Xbox's Spencer takes issue with Google's no lag Stadia promise

Xbox's Spencer takes issue with Google's no lag Stadia promise

Microsoft's games boss Phil Spencer has said that companies involved in games streaming should not promise an experience free of lag.

Speaking to GameSpot, the Xbox chief has taken issue with some of the claims made by Google relating to its Stadia platform, namely that users would not have lag when using its cloud service. Spencer says that Microsoft hasn't made any such claims about its own xCloud streaming platform for a reason.

"I don't think anybody should tell you that there's no lag," he said.

"Going back to our transparency, there's a truth that I think is always important for us to talk about with our customers. In xCloud, we are building a convenience capability to allow you to take your Xbox experience with you. Meaning, that's why we focus on the phone, and the experience is not the same as running the games on an Xbox One X. I'm not going to say that it's an 8K 120hz thing. That's not what we're doing. We're going to bring convenience and choice to you on your phone.

"You can jump in a party, we can voice chat. Everything works the same as it does when I'm sitting with my console from a community and content perspective but you're running it from a cloud, which is going to feel different."

Spencer also said that streaming is one road in which the industry is rolling down, but companies shouldn't rule out physical hardware just yet.

"[Streaming is] one of the directions the industry is headed," he says.

"To me, it's about what you as a gamer want to do, and I'm not trying to tell you that owning a box that plays video games is a bad thing or that somehow that's not needed. I think that the cloud inevitability as part of gaming is absolutely true. But we have more compute devices around us than we've ever had, whether it's your phone, a Surface Hub, or an Xbox. The world where compute devices are gone and it's all coming from the cloud just isn't the world that we live in today."

Stadia was announced at GDC 2019 with a keynote event in which the search giant told us... very little. It was here that lead designer for research and development Erin Hoffman-John said that studios using the streaming platform would be able to "create games built to house hundreds of players with low latency and perfect synchronization" thanks to Google's infrastructure. 

The Silicon Valley behemoth has been more forthcoming since, but there are still huge questions over the streaming tech, including its promise of no lag. 


Incidentally, here is who is working on Google's Stadia streaming platform

Staff Writer