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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.

88 Comments
  • Loving this strategy
  • Microsoft FTW here...just wow.
  • Are you able to ask what the expected latency will be? Nvidia announced for GRID, there would be a 150ms latency, which is pretty terrible. I would hope that since the distance is much shorter, from living room to bedroom, the latency should be much smaller here. 
  • I've had hands on with both. You can feel it more on Nvidia than you can on Xbox One.
  • You said you connected via ethernet.  So you mean a hard wire, right?  Did you get to see how well streaming works on wifi?
  • Yes via hardware
  • Streaming on Wi Fi would really depend on a) your router + network set up b)Wi Fi card. The xbox one has three separate 802.11n radios.
  • Yes, but not only that: wi-fi is terrible in terms of latency. Compare this with, for instance, Gigabit Ethernet where you are going to see full duplex connections (send and receive data packets in both directions, at the same point in time) and practically no waiting time at all for data packets as long as you connect to a switch or good-enough consumer router. Either that, or direct-connect the XBox One with a PC. I mean, the wireless nature of Wi-Fi antenna radio technology means there will always be interference and noise in your surroundings which will cause delays in the communication between devices. MIMO (multiple antenna tech) improves performance in terms of data speed and coverage, but it is not a 100 percent magic solution to all the latency issues caused by wireless communication. You will, however, see much better latency results if your wi-fi network consists of as few devices as possible because it means devices will have more talk-time (send and receive) availability at any given moment. Like I said, interference is a factor. Noise slows things down.  
  • Hard wire is another word to describe the ethernet cable
  • Get a better router. ;)
  • The 150ms that Nvidia quoted was for full on remote game streaming (like PS Now and OnLive) over the internet with the servers in remote locations. Xbox App streaming is only aiming for WLAN/LAN streaming (for now). You can't compare the two in that regard until MS eventually enable remote streaming in the Xbox app. Local streaming/remote play options like PS Remote play/Steam In-home are the types of functions you can only compare this to.
  • Cool
  • Yah, I know windows insiders can look inside windows!!!!!
  • Awesome!!
    Cant wait to play on my Surface when my better half wants to watch Vanderpump Rules or some other epic series on the TV ;-)
  • Yes ^^
  • Love Vanderdump Rules. It's one of the few mind numbing reality shows I will sit through. Those guys are so crazy! Gotta love it!
  • "Any clip created or viewed on the Xbox app can then be downloaded locally to your computer." -- A little confused by this. Why wouldn't the clip just be saved to your hard drive, with the option to upload it? This would be especially hard on people with slower internet connections or bandwidth caps.
  • It is uploaded automatically but you can download it locally to your hard drive so that you can export it to other video editing software.
  • No, I get that part. What I'm saying is, by the sound of it, to edit a clip that I recorded on my PC, I have to wait for it to upload, and then re-download it. If my internet connection is having a bad day, uploading and then downloading a video file isn't going to be terribly quick. And if I'm subject to a bandwidth cap from my ISP, that's going to push me closer to my limit.  Just to do something that was created right here on my PC.
  • The Xbox app is running on a local PC and it sounds like you are downloading the clip from the xbox through ethernet or wifi. I don't believe he is saying it uploads to the cloud and then you have to download on your PC.
  • That makes no sense. He's talking about the Windows 10 Game DVR function and its ability to record Steam and Origin games. There's no Xbox involved here, except for the name.
  • now you confused me? lol again, why are you talking about uploading? If you are playing a Steam game and hit the DVR key on windows, if you select to record the last 30 seconds then you can download these 30 seconds to your PC's hard drive. why would Game DVR upload those 30 seconds, then ask you to save it to your PC AFTER? lol maybe I am misunderstanding you
  • Anything you record via game DVR will be uploaded just like any clip would on Xbox One
  • No. You do not have to wait for it to upload. You can download an unedited clib
  • I wondered about this too, but the last thing you want on your Xbox streams are people uploading any old video.
  • I wonder how they will prevent that. Would the game have to be "registered" before the Xbox app will permit recording? If not, I wonder how long it'll be before someone writes an OpenGL video playing "game" and uses it to turn Xbox game clips into their personal video storage/distribution center.
