Microsoft has detailed its work on improving latency for games on the cloud-based platform. And what’s more, mouse and keyboard support are still expected to arrive later this year.
Currently, the Xbox Cloud Gaming display pipeline supports a latency of around 8-74 milliseconds. That’s how long it takes for controller inputs to register in-game. However, it’s now working to bring its Direct Capture technology to more games on the service. This will reduce latency to an impressive 2-12 milliseconds, according to the latest update (opens in a new tab) by 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 1440p resolution cap. The latter we won’t have to worry about for now. Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently limited to 1080p on PC and Xbox Series X|S, and 720p on mobile.
Microsoft has also stepped up its drive to bring mouse and keyboard support to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Brown, a software engineer on the team, says Xbox is “working on adding it to streaming for PC users.” Unfortunately, we still don’t have a specific date for mouse and keyboard support.
The puzzling omission means that currently PC gamers are relegated to using a controller on the streaming service. Plus, it’ll likely mean that 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 supported by a handful of games on the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. But we’re happy to see Microsoft starting to roll out the feature to a wider selection of titles. However, limitations like disabling HDR and upscaling show that even the best cloud gaming services are still in their infancy.
We’re not going to pour cold water on Microsoft’s efforts here, though. Lower latency is crucial in competitive multiplayer environments where responsiveness gives players an advantage.