Microsoft has detailed its work on latency improvements for games on the cloud-based platform. Additionally, mouse and keyboard support is still expected to arrive later this year.
The Xbox Cloud Gaming display pipeline currently has a latency of around 8-74 milliseconds. This is the time it takes for controller inputs to register in the game. However, it is now working to bring its Direct Capture technology to more games on the service. This will reduce latency to an impressively low 2 to 12 milliseconds, according to the last update (opens in new tab) by Morgan Brown of the Xbox Game Streaming Team.
Like many of the best 4K TVs, Direct Capture reduces latency by turning off various features. This includes HDR, dynamic scaling, and a resolution cap of 1440p. That last one we won’t have to worry about yet. Xbox Cloud Gaming is limited to 1080p on PC and Xbox Series X|S and 720p on mobile at this time.
Microsoft also reinforced its desire 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.” Frustratingly, though, we still don’t have a firm date for when mouse and keyboard support will arrive.
The baffling omission means that PC gamers are currently relegated to using a controller on the streaming service. Additionally, it will likely mean that mouse and keyboard-based games on Xbox Game Pass, such as Age of Empires 4, will finally be made available in the cloud.
Direct Capture is already supported by many games on the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. But we’re happy to see Microsoft start rolling out the feature to a wider selection of titles. However, limitations like disabling HDR and scaling too much show that even the best cloud gaming services are still in their infancy.
We’re not going to throw cold water on Microsoft’s efforts here, though. Lower latency is crucial in competitive multiplayer environments, where responsiveness gives players an edge.