Xbox One’s Cloud has received a lot of bad rep ever since it was announced. Always online gaming is a change to the structure we have now for current gen and I understand that the change can be seen as the end of next-gen gaming for those who don’t have a “decent Internet connection” but I believe we should give the Xbox One’s Cloud a chance. There are a lot of possibilities and potential with the Cloud and it would be a shame to disregard them. With Xbox One, using cloud services is something that Microsoft wish to integrate flawlessly with games. Whether or not this works flawlessly will be put to the test in the coming months, but let’s look at the possibilities Xbox One’s cloud could have with next-gen games.

Better Servers

In an article on Respawn.com, Jon Shiring (Titanfall’s Game Programmer who is currently working with Xbox One’s Cloud tech) discussed how the cloud is a dream for multiplayer developers. Cloud tech integrated with Xbox One allows for zero hacking/cheating in a game and everyone will be able to connect to a server. On top of this, there’s no host advantage. This is fantastic in terms of balancing a game and meaning there’s no chance of having one player shoot you faster than you shoot them because your connection to the server sucks. Cloud computing will allow for gamers to be equal. Probably the best part of the article is that with cloud gaming for multiplayer, there’s no need to migrate hosts anymore. Usually if a server host player disconnects, the game is paused and you have to wait until a suitable new host is chosen. This is a thing of the past with Xbox One. Finally, combining cloud and multiplayer means that the all of the available CPU and memory on the players’ consoles can be utilised, making for “awesome visuals and audio!” For someone like me who loves their graphics, I’m rather tempted to see this multiplayer in action first hand.

Better Graphics

Xbox One’s use of a cloud server can allow for some operations in the game to be run in the background on a server. Such “operations” like the lighting or time of day can be processed and outsourced to a server which could give the game more free power to use to render backgrounds/characters/buildings etc. From what I’ve read about cloud gaming and the Xbox One, it seems that the cloud is used as a server to host extra graphical features that will improve the look of the game. Such games that push the hardware to the max like GTA V will be allowed to do even more with their graphics with the use of a cloud. Yet since GTA V is current-gen only, we can only imagine what the next-gen open world environment game can do.

Better AI

Like I said above, Xbox One and the cloud will be used to allow operations to run in the background on a cloud server. Therefore AI in open-world games like Grand Theft Auto or Elder Scrolls will be able to utilise the cloud. NPCs can interact with their environment in a way to make the game seem like a living, breathing world. Oblivion had such technology (Radiant A.I.) where NPCs ate, drank and slept on top of interacting with the world. The A.I. was apparently so good in the game initially that it had to be turned down. One example was a Skooma dealer NPC would be dead by the time the player reached him upon entering the city as local Skooma addicts would kill him to get their Skooma fix. The possibilities of using cloud gaming and extensive NPC AI looks limited to open-world games however as certain games would not benefit from the use of it.

Will It Work?

While all of this sounds promising, it is unknown whether it can actually work properly or not. However, to completely disregard the idea of cloud computing would be foolish. Who knows what cloud gaming can offer us in the future, but we have to keep our minds open with the upcoming changes. I understand that some people cannot utilise the Internet in the same way Microsoft expects, and I fully empathise with the anger some gamers feel as they are locked out from using many of the features that can be implemented above. However, there are other consoles available that don’t require an Internet connection to play. Xbox One specifically caters for those who have an Internet connection and it is unfortunate that this is the case. Yet for those who do have a good connection, I feel they should be open-minded to what the Xbox One is trying to do. It’s attempting something new that may isolate some gamers from playing but could the risk be worth it in the end? Will the cloud revolutionise multiplayer by using cloud servers instead of player-hosted ones? A lot of attention will be focused on the Xbox One’s cloud by the time of the console’s release and if it will deliver on the many promises. We can only hope it lives up to our expectations and more. If successful, this could be the start of something big for gamers.

What do you think about Xbox One’s Gaming Cloud ideas? Will it be a success or failure? Let us know what you think below or in the forums.

Nathan Hughes
Follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/OnlySP_Nathan) for more nonsense.

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12 Comments

  1. Yeah! Nice article man. I’ve been loving cloud gaming for over 2 years now on the OnLive service so I don’t know what the fark peoples problem is.

    1. not the same kind. lol

      1. Yeah because OnLive’s is full cloud instead of a hybrid. OnLive’s is better. I still think cloud gaming is insanely awesome.

      2. Sony has not invested billions of dollars into a server infrastructure like Microsoft. Sony has put up dedicated servers for specific first party titles but Microsoft is allowing access to server databases for all developers to utilize. BIG difference. This is one of the reasons why a game like Titanfall is only going to be with Microsoft on XBox and PC. If you don’t think Microsoft’s server infrastructure is stronger than Sony’s then you are a shameless fanboy. Billions of dollars have been invested and more will be as server farms for the cloud crop up around the world. Sony can’t afford to do that right now with their financial strugles.

