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Xbox One: Cloud Will Quadruple the Power, Says Microsoft

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the silver-lining dept.

Cloud 400

New submitter geirlk writes "Toms Hardware reports that 'Group program manager of Xbox Incubation & Prototyping Jeff Henshaw recently told OXM that for every console Microsoft builds, it will provision the CPU and storage equivalent of three Xbox One consoles in the cloud. This allows developers to assume that there's roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game. Thus, developers can build bigger, persistent levels that are more inclusive for players.'"

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Does this actually work? (5, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43832799)

I know Nvidia has been experimenting with the idea and it has been mentioned here before many times.

I would not be surprised if MS teams up with them but from my impression it is not ready for prime time. Latency is bad and home ISPs suck. -eg my fiber FIOS is not capped at 200k a second! Need to pay $155 a month to unlock it back to where it was last year?!

With ISPs given a free ride to get rid of Net Neutrality they are deprioritize anything unless they double dip the consumers and site owners each way here in the US. Large textures with little latency being pipped back pre-rendered seems out of reach.

Re:Does this actually work? (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43833097)

Is MSFT gonna buy out all the ISPs? If not then who cares, the combination of shitty service and bandwidth caps will make this a non starter for a good 70%+ of the population if the states I've been to are any indication.

As Jim Sterling points out [escapistmagazine.com] MSFT is pretty much giving the finger to everybody that doesn't have 1.-A ton of money and 2.- Incredible broadband, but the very same people that are left already have better devices to do the same thing such as gaming PCs, smart TVs, its the same stupid as hell strategy they did when pricing the Surface and that worked out real well didn't it?

Looking at these next gens I can see two positives, 1.- It'll make guys like me that sell and build affordable gaming PCs a LOT of money and 2.- With any luck the crackers will break this thing and then when MSFT can't give the damned things away because nobody wants their DRM-paloza we can pick 'em up and crack them and make halfway decent HTPCs out of the things like we did the original Xbox One.

But as far as an upside for the consumer? Sorry, not seeing one. Hell anybody with a PC less than 5 years old can pick up an HD4850 for like $40 and be able to play pretty much any game out there, most with medium to high settings thanks to how long the consoles have held back the PC and by Xmas I expect to see the HD7750 if not the HD7770 for less than $65 and those on average are 40% faster than the 4850 while using half the power.

Lets face it PC gaming has never been cheaper, heck AMD quads have been going for just $50 online, and thanks to there being competition on both the hardware and the software the price is going down all the time. Now you can buy games from Steam,GOG,D2D,Origin,Desura, box games from Amazon, with so much competition you can have more games than you can ever play for practically nothing AND you get online MP for free AND there are literally thousands of FTP games to choose from...lets face it, all MSFT is doing is making going to the PC a better choice. YOU control the hardware, YOU control the software, YOU choose whom to buy what from, its just a better experience now that MSFT has taken all the positives away from the console.

Re:Does this actually work? (-1)

fcrick (465682) | about a year ago | (#43833171)

The PC is a great option, but PC developers want to protect their investments (which can be huge) more than console developers want to. At least with a console, it's a real pain to get it all set up so you can pirate games - on the PC, developers have a larger incentive to make their games online-only. If you only play FTP games anyway, you're already not buying an XBox...

who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832801)

hum?

Sorry kid (4, Insightful)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about a year ago | (#43832803)

There are currently too many people playing your new game, and the servers can't handle it, so... yeah...

Isn't this just leading up the same chaos that is any Ubisoft game launch?

Re:Sorry kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832853)

I think you are thinking about the new Sim CIty title, from EA. I believe that had some computation done in the "cloud".

Re:Sorry kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832883)

Not really no. EAs servers buckle on every major game launch. SimCity was not a unique instance of their shit failing horribly.

Re:Sorry kid (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832971)

The EA debacle with Sim City had everything to do with their activation and matchmaking servers being unable to handle the load. It was very poor planning on the part of EA.

The cloud computing that MS is talking about with the XBox One occurs once you are already in-game and is an offloading of certain resource computations which the local unit *can* do itself. But if there is a good internet connection available then the offload of certain tasks to 'cloud' computing will augment the game by freeing up local resources for other processes. There have been a few decent articles about where and when this cloud computing could be used and be useful, such as moving a player from location to location in a world and calculating dynamic positions for npc's or world economy, etc. Any immediate graphics related computing will still be local and not cause lag from waiting on the cloud.

Re:Sorry kid (2)

MellowBob (2933537) | about a year ago | (#43833167)

EA lied about the cloud processing. Either hacked to run offline or loosing your connection, Simcity still ran fine.

