Microsoft has detailed its work to improve gaming latency on the cloud-based platform. And what's more, mouse and keyboard support is still expected to arrive later this year.
Currently, the Xbox Cloud Gaming display pipeline supports a latency of around 8 to 74 milliseconds. That's how long it takes for controller inputs to register with the game. However, it is now working on bringing its Direct Capture technology to more games on the service. This will reduce latency to an incredibly low 2 to 12 milliseconds, according to the latest update (opens in a new tab) from Morgan Brown of the Xbox Game Streaming Team.
As with many of the best 4K TVs, Direct Capture reduces latency by disabling a number of features. These include HDR, dynamic scaling, and a resolution cap of 1440p. We will not have to worry about the latter for now. Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently limited to 1080p on PC and Xbox Series X|S, and 720p on mobile.
(Image credit: Microsoft)
Microsoft has also stepped up its push to bring mouse and keyboard support to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Brown, a software engineer on the team, says that Xbox is "working on adding it to streaming for PC users." Unfortunately, we don't have a specific date for mouse and keyboard support yet.
The perplexing omission means PC gamers are currently relegated to using a controller on the streaming service. Plus, it likely means mouse and keyboard-based games on Xbox Game Pass, like Age of Empires 4, will finally be available via the cloud.
Direct Capture is already compatible with a handful of games on the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. But we're pleased to see Microsoft starting to roll out the feature to a wider selection of titles. However, limitations like HDR disabling and upscaling show that even the best cloud gaming services are still in their infancy.
However, we're not going to throw cold water on Microsoft's efforts here. Lower latency is crucial in competitive multiplayer environments where responsiveness gives players an advantage.