Bethesda’s Orion reveal points to an industrywide shift to cloud gaming

Bethesda Orion cloud gaming game streaming E3 2019

Google fully embracing cloud gaming with the Stadia platform has forced not only the hands of home console manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft but companies like Bethesda as well. During its annual E3 2019 conference, Bethesda unveiled a project dedicated to cloud gaming called Orion. It wasn’t presented as a competitor but more as technology that can enhance platforms like Google Stadia.

After a quick rundown of Bethesda’s history within the video game industry, two Bethesda devs unveiled Orion. The developers described Orion as not one platform but as a suite of patented technologies that can be used with any game engine. Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project Xcloud, the streaming platform described during the Xbox briefing, were mentioned as platforms that can benefit from the use of Orion.

A key benefit that will likely be explored by Sony, Microsoft, Google, and others that decide to invest in cloud gaming is the claim that Orion can lower the bandwidth demand by 40%. An improvement that dramatic or even just a portion of it could be beneficial to players and to the platforms. If Orion can manage it, Bethesda may have just made an early power move within an industry that may be shifting to cloud streaming in a big way.

Using Orion, a tech specialist from Bethesda Software took the stage and showed Doom 2016 being streamed to a mobile device and being controlled using a gamepad. Though we were watching a small screen captured by a camera, the gameplay looked fluid and there didn’t seem to be much of a delay between her input and the gameplay reflected on-screen. It’s a highly-controlled environment, though, so we’ll have to wait to Orion in action in homes.

Bethesda’s reveal of Orion may not be the last of its kind shown during E3 and it surely won’t be the last this year. Google Stadia pushing cloud gaming to the forefront when it launches and companies will be positioning themselves to capitalize if the technology takes off. Sony has already teamed up with Microsoft so that it may utilize the Azure platform and deliver a better streaming option than what it has, so count Orion among a few other significant moves in this direction.

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