Game streaming services are pretty much the hot ticket item right now, and it looks like Bethesda has decided to get the jump on other publishers by pushing out their own system. ORION will be Bethesda's streaming system, that will let you play their games with max settings on any PC or mobile device, regardless of how far you are from a server location.
Which is honestly some impressive tech if they can get it to work. They announced their service at the Bethesda E3 showcase with a brief explanation of their history as pioneers in the gaming industry, and with a short bit of information on how the system will work. They didn't give out too much information on their system. But they did demo the system by showing one of their techs playing a copy of 2016's DOOM on a mobile phone with an Xbox controller clipped on.
However, Bethesda did sit down with Gamesindustry.biz to discuss Orion. And it might surprise you that the system isn't, well, a streaming service. In fact, ORION is more like a game engine:
Orion is essentially a collection of software techniques that Bethesda is putting together in a unified software development kit. The company says that by incorporating them into any game engine, developers can significantly reduce a title's latency, bandwidth requirements, and required cloud computing power in a streaming environment. Orion is the product of id Software's id Tech team in Dallas and Frankfurt, and Bethesda director of publishing operations James Altman says the group has been working on streaming for years.
Altman says there are two primary challenges for on-demand game streaming: latency and computing power.
To date, on-demand streaming companies have been addressing the latency issue as a hardware problem, he says, attempting to "brute force" the solution by building out infrastructure to reduce customers' distance to cloud servers (and thus cut down on latency) or building optimized video encoding and compression into the hardware to reduce bandwidth required.
The problem, according to Altman, is that these sort of efforts to improve the streaming experience only begin after the game running on a remote server has already rendered any given frame.
So while ORION is more development tool than consumer service, it is pretty damn sick that you'll be able to use it to play DOOM at max settings on a phone.