/30fps, 1080p/60fps and that is where a lot of what's your home network - is it wired? - will come in to effect.
I imagine they'll have different frame-rate settings for different performance builds. A high-end PC with a really fast wired home network connection should be able to handle 1080p at 60fps with no real problems.
If your home network speeds aren't so great or you have a lot of latency, expect to bottom out at 720p and 30fps... also known as last-gen specs.
I'm also very curious how games running at 720p and 30fps, like Dead Rising 3, will behave over a stream at 1080p and 60fps? I imagine that might look a little... weird.
But Ybarra acknowledges the very question above since it's claimed that they haven't tested every game just yet...
“We haven't tested every single game so I can't give you a definitive answer," ... "but certainly our goal is to be as low latency as possible. Especially for frames per second because any kind of additional latency there, we'll hear [about] it loud and clear."
In the world of game streaming: frames per second and latency are king. Even with the Steam in-home streaming, it was easy rack up frustration points when there were judders or frame-skips due to the latency. It also makes online multiplayer a finicky excursion because any slight hiccups in the connection and not only will you feel the lag from the multiplayer connection but also from the in-home streaming as well.
Additionally, Ybarra mentioned that you won't be able to stream Kinect games from the Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC. That means no Zumba Fitness while huddled in front of your PC. Maybe next time.