Cloud Capabilities: Xbox One

Cloud Capabilities: Xbox One

Cloud capabilities:  Xbox One


Azure cloud service will be available at Xbox One’s launch. Microsoft says that their new gaming console can offload some computations to the cloud in order to increase local power of the console. Xbox One games could be streamed live and shared via the cloud. Similar to its rival Sony, Microsoft also promises to integrate faster online multiplayer experience.


Regarding cloud capabilities, Xbox One has a clear advantage over PS4 due to the fact that Microsoft has been running the Azure cloud since 2010 for its enterprise users and already has Halo 4 multiplayer running on its cloud. At the moment, more than 300,000 virtual servers around the world are ready to support the Xbox One. On the other hand, Sony is still integrating Gaikai, and it will launch its cloud service several months after the release of the PS4 this week in the US on November 15th, 2013.


Challenges of cloud gaming

Will Microsoft’s cloud advantage over Sony be really so important to win the next gaming console war? The two biggest challenges of cloud usage are latency and bandwidth. Latency affects how immediate the request of the cloud could be because the internet is slow in terms of real-time computing. So, only game elements that not need to be updated every frame could be utilized by the cloud. Significant bottleneck is also bandwidth: average broadband speeds can’t be compared to the internal bandwidth of a modern gaming console. Cloud is not suitable for real-time jobs, but it could be used for large datasets that are non-time critical due to virtually limitless storage of the cloud. Ambient AI background tasks and some forms of lighting are also candidates for processing on the cloud. Cloud computing is a relatively new concept in gaming, and we hope that main players fulfill promises and introduce us to new ideas and practical demonstrations on how the cloud can advance the overall gaming experience.

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By Darko Androcec

About Darko Androcec

Darko is a research and teaching assistant and a PhD candidate at the University of Zagreb. Before joining faculty, he was a computer security incident handler and a Java developer of banking information systems. 

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One Response to Cloud Capabilities: Xbox One

  1. Hello Darko, 
    I’m also interested in online gaming.
    MS’s approach is interesting for providing dedicated servers to multiplayer games. This is really the main benefit of their cloud.
    But it comes with some drawbacks:
    – major multiplayer games do have dedicated servers (and they’ll still be needed for other platforms). It’ll benefit more for small studios who cannot manage their own cloud. It will be a strong differentiator for launching small funny multiplayer games.
    – players located close to the servers will still have some advantage over the other players (unless MS plan to setup servers in every country, and then every region, etc.),
    – it’ll benefit for games based on a server-clients protocol (exit games based on some p2p protocols like my favorite FIFA).
    Also, I think that Sony’s approach consisting in partnerships with local internet providers to optimize the latency should be observed very closely. It’ll aso improve the online gaming experience.
    Finaly, the best way to decide who’s offering the best online gaming experience is to test both. We have plenty of time to do it when the 2 new consoles are out :)

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