  • Lemme first say I think this is all pretty amazing. But... " 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."
      With that I warn you all to get your complaints in order now, because this right here has not worked out too well for WP so far. And I hope it doesn't find it's way to any other OS first... or at all... ever.
  • If you complain you will only be pushing devs away. They reserve the right to do whatever they want with the game.
  • I agree. Most won't bother with the phone option. If history has been any indicator, the red headed step child that is Windows Phone will continue to be left out.
  • It's their app and they can determine what experience they want the user to have. This makes perfect sense. How is it going to end up on another OS? The reason this is possible is because both the xbox and pc/tablet/WP are running the same OS. Would an xbox controller work with IOS or android? I bet they don't have the driver for that. It might be possible to get android working but I bet the experience would be very laggy. From what microsoft has said, the developers just have to do some adjustment for screen size and possible control input. They have said that some developers took a few hours to a day to port their apps for the phone. So, why wouldn't developers want to enable this if it the cost is minimal? The problem with WP is that some developers haven't developed at all for windows or wp and they don't want to invest any time to develop the apps. If they are already developing an app for xbox or windows, a developer with any common sense should include wp, tablets, etc. Obvoiusly, I am not including snapchat's ceo and others like him in the category of someone with common sense. Anyone who turns down an offer where there is no risk and you can only win, even if the money isn't huge, lacks business sense.
  • Is there still a chance this functionality would come to the 360 as well? I know Microsoft said before they where looking into it. If they could do that too it would be a huge blow to Sony.
  • No offense, but the 7th generation is dead. Nobody really cares about the Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii anymore. It would be a waste of resources to implement this into Xbox 360. By the time Windows 10 launches, Xbox 360 will be 10 years old and its replacement will already be 2 years old. It's time to move on, as far as expecting updates and new features.
  • Yup, there is a point where you have to cut off the support cord.
  • Microsoft just released a new Preview Program for Xbox 360. The support still exists.
  • That's true. And, I must say, I wasn't the only one confused and surprised by it. I'm all for them supporting their products as long as possible, as long as they have the resources to do it so that it doesn't take away from development of newer products.
  • XBox 360 is the new Windows XP, if you know what I mean.
  • Excellent! Thanks for asking the kind of questions that some of us would have asked, especially the phone centric questions.
  • Of course! Windows phone is still our first love :)
  • Windows phone for life son
  • Get Some!!
  • This. Is. Awesome.
  • Someone should build a gaming windows phone with a badass battery life, graphics, audio, sensors, ram, and storage. Slap it on a 5'5 screen with controls on the side
  • What exactly would a "badass sensor" do?
  • It tells you when the master chief is nearby
  • The badass part was only in reference to the battery life smh
  • So a Microsoft Vita with phone abilities
  • Ok, and how many people will complain about the phone's weighs and thickness? This thing would be as thick as a nintendo DS and probably weigh about the same. You are asking for a portable gaming console, not a phone. 
  • It would be a niche device yes but it would also show how the gaming abilities on windows phone truely shine.
  • Xperia Play have flopped miserably.
  • In short, an Nvidia Shield tablet with Win10 rather than Android (and the aforementioned badass battery).
  • Would be amazeballs
  • I would rather stream my PC to the XBone.
  • They're looking into it
  • Or stream my desktop PC to my laptop or Win10 tablet. xD
  • :3 This is so great news! Streaming on my Lumia 1520 just when I get in my house without having to worry about turning on my PC and letting my mom watch the news? Wooooow!
  • I think Microsoft are leading the way for innovation. I am so glad I stuck with them for all these years. So proud of Microsoft.
  • But let's hope it's not as usual. They come up with great ideas but don't execute them well and Apple/Google will. And get all the credit. Somehow with devs being so ultra sensitive and anti Microsoft, I see this trend continuing.
  • Yes, Jonnie, that has often happened, but you forget that Apple and Google do not have consoles. They cannot make this feature. BTW, I wish I had an Xbox One to match my Windows Phone and Windows PC.