The bigger problems with Simcity, even more than the opening day server Charlie Foxtrot, are that they nerfed it compared to #4 to try to get a bigger audience and the half assed pathing agent which screwed everything up and the online saves.

  - Former Simcity fan

Re:Sorry kid (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about a year ago | (#43832891)

I'm interested in what happens when we assume the best of the cloud for a moment. You have a bunch of resources... and the majority of them are on the other side of a home network connection. What's your strategy here? Set up the game to run like a multiplayer client of the resources that are in the cloud? What constraints does that introduce on the user experience?

Re:Sorry kid (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year ago | (#43832981)

You don't even need a server crash for this to go tits-up. For the kind of cloud service they're talking about to work properly, you need a very, very high bandwidth and low-latency net connection and, assuming you want to play for more than a few hours a month, no monthly bandwidth limit.

My connection meets those criteria, but I'm willing to pay well above the average rate for my connection. The average connection is still some way short of it.

So in reality, any developer who takes advantage of that additional power is limiting the potential audience for their game to the people who can meet those connection requirements. The audience-limitation thing is why so few console optional peripherals go on to be more than a flash-in-the-pan. Developers want to be able to aim for the entire installed base of a platform, not a subset.

And the kind of games that would actually need this kind of additional resource are the kind that typically have development costs that mean that only sales numbers in the multiples of millions allow them to reach or go beyond the break-even point.

if they are not sending video data like on live (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43833157)

if they are not sending video data like on live then you likely will not need high bandwidth and eat cap fast. Also lag / ping times will not need to be very low.

The big lag issues with on live is the control lag.

FPS and RTS games are ok with good lag times and don't need super low ones.

Re:Sorry kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833061)

There are currently too many people playing your new game, and the servers can't handle it, so... yeah...

But how about some shopping, kid? The CPU power is currently used to analyze your buying and voting behaviors. If your vote for the right party, or buy from our affiliated stores, the game resources become available sooner. How about it, kid?

In Fairness (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about a year ago | (#43833131)

While I can't possibly see it as being legitimately profitable to Microsoft to provide 3x processing power in Azure for every X1 sold, I will at least say that Microsoft at least owns the datacenters and the software stacks for Azure as opposed to EA or Ubisoft. It's possible that MS will be better able to handle the processing and bandwidth for this reason.

Simcity all over again (4, Interesting)

Emetophobe (878584) | about a year ago | (#43832813)

So we can assume that Xbox One games will be always-online and have server side processing ala Simcity 5... because that worked out so well for EA.

World of Warcraft (3, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43832969)

I think it depends on the company doing it. World of Warcraft likely does server side processing. Simcity was just a botched attempt to do what mmo do.

Re:World of Warcraft (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833039)

Simcity is not an MMO. They tried to say it was, but it isn't.

Re:World of Warcraft (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43833053)

I think it depends on the company doing it. World of Warcraft likely does server side processing. Simcity was just a botched attempt to do what mmo do.

of course. but I would hate waiting in queue to play starcraft 3. waiting in queue for warcraft was pretty shitty too.

Re:Simcity all over again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833013)

Correct me if I'm wrong but most games are not even remotely inhibited by CPU usage. Mostly it is a issue of GPU which their cloud would not address. They seem to be trying to sell something designed from the ground up to combat piracy and used games. I haven't read one feature yet that is superior or doesn't make me think why the hell would I want that.
I think the main reason for the always on Xbox is so they can shove ads up our eyeballs, free2play everything with in game marketplaces, and just basically ruin video games. Enjoy the future kids and remember this as the end of an era.

Well, at least it's now confirmed. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832825)

It is an always connected device, unless they have come up with a way for the cloud thing to work without an internet connection.

Of course this also means that if you lose your internet connection, then you have 1/4 the processing power to run your game.

Re:Well, at least it's now confirmed. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832939)

No they are leaving it up to the developers to make that decision. Slashdotters are so fast on the negative side of things. This is a meaningless topic for games that are already online and for any that need the processing power then maybe you need the internet to play that good of a game.

Re:Well, at least it's now confirmed. (5, Funny)

WilyCoder (736280) | about a year ago | (#43832977)

Shut up Ballmer.

Re:Well, at least it's now confirmed. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43833023)

No they are leaving it up to the developers to make that decision. Slashdotters are so fast on the negative side of things. This is a meaningless topic for games that are already online and for any that need the processing power then maybe you need the internet to play that good of a game.

blahblahblahblahblah.
you do understand why they're touting this? because ps4 hardware is faster.

of course ps4 games could rent time from aws as well.

heck, any game could do this on any platform.

