An inside look at Game Streaming on Xbox One with Windows 10 – GDC 2015

The Xbox app on Windows 10 is the foundation of Microsoft's vision to give consumers gaming wherever they desire. We just got an inside look at the March's preview edition of the Xbox app for Windows 10, and we're going to share our thoughts.

Regular Updates and Phone

First of all let's make this clear. Microsoft has been committed to updating the Xbox One monthly with either new features and tweaks. They have assured us that they will bring this commitment to Windows 10 in which we will see monthly updates for the Xbox app as well.

They also told me that the Xbox app is indeed coming to Windows 10 phone, and it will make its appearance via the Insider program sometime down the line.

If you've got the preview build of Windows 10 on your PC, you already know what to expect. The app is streamlined for use on a PC with all areas of the app being scrollable as well as being manipulated by touch screen. You have your profile to the top left, friends to the right, and the activity feed running in the middle.

Game DVR

As for the March update for the Xbox app on PC, its biggest addition that it will bring with it Game DVR. Game DVR can be activated by using the Windows key+G. This update brings up a small menu at the bottom of your screen that allows you to take a screenshot, record the last 30 seconds, or start creating a clip that you can then edit later. Any clip created or viewed on the Xbox app can then be downloaded locally to your computer.

Xbox Windows 10 Game DVR

Microsoft decided to allow this because PCs have the best video editing capabilities, so they wanted their users to be able to use that to their best ability. That being said you can still use the Xbox app to trim videos that way you can export the perfect clip. Game DVR is also built into the Windows 10 OS, which means that you can use it with any game even if it's a Steam or Origin game.

One thing I asked was if we could use the "Xbox record that" command using the Kinect for Windows, and they stated that it was something that they are looking into.

We tried Game Streaming

Next, Microsoft gave me a hands-on demo of Game Streaming from the Xbox One to a Surface Pro 3 on a local ethernet connection. Using the Xbox App on Windows 10, it can identify which consoles are on the same network that it will then ask you to connect to. We started up a game of Sunset Overdrive and brought up to Xbox app on Windows 10 and asked it to start streaming to the Surface. It did so almost instantly.

It started up right where I was on the Xbox One. What impressed me most, is that Microsoft is so proud of its streaming capabilities that they decided to show it off with Sunset Overdrive. If you've played this game before you know how twitchy and fast paced it is which wouldn't work in the slightest if there were latency issues. Instead, the game worked flawlessly. I was able to kill the enemies as usual as if I were playing directly on my Xbox One.

Xbox Windows 10 library

Streaming on Phone?

I then asked if game streaming would be possible on Windows 10 phone since it runs via the app that will be coming to those devices. Again, they reiterated that they were looking into it.

I had then saved my best question for last. With games coming to Windows 10 via ID@Xbox, will those games be able to run on Windows 10 phones? Short answer, yes. The long answer is that it is up to developers to enable that functionality in their game.

Some developers may feel that some phones may be too small while others are too big. They can allow individual devices to play it or none at all. It is ultimately up to the developer. If a developer feels there just isn't enough screen real estate they have every right to not want to enable it on Windows 10 phones.

We believe

In closing, today's one on one with game streaming makes me a believer in the service, and I can't wait to have it in my home. Microsoft isn't committing to a date on the release of game streaming. They have assured me that it will come when they can bet all their money on it. Until then, the service will only keep improving with tweaks and performance boosts.

Jonathan Dollison