Microsoft Research Solves Cloud Gaming Lag

The biggest hurdle for cloud gaming has been the unpredictability of latency. Despite the amount of money that hardcore gamers spend in order to have the best internet connections piped into their home, they could still be at risk of gaming lag due to external factors. Microsoft Research believes they have a solution and they have codenamed this project DeLorean.

Microsoft Research has published a white paper on this topic on the Microsoft site. Inside the white paper, the research team described the DeLorean project as, “A speculative execution system for mobile cloud gaming that is able to mask up to 250ms of network latency. DeLorean produces speculative rendered frames of future possible outcomes, delivering them to the client one entire RTT ahead of time; clients perceive no latency.”

Microsoft goes on to write a list of how this technique is achieved. Microsoft’s bullet points are:

  1. Future input prediction
  2. State space sub sampling and time shifting
  3. Misprediction compensation
  4. Bandwidth compression

In the white paper, Microsoft described how they tested two frame intensive games on thin clients. They tested Doom 3 and Fable at the conclusion of their test, the Microsoft Researchers found that “Players overwhelmingly prefer DeLorean to traditional thin-client gaming where the network RTT is fully visible, and that DeLorean successfully mimics playing across a low-latency network.”

This groundbreaking research will likely find its way onto the Xbox platform in the future. Cloud gaming has always suffered the threat of playing in a low-latency environment. As any anyone who has played a multiplayer video game has probably realized, the most rage inducing moment is when you work so hard to get to a certain point in the game and the console seemingly stops responding to your controls. The console wasn’t to blame; the internet connection and lag was reason for your demise. Players typically find themselves having to start over thus having to recomplete a mission due to lag. If Microsoft’s research is correct, more high-frame rate games will be coming to the cloud and latency issues will be a thing of the past.