Re:Well, at least it's now confirmed. (2)

prelelat (201821) | about a year ago | (#43833187)

I don't know about that, the PS3 had better hardware than the 360 but it still didn't blow away the 360 in north american sales. I think if they were going to save face on something they would be better off to look at, at least changing the name.

I think the difference here with the cloud computing is that the developers can rely on Microsoft themselves to provide the cloud computing. This would be good for smaller developers. Where as larger developers are going to have their own solution anyways like you suggested.

Re:Well, at least it's now confirmed. (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#43833163)

Maybe if MIcrosoft wasn't doing such a shitty job of explaining the positive, the reaction wouldn't be so negative.

But they're not. They're saying "hey look, it's got cloud magic!" to an audience that has already dealt with the hype and subsequent failure of cloud magic for games.

It's their job to sell it to us, and they're failing miserably. The response is entirely predictable.

Re:Well, at least it's now confirmed. (3, Informative)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43833189)

It is an always connected device, unless they have come up with a way for the cloud thing to work without an internet connection.

Of course this also means that if you lose your internet connection, then you have 1/4 the processing power to run your game.

Not sure if your goal was trolling, or if you legitimately hadn't read up on it, but Microsoft stated clearly that, while games *could* require full-time Internet, the intent is for the cloud resources to be used for latency-insensitive augmentation of the game, so they'll work fine offline. But that's true of games already. Some require being online while playing, some work better while online (like Borderlands 2), and some don't care.

All this is saying is they're going to scale their regional Azure datacenters at 3x the rate of Xboxes being sold.

Facts aren't really the goal of Microsoft-related discussions on Slashdot, though.

provison ? (1)

issicus (2031176) | about a year ago | (#43832831)

I'm not too sure what they mean by this...

Re:provison ? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43833047)

I'm not too sure what they mean by this...

that they average the amount of players they think will be playing at any one time and use that to add servers to the microsoft cloud(that they have anyways and are selling parts off anyways, though people seem to prefer amazon & others more. you can even rent a linux server from them that resides in that cloud if you want to).

so me thinks it's more like 1/6th of a server per xbox one.

when they actually get it to work.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832835)

Talk is one thing, actually making it work (and actually be an improvement) is another thing.

Im still waiting for the jetpacks and hovercraft they promised us decades ago....

I call bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832837)

They might have 3 times the expected peak usage but NOT 3 times the power of every XboxS sold.

Re:I call bullshit (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#43832999)

Indeed. If it were 4 times the power of every Xbox sold, why not just pack all those extra processing units into each Xbox and skip the obvious latency problems?

Re:I call bullshit (2)

Jamu (852752) | about a year ago | (#43833129)

Because not everyone will be on their Xbox all the time, and Microsoft might also have spare server time available for peak Xbox hours.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#43833277)

My question was rhetorical.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43833149)

If it were 4 times the power of every Xbox sold, why not just pack all those extra processing units into each Xbox and skip the obvious latency problems?

1. Not all people will be playing at the same time, so you can reduce the hardware costs by only paying for half as much hardware (say).
2. If you put the extra processing in the Xbox, you couldn't force people to buy a new game by shutting down the servers for the old one.

Just about everything Microsoft has done since Windows 7 seems to be based around lockin in and monetization. This looks no different.

Wait...what the hell does that mean? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832839)

If this is the case, then that means the console does have to always be online.

Ugh, yeah sorry I guess I'm not the target market for the Xbox One, which is fine. I don't need to be. I have my PC and my Wii U.

Re:Wait...what the hell does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833133)

No, it doesn't have to be always online. You are just going to want it to be always online so that your game gets a decent frame rate and renders in "high" quality. You'll probably also get messages akin to "connect to the internet now to get a better experience and higher quality viewing". The intent will be to drive you to want it online.

Re:Wait...what the hell does that mean? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833185)

>I have my PC and my Wii U.

Wait, someone bought a Wii U?!

Server downtime (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832843)

Sounds amazing! I can't wait for all the articles about hammered servers on release and server maintenance.

Re:Server downtime (1)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#43833125)

...and wait for a leap year or February 29th - that will be fun.

Sounds great (5, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43832849)

I can't wait until MS decides that the servers running my favorite game aren't profitable anymore, so I am incapable of playing it anymore.

Re:Sounds great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833001)

So do you mean you don't trust MS?

Re:Sounds great (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43833025)

I can't wait until MS decides that the servers running my favorite game aren't profitable anymore, so I am incapable of playing it anymore.

