Microsoft researchers have released a report that presents DeLorean, a cloud gaming solution that hides latency by trying to predict what you'll do next.
According to the report (via TechCrunch) DeLorean's "speculative execution system," as Microsoft calls it, is able to mask up to 250ms of network latency by rendering frames of future possible outcomes and sending them ahead of time. Essentially, based on your historical tendencies and recent behavior, DeLorean tries to predict your actions, render them, and send them to your device in advance to improve your perception that the game is more responsive. For actions that are harder to predict, DeLorean queues up multiple possible outcomes and displays only the correct one.
This, the researchers say, produces an experience that is more responsive than current solutions, where even 100ms can feel laggy.
Microsoft tested DeLorean with two games: Doom 3 and Fable 3. "Through user studies and performance benchmarks, we find that players overwhelmingly prefer DeLorean to traditional thin-client gaming," they said, adding that "DeLorean successfully mimics playing across a low-latency network."
However, while Microsoft says that they're able to reduce the added bandwidth of having to transmit possible outcome frames with better video compression, DeLorean still requires almost five times as much bandwidth than standard cloud gaming systems. So it's not ready for public consumption, but it is an interesting, possible solution to the latency problem.
Sony's cloud gaming solution, PlayStation Now (which is based on Gaikai's technology), is currently in beta.