I guess that I would be considered the resident Microsoft fanboy (not a fanboy) so who better to speak on this. Since E3 2013 Microsoft has been talking a lot about cloud processing and their 300,000+ servers. Now most people thought and still think this is BS. I think this is because there are a lot of people who don’t really understand what this means and it hasn’t really been explained in great detail.
At a very basic level, an example of how the cloud concept works is below:
Calculations and AI is moved to the cloud and this opens up resources on the actual machine
One of the first examples of the cloud at work are the drivatars in Forza 5. The AI in this game is the player. The game learns your playing style and sends this out to the cloud to play against other people. It continues to learn your style as it changes over time. People have a love hate relationship with this feature but you can’t deny that this is a great advancement in gaming. This is like the new age ghost of racing games or the development of Skynet.
Now let’s talk about Titanfall. This online only shooter from the guys over at Respawn really shows you what the cloud is capable of. This game puts teams of 6 against each other in fps combat. Now this doesn’t sound like much at first, but then you have to add in the AI soldiers and Titans. Now battlefield has a player count in the 60s but these are all human players. The world of Titanfall lives in the cloud. This includes, grunts, specters, auto titans, and creatures ( slight spoiler but not really ).
In a recent interview with Engadget, Jon Shiring of Respawn stated that this game would not have been possible without Microsoft’s cloud. The way that they use AI players takes a lot of computing power. Microsoft’s servers are also helping with dedicated servers. This is critical with a game like Titanfall. Being online only, they have to make sure that the gamers can always connect. You can read more about that here.
Now do I think that this whole cloud thing is BS? Not at all. I think that it is going to take time to see the full potential of this cloud concept but we are seeing a glimpse now. Time will only tell if this will help the Xbox One when it comes to power potential. I am excited to see what happens.