With MS throwing the hat in on stuff that doesn't make them a profit, i figure a year at the most for most games.

Re:Sounds great (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year ago | (#43833145)

Actually it does. (or could) Just have a new sequel to the game and dump the old one as obsolete. Forcing one to buy the new game since the old one isn't there anymore.

Re:Sounds great (3, Insightful)

fcrick (465682) | about a year ago | (#43833091)

Ironically, this approach will likely produce the opposite effect. For example, you can't really play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at all anymore, multiplayer. Why? Because the only way to play is to run a peer-to-peer game with whoever else happens to be playing. Chances are, they are all far away, and their internet connection sucks, so the game just sucks as a result, and you have to buy the newest version to actually get good connectivity.

If you're building your game to leverage server resources, players just connect to a datacenter, and get matchmade with other players there, likely pairing players with similar latency. Even if there are relatively few people playing, you'll probably get a pretty good experience, as at least one end of the connection for all players is pretty solid.

It seems like the whole point of the system is to actually address this very problem. Game publishers don't need to invest so much in hardware, and server resources are made available to games on a need basis. If you're game has 50 players, it'll probably do just fine with a server running on a virtual machine somewhere along with 20 other games on the same hardware. Microsoft could still screw up on the total capacity side when they're hit with a big release, but smaller games will likely benefit.

Re:Sounds great (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43833177)

I'm not seeing how it addresses the problem. Online multiplayer sucks if nobody else is online, or the people online are all far away. Even if you use a central server, it doesn't really need to have that much processing power, and if only one player has decent latency, it's not going to make a good match.

However, there are a number of good games that are not online multiplayer or have core functionality that isn't online mulitplayer. Under this system, they will not be able to be played 10 years from now. I can still play my SNES games no problem.

Re:Sounds great (1)

fcrick (465682) | about a year ago | (#43833249)

I agree the 'processing power' part sounds a bit silly - I'll be waiting to see if that's anything other than like...streaming?

Most consumer internet connections don't compete with those at datacenters, in both speed and quality. Having one end of the connection at a datacenter makes a huge difference. I played shooters for years, and when you're playing on a server you get a consistent experience that is better than all but only the best of matchmade games going over p2p. The host can drop, their connectivity can get worse - your gameplay gets interrupted a lot by technical bullshit you just don't get on a well-run datacenter-based system.

It's possible they will mess it up, and not handle the geographical component of their strategy well. Like, if I'm playing in Australia, a peer-to-peer solution will work a lot better if there are no servers in Australia. I don't think they'll let that happen, but who knows.

SNES is not a good comparison, but it's possible your point about 10 years is valid - we'll just have to wait and see. In 10 years, you can likely buy the PC port of any 10-year old game for a few bucks.

Re:Sounds great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833201)

I can't wait until MS decides that the servers running my favorite game aren't profitable anymore, so I am incapable of playing it anymore.

Microsoft doesn't host game servers, dumbass.

Re:Sounds great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833233)

It could very possibly never happen since MS runs their own cloud computing platform, so they can just spin up instances on demand. It would not really cost them anything other than having say one shared instance dedicated to hosting the initial connection for hundreds of obsolete games.

MS has experience already with running Xbox Live and other significantly scaled server resources, they are unlikely (one would assume) to mess it up on the same scale as EA / Simcity. I think they will manage it successfully, but first two days of launch are always pretty dicey with major launches since it is very difficult to completely emulate actual production traffic on a system that scales to millions of simultaneous devices.

Re:Sounds great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833263)

Actually, to be fair to Microsoft, I see two issues with your statement:

1) From what I read this will be an optional thing for games already running. I foresee it being used, for example to be able to extend the viewing distance in open air games with cloud processing of things in the far distance. Effectively, giving a greater visual detail when the user is connected and has a high enough bandwidth. So it won't (or shouldn't) be a mandatory game requirement.

2) My impression was that the cloud architecture was going to be game-agnostic. That is, there would be general "cloud facilities". From TFA, 'the equivalent of three xbox consoles per physical console'. Thus it really won't matter what game you play. So long as the game is able to utilise the cloud, it will always be able(*).

* Well, there is the issue with this 'always on' crap that some time in the future, say twenty years from now, XBox One may be so old that Microsoft turns off the cloud services and/or authentication. And all the consoles out there will stop working. Don't laugh.. there are those of us that still have Atari 2600's, or Apple//e's in working order, and I don't have confidence in Microsoft to keep such authentication systems running indefinitely.

DreamMaster.

Invasive (5, Insightful)

ischorr (657205) | about a year ago | (#43832851)

I read that as "more invasive for players". Which is probably true.

