Microsoft Announces FastStart and Confirms to Work on Game Streaming Service

Microsoft has announced the Xbox Game Pass feature FastStart, which allows Xbox games to launch faster during download. Microsoft also confirms that it is working on a game streaming service and on new Xbox consoles.

FastStart allows users to open and play a game “twice as fast” after downloading “only a fraction” of the files. Using machine learning, the service identifies which parts should be brought in first for a playable rendering. The service requires a download speed of at least 20Mbit/s and there is a list of English-language games that Microsoft supports. The company promises to expand the list in the future, including to other languages.

The Game Pass collection has also been expanded with the titles Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and Tom Clancy’s The Division. Also, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Ashen, Afterparty, Phoenix Point, Forza Horizon 4, Crackdown 3, Gears 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection should be coming to the service this year.

Microsoft confirmed that its Gaming Cloud Team is working on a game streaming service to various types of devices. Rumors of this date back to at least 2013, but until now streaming options have been limited to streaming Xbox One games to Windows 10 PCs. With the new service, Microsoft will compete with Sony’s PlayStation Now and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. Microsoft also announced that it is working on the architecture of new Xbox consoles and investigating the use of artificial intelligence in games. The company did not provide further details.

Microsoft used the E3 presentation to try to allay concerns that the Xbox isn’t getting enough games of its own. The console is well below the PlayStation 4, but Microsoft announced that it would add five game studios to Microsoft Studios to change this. This concerns, for example, the new studio The Initiative, led by Darrell Gallagher, who was previously the chief executive of Crystal Dynamics of The Tomb Raider games.

In addition, Microsoft is bringing British developer Playground Games from Forza Horizon 4 to its ranks, Ninja Theory from Hellblade is coming to the company, Undead Labs from State of Decay will become a Microsoft studio and Compulsion Games from We Happy Few is added as Microsoft Studio.