According to CNET’s inside ninja sources, Microsoft not only plans to implement a cloud-based game streaming service; they already have it running. It’s called Rio, and could allow Xbox 360 games to be streamed to the Xbox One in much the same way that Sony’s Gaikai will allow for PS3 streaming on the PS4.

CNET says that Microsoft demoed the technology off last week at a Microsoft meeting, beaming Halo 4 to a Surface tablet and a Windows Phone, apparently at “Xbox-level visual quality.”

Paul Thurrott, the Windows blogger who’s often privy to inside information said on his site that Rio works, and that latency for it wasn’t at all terrible in its current state.

“The firm noted that latency was down to 45 milliseconds, which is probably OK for simple single-player gaming but is in fact pretty high for real-time multiplayer gaming,” Thurrott said. “But here’s a secret benefit of this technology: Microsoft might use this to solve the backward-compatibility problem of the Xbox One, which cannot play Xbox 360 games: It could simply stream these titles to customers.”

I’m still not entirely sold on games streamed for magical servers in the sky. OnLive has largely failed to gain any momentum, because even in places with super internet, latency and resolution are still issues. I’m not sure Gaikai will really be capable of streaming PS3 games to my PS4, nor do I have any real confidence that Rio will let me play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One.

I’d like to be wrong though.

Last Updated: October 1, 2013

was reviewed on PC

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