  • they need to partner up with steam and offer the live api's to ios and andriod
  • Is there any indication whether you can do anything else on the Xbox One while streaming a game (for example watch TV).  The best scenario for streaming for me is to stream a game to my Surface Pro 3 while my wife is watching TV.  Microsoft wants you to watch TV through your Xbox One, so hopefully it can handle the TV passthrough at the same time as streaming a game.  In this article is sounded like you had to be playing the game on the Xbox One before you could initiate the stream.  That worries me.  I was hoping that my wife could watch TV and I could go to the Xbox app in Windows and choose a game I want to stream without interrupting the TV.
  • Given that you can play a game and have the TV snapped next to it, I would say it should be possible to stream and watch TV. We'll have to see when they start demoing this.
  • So happy to be part of the Windows ecosystem. :D
  • After the great off screen play that was Wii u, I'm looking forward to this streaming to PC as it means I can use my windows tablets or upstairs PC to play Xbox! Using a controller, Sony tried with remote play the vita is borderline but controls suck and PS TV is bad lag hope better than remote play Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Wow, this LCD screen is huge!!
  • lol were you expecting latency issues using Ethernet? I would advise you to stop celebrating until they achieve the same performance on regular wifi N networks
  • The connection wasn't exactly perfect. All of Microsoft's booth was using it. It's the venue's connection not Microsoft's at that.
  • Dude, if your a serious gamer you wouldn't be using Wi Fi :P. Besides when it comes to Wi Fi there isn't much MS can do. As it depends on your router + network and the Wi Fi card on your pc. To presume everyone has gigabit lan / 802.11n is just silly.
  • Still possible to stream xbox game on phone , for the phone that already have that HD/FHD display. One thing left is the custom joystick for playing that... I hope the developer will "try" to make it real..
  • Excellent article Jonathan!
    Totally answered the questions I had in regards to windows phone.
  • Anytime mate! :)
  • i believe in windows 10 too
  • We are the Windows 10 Brotherhood! WE BELIEVE!!!
  • i believe, WE BELIEVE
  • So, will you be able to watch TV on your xbox while streaming to the PC?
  • Now this is news
  • Looking forward to this!
  • I would have thought the streaming would work pretty smoothly. The Xbox is still processing the actual game, all its doing is providing a video stream over the network and relaying controller commands. It's not much different than using your TV as a display from a device.
    Right?
  • Pretty much. It's basically just projecting your screen onto another screen
  • What I want to know is, why is the streaming only one-way? It'd be awesome if one could stream Windows games to the Xbox One.
  • 1 step at a time mate. Let them perfect one way then they can start thinking about going the other way
  • In the QA session he said that's somehing they are looking at.
  • Wouldn't there be a way to get around playing games that have been blocked from playing on Windows Phone by the developer? Couldn't you run it on Xbox and then just stream it to your phone anyway? Providing they get that streaming functionality to work on the phone :)
  • Hoping this will be include in the Surface RT/2 update as well.
  • Dammit!  Now I have to buy a Xbox One.  Just got my taxes.
  • Phone streaming would be a boon to the ID@Xbox program, as the smaller scale of most indies would lend themselves nicely to the smaller form factor of phones/phablets. For an example, see Machinarium. While it was a PC game initially, it serves a purpose to illustrate my point.
  • Be interesting to see if they will do streaming to the X1 from Win10 much like the steam streaming service currently knocking about.  
  • I'm glad to see this streaming feature. So, would I just be using an Xbox one controller on the remote device with a USB adaptor?
  • My main question would be online multiplayer. For examples sake I will use Advanced Warfare. Assuming this game supported streaming, I was wondering (and the main reason this feature interests me) if you would be able to have more than 2 people on local multiplayer. Currently, the game supports 2 players locally and up to 16 with LIVE I believe. So, if I were to stream to say my laptop, would I be able to play with 2 accounts online on the XBOX (as I do now) and then an EXTRA 2 players on my laptop?   TL;DR Would we be able to use seperate accounts on different devices (some on XBOX and some on Windows) in order to play multiplayer?