Xbox Game Studios is working with Finnish studio Mainframe on a cloud-native MMO, according to reports.
Cloud-based developer Mainframe had already announced it was working on a cloud-native MMO but, according to Jez Corden on The Xbox Two podcast, Xbox Game Studios is now working with the studio.
Corden's claims have been corroborated by VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb, who claims the adventure MMO is being published by Xbox Game Studios and developed under the working title 'Pax Dei'. According to Grubb, developer Mainframe is looking into gameplay mechanics that could only work in a game that primarily exists on a remote server such as this.
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One of these mechanics, according to Grubb's report, is the ability for the game to scale complexity depending on the device you're playing on.
“While anyone can do anything in Pax Dei on any device, certain tasks will make more sense depending on where you are playing,” Grubb writes. “So if you’re on your phone at work, you can open up the game and quickly do some crafting or resource farming. Then, when you get home to your PC or console, you can take on some of the more complex missions like raids.”
Details on Mainframe's MMO are thin on the ground right now, but the developer's website describes it as “a vibrant world with new ways to engage and connect with our friends”, calling it “the game of a lifetime”.
Neither Xbox nor Mainframe has confirmed these reports.
Analysis: an MMO you can play anywhere
A cloud-native MMO is exciting because it means players will be able to access the MMO on pretty much any device: mobile, console or PC. Cloud-based gaming makes gaming more accessible, allowing players to play games without having to shell out for a pricey console or PC and instead being able to use a mobile device they may already have to hand.
Xbox Game Studios has been making a push towards cloud gaming for some time. Xbox Cloud Gaming, as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, is currently in beta, allowing players with a subscription to the service to access its library of games from mobile devices without the need to purchase an Xbox console or PC.
In addition, earlier this year Xbox Game Studios publishing head Peter Wyse revealed in an interview with Polygon that the company's next big goal is to create “cloud-based games”. While this partnership with mainframe hasn't been officially confirmed, it would fall neatly into Xbox's strategy to push further into cloud gaming. Grubb even claims that Xbox is “excited” about Pax Dei due to its “value in highlighting hurdles with cloud-based development” and because of the doors it could open for future cloud-native games.
It's also worth keeping in mind that there are reports that Xbox is in talks to partner with Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima for his next game, with Kojima expressing interest in exploring cloud-based games. If Xbox is working with Mainframe, those learnings would likely help to seal any potential deal with Kojima.
It's also exciting as this is the first full-scale MMO we've seen Xbox Game Studios publish – Sea of Thieves is online multiplayer but nowhere at this scale.
While you might hope to find out more during Xbox's 20th anniversary stream on November 15, where we expect the company will have more than a few surprises up its sleeve, Xbox game Studios head Matt Booty has already confirmed there won't be any announcements on new projects. Guess we'll have to wait for another 'surprise' blog post announcement.
TechRadar has contacted Xbox for comment.
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