  2. NO…NO it will NOT enhance graphics……I’ve read enough about Azure and know enough about it that NO that is not at all possible…It literally does NOTHING for graphics…The only people who are working on a cloud service that can enhance graphics is currently Nvidia…..Microsoft’s Azure is designed for computing enhancements…So Yeah it could stabilize or improve matchmaking, maybe have some effect on things like enemy A.I IF your online, but that might be a stretch, cause then what happens if your net goes down it would wig the console out….I wish sites would stop misinforming people about the capabilities of Azure

    1. At least not real-time graphics. Being able to recalculate “pre-baked” lighting maps is a potential plus but I think that’s a fairly minor point.

      I know Digital Foundry can be hit or miss in their approach but I think this article really speaks to the real potential benefits vs what won’t work because of latency and bandwidth issues:

      https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-in-theory-can-xbox-one-cloud-transform-gaming

    2. Yes, it can enhance graphics. It’s just you who hopes it doesn’t become successful, not because the technology is truly next gen but simply because it’s Microsoft. If you had truly done your research you would see the architecture for Xbox One’s Move Engines are built for Cloud graphical rendering capabilities.

      Btw, if you took Nvidia into consideration why couldn’t you do the same for Microsoft? They have the infrastructure built and existing in real life, with actual servers of their own CPUs and GPUs. It’s a shame the “lackeys” like you would only except anything that Sony will bring out.

      Cloud is the future and between Xbox One and PS4, it is more obvious that Xbox One is future proof, especially in the tech design of Xbox One’s architectural design.

      So keep convincing yourself that delusion, you’ll inevitably FAIL with that wishful thinking.

    3. XBO FTW SON!

  3. There is a reason why the XBox One will provide the best online/multiplayer experience. Microsoft has invested billions of dollars into it. Let the casual gamers congregate on PS4 and let hardcore/competitive players utilize the server farms being propped up around the world so we can have a more balanced, improved and fair multiplayer experience. If you care about online/multiplayer experience then the XBox One should be your top choice at the moment. Hopefully Microsoft comes out with more information at Gamescom to confirm or squash various rumors.

  4. I wrote a piece that came from the opposite perspective on my own blog. I’m not trying to condemn cloud gaming, but more to temper our expectations of it.

    https://pressstarttodiscuss.blogspot.com/2013/07/62-mythical-cloud-dont-believe-hype.html

    1. I tend to agree more with you personally….first off that graphics will be improved, there haven’t even been claims from Microsoft that this will happen, instead they mince words like “games will be better with the cloud”, but never outright saying we can expect that….as it stands, cloud functionality and broadband internets simply aren’t capable of any noticeable improvements to games, especially w/o substantial lag….beyond that, as long as the dorm measures are out, so is cloud functionality in any aspect of games other than multiplayer….as a mainly single player story driven gamer, the cloud would be useless to me, if the lowest common denominator is in place (it always is), devs wouldn’t risk alienating even a small potential fan base just for a couple physics offloading scenarios…the cloud is essentially microsofts way of trying to compete w/ the superior horsepower of the ps4 in written terms only for the time being….could we see improvements in the future? Sure that pretty much a given, but they won’t be drastic at any point this gen, and they will never be for anything other than mp….until Microsoft does what most expect and re implement the features they have been pulling prerelease….I will look for the lengthy terms and services agreement that everyone will have to agree to in order for their box to function to state that ms reserve the right to change any policies or terms….if is wasnt on the agenda, then why would they make everyone download a patch on day one to remove the drm instead of just fixing it themselves? They’ve had plenty of time to do so, the only reason this “patch” is required I’m speculating is so every owner will then be forced to agree to the future reimplementation of things like the kinect requirement and the drm

  5. Hmm, half of all xbox360 consoles crashed and burned forcing their owners to buy a new one for a loss that their company caused purposely. I mean they put a red light in there to tell you it was broken, it wouldn’t have been there at all unless they built it to break. It’s not a cars check engine light this is a gaming system we’re talking about. This alone will be enough to disenfranchise me from the company. They made hundreds of millions by selling a faulty product, And got away with it because the’re Microsoft . Besides if Internet speeds increase enough for the xbox to catch up to ps4 cpu/gpu/ram power , their are many more stumbling blocks to overcome. Not to mention the ps4 can cloud compute as well, and I’m sure amazon would be more than happy to butt heads with Microsoft by allocating servers for sony (spelled which already owns gaikai). The way I see it Microsoft will be overloading their servers for a one game hail Mary (titanfall) much in the way they did the halo series. But can their servers or Respawn really step up to the plate… Why don’t you make a careful move and not buy until after launch to make sure. I think my mind is made up unless the planets align and someone catches that 109 yard last second Hail Mary.

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