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.
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.
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.
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.