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Xbox’s cloud service will soon have mouse and keyboard support

Microsoft is also helping developers reduce latency

Microsoft Xbox logo on a glitchy green background Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service, xCloud, is getting a few upgrades in the near future. The company has started encouraging developers to add mouse and keyboard support to more of their xCloud compatible games and to reduce latency on the service, Microsoft said during its Xbox Game Streaming discussion at xFest.

The mouse and keyboard support feature hasn’t made it to xCloud’s PC users yet. But Microsoft says that developers can begin adding support to their games now, that way the feature will turn on on Xbox Cloud Gaming as soon as it’s available.

Xbox Cloud Gaming is included as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions, and allows players to stream Xbox games on mobile devices, PCs, and some TVs. While not every title in the Game Pass library is compatible with xCloud, there are dozens of titles on the list that players can stream both from Microsoft and from third-party developers.

Microsoft also let developers know about the company’s new plans to decrease latency for game streaming. Through its new Display Details API, Microsoft is cutting down on some of the most taxing and slow processes of streaming. This new process uses direct capture to stream the game instead of Microsoft’s previous, more complicated, display pipeline process.

If developers utilize this direct capture streaming method, the end result could be a reduction on latency of up to 72ms, according to Microsoft. The downside is that the technology does not yet support HDR, and currently has a max resolution of 1440p, and will run at 720p on phones and 1080p on PCs and browsers. While Xbox Cloud Gaming has continued to support streaming up to 1080p at this time, the tradeoff in latency should still be a significant improvement and Microsoft says that it’s working to increase the quality possible on the new system.

Most of these features that Microsoft discussed during the Xbox Game Streaming presentation at its xFest developer event won’t actually be available immediately, but these big improvements to Xbox Cloud Gaming should be right around the corner.

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