Microsoft is reportedly building a cloud-based streaming service for games and apps, codenamed Arcadia. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley cites unnamed sources claiming that the service is being developed by Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group on the foundation of the company’s cloud-based operating system, Azure.
Arcadia is said to replace “Rio”, another game-streaming platform being developed Microsoft which was demonstrated internally in September 2013. The Verge reported at the time that the demonstration showed of Halo 4 being played on both a Windows phone with an Xbox controller hooked up to it and a PC, streamed from the cloud. Neowin also reported in August 2014 on a different project out of Microsoft Research, codenamed Delorean, which focused on reducing latency for game streaming. It is not known whether DeLorean is related to the rumored Arcadia or is a separate project.
Two recent job postings for software engineers with the Microsoft’s new Operating Systems Group corroborate the project. One post specifically references Arcadia. The particulars are vague, but both posts list experience with non-Microsoft operating systems as a qualification for the job, with a background in Android and iOS considered a “plus.” Foley’s sources indicate that the Operating Systems Group has been considering the possibility of allowing Android apps to stream on Windows devices, which could be related.
Microsoft is planning a big Windows 10 event for January 2015, and it could include revelations about Arcadia, though Foley is doubtful. Although Xbox head Phil Spencer is on the speaker list, Foley suspects that it is too early in Arcadia’s development cycle for anything tangible to be shared, anticipating that the service would launch sometime after Windows 10 does in fall 2015.
Keeping with the gaming theme, the name Arcadia is possibly a reference to a United Earth Government colony in the Halo series. This would be similar to Microsoft calling its speech-driven, AI assistant Cortana after the AI character also from Halo.