Cool, it'd be extremely difficult to use computing power offsite to do real-time calculations in parallel with local calculations. But it sure would be handy for crushing the used game market if we could lie say that we needed handle things server-side so you have to be online to play the game.

Also it would be cool to mine everything you do since it'd be easy to market. People will agree to all sorts of seemingly minor invasions of privacy for trivial gains, like free stuff, or especially if it was required to play the game. ...What am I saying. That would never happen.

In other words... (3, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year ago | (#43832855)

Always on. And what happens when you have a shit internet connection?

Re:In other words... (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43832865)

Or if you are in a commonwealth country like New Zealand, Canada, or Australia and have ISPs with 2 gig limits each month?

I image lots of hi res images being downloaded over and over again can fill that cap fairly quickly

Re:In other words... (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43833033)

I'm not sure if you're kidding with the 2GB monthly cap, we're talking about cable and DSL connections here, not phones.

I do know that my monthly cap is around 30GB though, so Xbox one is not a valid option when they announce bullshit like this. My quota is already allocated to Netflix in low-quality mode. That tells you a lot about ISPs in Canada when Netflix has to add a third, lower-quality setting just for us.

Re:In other words... (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43833043)

Nope they have 2 gig caps. I used to play with them in WOW and they would have to stop raiding for a few weeks until the cap reset on their cable.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833289)

I'm in Canada. Occasionally I get Bell sending me ads for all-in-one bundles with Internet (usually DSL, because Bell), and if you read the fine print, you get a 2GB monthly cap. I think 25GB is more common, but 2GB does exist.

Re:In other words... (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about a year ago | (#43833057)

What Commonwealth ISP are you using that gives you 2gb per month, and why are you still with them? Did you get suckered into Bell using their cell service for "home internet" in BC?

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833079)

Any rural internet service will have extremely low caps.

AC

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833267)

It's not quite that bad, although for 1Tb it is pretty expensive, and no true "unlimited" exists.

http://www.iinet.net.au/internet/broadband/adsl/

Re:In other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832929)

Always on. And what happens when you have a shit internet connection?

I guess if you have a shit internet connection you shouldn't buy and play online games? Microsoft has already confirmed that any always-on requirements on the XO will be the choice of individual games, not a general requirement from XO for all games. They have said you can play games on XO offline too. Which is consistent with this story as well. If the some games use this extra cloud functionality/power, then they are online games and (duh) require online connection to play.

Re:In other words... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year ago | (#43833203)

That's all well and good if they're up front about it, but I strongly doubt they're advertising the console at point of sale as needing a broadband internet connection (along with required speeds) to play the vast majority of titles available.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833257)

That's all well and good if they're up front about it, but I strongly doubt they're advertising the console at point of sale as needing a broadband internet connection (along with required speeds) to play the vast majority of titles available.

I would expect them to be upfront at POS about XO needing internet connection, because it do (this is different than not allowing offline game playing when not connected), and so much of its functionality revolves around online services. Retailers really don't want returns and hassle, but lets see :) As for needed for "the vast majority of titles available", we don't really know that yet, but then again, the vast majority of PC games I care about also requires a PC with a good always-on internet connection..

Re:In other words... (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#43833255)

I know I'm probably going to get burned hard for this, but I had a good laugh and thought I would share.

When you write " XO" as short hand for Xbox One, my first thought was it looks like the emoticon "XD" for Rolling on the Floor Laughing. Then I thought "that's what MS must be doing thinking of how dumb the people that are going to buy into this are and how much money their going to take home because of it."

After that bit of a laugh I though actually it looks more like a emoticon for someone with their eyes closed tight and their mouth open in a lot of pain, like someone getting screwed in the fudge factory with a very large stick.

I guess we really underestimated the amount of thought MS must have put the name Xbox One. The short hand for it works on so many levels. XO

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833141)

Microsoft will pull a Google and provides free fiber to your house.

Marketing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832859)

They promise the cloud
But their promises are vapour

Derpy PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832861)

Microsoft HQ: Guys, seriously. Even though we lied through our teeth when we denied that always-on was a requirement... Hey Johnson, great spin by the way: No requirement... but you'll need to connect to the servers every 24 hours!.. Brilliant. Anyway, so even though we lied through our teeth about that, we have to give the illusion that being online actually adds to our customer's game experiences. We all know we don't, but hey: Get working on that. Johnson, you got anything this time around?
Johnson: Derp derp derp

Re:Derpy PR (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#43832873)

Xbone customer: duuuu herrr derp derp halo

Re:Derpy PR (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year ago | (#43832967)

Actually a good buddy of mine is one of the more derpy folks you could run into, plays nothing but assasins creed 3, madden, fifa, nhl games etc.

