Microsoft

E3 2018: Xbox FastStart uses machine learning to get into content faster

During its E3 2018 presentation, Xbox announced it’s taking advantage of Microsoft’s machine learning expertise for its FastStart feature.

FastStart learns how gamers play and what files are needed to be downloaded first. Microsoft claims this can half the time it takes for a user to get into their new content — if it previously took 30 minutes to download and play, it will now take just 15 minutes.

Xbox has long had a similar ‘Ready to Start’ system where games can be played while the rest downloads in the background. This system required developers to manually configure it during the game’s development, but FastStart is automatic as a platform-level feature.

Furthermore, as you’d expect from a machine learning feature, it’s always learning how to improve.

Jason Ronald, Principal Group Program Manager for Xbox Platform, says: “Since FastStart takes advantage of machine learning, we will continue to improve our algorithm over time getting players into the fun as soon as possible.”

The news is exciting for gamers who are eager to get into their new releases but face increasingly large downloads as a result of 4K textures and bigger worlds being created.

However, FastStart serves as an example of what machine learning is enabling that could be used outside the gaming world. Even shaving a few seconds off smaller downloads helps to improve the experience for consumers.

FastStart will be launching for select games in Xbox GamePass following a system update this month.

An updated list of FastStart supported titles will be available here.

Are you excited about the use of machine learning to prioritise downloads? Let us know in the comments.

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