There's a report that Finnish studio Mainframe, which had gotten $8.3 million in funding for a cloud-native MMO may be working with Microsoft as its publisher. The report comes from GamesRadar and mentions the recent Xbox Two Podcast episode, in which reporter Jez Corden mentions that "Microsoft's working with a studio in Finland...called Mainframe making a cloud-native game". Mainframe has been working on a cloud-native MMORPG for some time, with few details yet known about its project or any potential release plans or publishing.
If this is true, this is the first time any publisher has been mentioned in association with Mainframe, which has been a very quiet company since starting work. Early quiet from any MMO developer is nothing surprising, though the tech and the funding did make news.
This mystery may be slightly less of one now, as Microsoft has shown interest in cloud-based gaming before and has a platform called xCloud. Mainframe, on its site, states its aim as "Mixing the best of AAA, MMO and mobile gaming into a social sandbox, playable on any screen." xCloud's purpose as a platform is intended to let subscribers to Xbox Game Pass access games from a variety of their devices, so this would match up well should Mainframe’s work have found its publisher.
Cloud gaming and cross-platform play have been growing in recent years. At one time, cross-platform almost seemed impossible where today where it’s a common intent from the get-go, and now the cloud is part of everyday life for so many people. There are developers making MMOs and other online games that don’t require client downloads and will let you play on different devices, like Mad World. Microsoft’s Rare has Sea of Thieves running successfully. If this speculation is true, we’re looking forward to seeing just what comes out of a Microsoft partnership.