He won't be getting one of these new consoles because of the internet connection.

Shit, he doesn't have a landline or cable TV and the only reason he has an internet connection at all is basically netflix and downloading movies. If the XBox was a bit more open so you could use it as a general purpose entertainment center and print the odd PDF or something, connect, say, USB external drives to it etc, he'd probably never own anything else. Unfortunately its severely crippled when it could be a lot more.

This is in fact his new thing, when he needs something new. is that he's having me build him an HTPC that can run games etc and be upgraded as necessary. I'll hook an xbox controller up to it and he can play all the sports games he wants just as good as if it was an xbox anyways.

I think the major problem with consoles right now is that the companies making them are dealing with increasingly tech-savvy customers, even the derpy ones can handle an HTPC, and EVERYONE has that one techie friend they can just ask a few quick questions to now and then. The companies are stuck in the late 80s/early 90s mode of development though, where they're constantly trying to break things down into smaller chunks, make them simpler(which is still a good thing, within reason), and maybe then tack on restricted/broken added functionality.

When someone is looking at their phone and going "Well shit, I'm already paying the bill for this, it plays games which keep me entertained enough, and it does email/netflix/online banking/etc/etc" what the fuck are they going to buy your restricted-to-the-point-of-being-broken console for?

I think MS really missed the boat with Windows 8, they shouldn't have been targeting the tablet/phone market with it, they should have targeted the living room.

Terminals: Wave of the Future (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832885)

So by "Power" they mean "Dependence on Mother Microsoft"

NOPE

Re:Terminals: Wave of the Future (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43832957)

Yes. By power, they mean theirs, not yours.

Re:Terminals: Wave of the Future (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#43833051)

Please mode parent AC up. Welcome to the Dumb Terminal 3.0 era (1.0 terminals, 2.0 = Network computers)

they don’t necessarily have to be updated ev (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832887)

the part i found interesting was:

"Those things often involve some complicated up-front calculations when you enter that world, but they don’t necessarily have to be updated every frame."

so i suppose technically, instead of your xbox pre-calculating a lot of this stuff, its offloaded. it could be done intelligently too - so increase the quality and if your offline and your xbox needs to do the calculations - then they're done at a lower priority with less precision?

the fact that its calculations which dont need updated each frame means latency shouldnt be as much of an issue. we aint streaming live game feeds here...

Re:they don’t necessarily have to be updated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832989)

This, mod parent to infinity please.
I hate Xbox, Microsoft and everything about them as a company, but this idea isn't half bad if it is done right.

I remember reading them saying that if connectivity died, then new resources wouldn't be calculated from it.
And it would just be background stuff, like you mentioned, stuff that could look brilliant with the resources, or look pretty plain without.
It would be like installing/uninstalling an HD mod in realtime, pretty much, but only HD textures for, say, cloth textures, or whatever.

If they could integrate this in a way that wasn't that bad, and gave developers the right tools to be able to take advantage of this to the best that they possibly could do, without making it look awful, it could actually be brilliant.
We aren't speaking realtime raytracing here, but any extra number crunching could be put to good use, even if it is delayed by 500ms at worst times.

I'd say I was surprised, but since Microsoft are betting everything on the always online future, it was pretty natural to put effort in to something like this.
I almost wonder if Sony has anything like this planned considering they have that game streaming service they bought.
But considering they shoved 8gigs of GDDR5 memory in there, likely not. Who knows what they have planned with that craziness.

Re:they don’t necessarily have to be updated (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | about a year ago | (#43833075)

It would be like installing/uninstalling an HD mod in realtime, pretty much, but only HD textures for, say, cloth textures, or whatever.

If the textures are too big to fit on a bluray disc then they are too big to transfer across the internet for every play on any North American internet connection.

Re:they don’t necessarily have to be updated (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#43833139)

Why wouldn't they do that locally on one of the many CPUs that aren't required to show the game? Just what calculations are going to be so crazy intensive and yet have a dataset small enough where it's going to be faster to transmit it, calculate it there, send the results back, and load them?

There's almost no games that actually use four cores in a current PC, so what are they planning on doing that's going to require the equivalent of triple that while not generating (or requiring as input) a gigantic data set?

Simcity all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832897)

So does that mean that if i have an internet connection i can experience WAY more of a level, then if i dont and play it offline

No, this doesn't work.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832903)

At least not without an insanely high cost. With the way things are done, everything that needs to be processed is done locally already and that's the heavy lifting. Non-time-sensitive stuff could be put out there, but you wouldn't need 3x the local horsepower to do it. Miner Wars 2081 tried to offload computing (citing it was for performance reasons) to their own server which turned out only result in major performance problems across the board. Essentially, they re-wrote the game to permit solo/offline play which improved performance.

You can never rely on network resources to be there 100% of the time in a home environment. I really doubt that developers would put in that much extra in development, only to have their game hit hard on Metacritic due to stability problems out of their control.

Won't matter ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832909)

The need to constantly phone home is going to kill this console.

Fuck you Microsoft, you're about to release another huge flop because you have no idea of how consumers use things.

There's nothing in this for us, just you. I'll stick with off-line, single player games and buy a spare XBox 360 -- the XBox One is dead to me. If it can't operate while being disconnected from the internet pretty much throughout its life, I will not be buying it.

Games relying on this extra computing in the cloud are, I predict, going to suck massive donkey balls due to lag and Microsoft's inability to do this right. It will just create a useless platform which pisses people off.

In 15yrs it will be a memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832919)

This further confirms my suspicion that within 15 years few if any games on this system will remain playable.

With each step in this direction we slide from planned to forced obsolescence

If there are any games worth remembering on this system, you better hope they were profitable enough to remaster down the road.

Re:In 15yrs it will be a memory (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43833055)

Within 15 years? Aren't you optimistic!

Re:In 15yrs it will be a memory (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43833137)

I fear if they're going to start off assuming all of this extra power in the cloud, they might be unplayable within the first 15 days.

This just screams as something which is going to experience major problems on day 1, and will leave loads of people without a usable system.

I have no interest in having my games handled in the cloud, and I definitely won't be getting an XBox which wants access the network as it sees fit -- I tried that once, got ads in games for my trouble, and subsequently disconnected it from the network.

This whole console sounds like a non-starter to me and anybody else who doesn't want what Microsoft is envisioning. It's either capable of being a stand-alone box which isn't networked, or it isn't getting bought. And from the sounds of it, it's the latter.

But if Microsoft thinks I want their product to be my entertainment hub of the future, they're grossly mistaken.

Quadruple the pictures of people jerking off (4, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about a year ago | (#43832923)

Cloud: Buzzword, meh.
+
Phone-home requirement: Disturbing.
+
Camera and mic that can't be disabled at all: Frightening.
=
I can't tell if this is 1984's telescreen or Max Headroom's rebus tape feed.

Either way I'm not letting one in my house.

Always Turned On. (-1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43832983)

"Xbox On"
...
...

"Xbo--"

Take a number honey, I can't suck off two users at once. I'm being the Cloud.

"Xbox Off!"
...

"Man, I've got to get me a P--"

Shluuurpa Sslurpa Shluurpa

"XBOX! Those are MY ELECTRONS you're using on that other player!"

Read the EULA. You can kiss my ass or kiss your XBL goodbye.

"I. hate. you. so. much. ... STOP STARING AT ME!"

I Can't !!1111111one1!

Re:Always Turned On. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833011)

I'm certainly glad you decided to enrich all of us with that random drivel ...

Cloud it's useful if u stream the WHOLE game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833003)

... otherwise it's only a bottleneck.

It's already hard to parallelize computing on multicore CPUs, I find really stupid to do it on a remote server, except when you need it to create multiplayer games.

Sim City has shown how easy is to fail, and it's considered now the worst sim city iteration ever made...

Diablo 3 did it somehow better, but suffered a terrible launch anyway and it's almost dead after one year, while his predecessor was still popular after 10 years...

XBox one seems to have enough CPU power and memory to run a complex game, maybe it will be weaker than a modern PC or a PS4 as GPU, but doing only GPU work on a remote server will provide more latency than run the entire game on the server backend and use a system like onlive on the client side, a system that will be probably available straight on your TV, without the need of a console....

It makes no sense to me. (2)

goruka (1721094) | about a year ago | (#43833029)

The most CPU intensive tasks in videogames are usually Rendering, Physics and AI. They work either in realtime or precomputed to some degree.
There is rarely a situation where you want to offload computation to something that takes a while (network latency), save for maybe pathfinding or geometry regeneration but is this more like a special case and has limited uses.
Can anyone really think of a general case optimization where this can be useful for most games?

Re:It makes no sense to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833113)

It's not a "gaming console". It is One. Is is everything.

Re:It makes no sense to me. (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43833253)

Theoretically, there might be some usage of AI operating on an enormous map, and those outside of a certain radius could be computed with latency not being a major concern. Take Skyrim, for example. If you are in Solitude, and guards are taking down a thief in Riften or a dragon is attacking near Windhelm, then that can be handled offline fine, although I doubt anybody would care and it would likely cause a ton of glitches.

Re:It makes no sense to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833279)

With the awesome power of the cloud they'll be able to make cities in the Sim City 5 port four time larger, reaching the so far unimaginable size of two city blocks wide!

We'll here Ballmer's swan song (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43833037)

When Xbox Tethered bombs.

Upgrade Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833071)

We're sorry, but your cloud resources have been decomissioned. If you'd like to enjoy the xbox experience, please upgrade to the XBox 2. All your existing games/hardware make for good paperweights in the meantime.

Questions (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#43833083)

I read this same kind of analysis for the PS4. Does shifting more to the server side improve/decrease performance? Depends on your internet connection and network? An article I looked at emphasized the speed of the GDDR5 RAM Sony had used, how this indicated a shift towards network gaming. Is this part of the strategy of moving to a constant internet connection?

Cloud Really? (5, Interesting)

MellowBob (2933537) | about a year ago | (#43833085)

EA claimed that Simcity needed extra processing power to run. A guy hacked his game and it worked fine offline.

WTF would a company use a expensive server for 3x the processing power of a middle level PC just for a $60-80 game?

- Former Simcity fan and soon to be former Halo fanboy.

Bullshit (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#43833105)

This won't work for any calculations in game that are latency sensitive. Someone push a button and the game needs to react? Cloud magic won't help, you need to deal with it locally.

It won't work for anything that's data-intensive, because they can't expect to send significant data back and forth reliably while people are already trying to play multiplayer on a lousy connection.

Since those are the two main things where a console with this level of local power might need help... what the hell are they supposed to be using all these servers for? Sounds like another Simcity debacle in the making.

Reason number 59 why I wont buy xbox one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833115)

I don't want a game to be dependant on cloud to make it run better. What happens in a few years when it isn't profitable and they stop supporting it? Will the game even run without cloud helping the game run better?

Will I need 24/7 internet connection to play said games that require it?

How much of my bandwidth will it eat up?

What happens if their servers are down, overloaded or performing poorly?

Will all games on xbox one require this? Or is it only for those who wish to use it?

I miss when gaming consoles were simple. Ive always loved my pc but the ability to just buy a console and have it simply "just play games" was great. I miss consoles when each new one was simply more powerful but still offered that great ease of gaming without trying to make it fancy and high-tech with a bunch of shit it didn't need.

All shoved through an itty-bitty pipe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833155)

Uh, yeah. Wonderful. But it's going to suck if you're at the other end of a poor network connection (bandwidth or reliability), or if everyone tries to use the same resource at the same time (e.g., major new game release).

Lol again (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43833173)

Again major backlash against always-on. But I mean this is coming from the same people that probably spend 8 hours playing Call of Duty or Gears of Wars with all their buddies on the weekend. Guess what, your box is always one then too. Watch Netflix, its always on, browser Xbox Live features, its always on.

I mean, in what reality are people actually using a PC or game console that is not connected to a network?

Also while turfing used games sales is bad, I would rather have $30 games than $60 games. I mean you are only getting a $10 - $20 discount buying used from a store, I'd rather games just come down $10 - $20 in price FOR EVERYONE. And yes it sucks I can't just lend a game to a friend to try out but I've reached a stage in my life where both me and my friends can afford to drop money on a game without worrying about affording food or rent. If that is an issue for you, perhaps you need to reprioritize your spending and NOT buy a game console.

The internet is becoming a place for people to bitch about non-issues, even on Slashdot people can't get their outrage organized into one cohesive issue, its just "blah blah blah, always on, Microsoft, hate, DRM! hidden agendas, have no clue how it actually affects me, down with Microsoft, thats why I run Linux"

They think it's 2030 already. (2)

shigutso (2932389) | about a year ago | (#43833205)

Sony and MS thinks everybody lives in a world where the connection is great, never drops and has awesome upload speeds. I live in Brazil and have fiber with 15mbps of Download and 1mbps of Upload. And I'm one of the few that have access to fiber. Most are still using ADSL, ISDN or Cable. Well, let's see what happens when two consoles with the same hardware launches in the same period.

Re:They think it's 2030 already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43833275)

Really hard to follow but ADSL is actually 24 Mbps. I have VDSL with 50/10 (down/up) Mbps. Fiber would be 100/1000 Mbps.

and the PS4 will have faster system ram and better (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43833239)

and the PS4 will have faster system ram and better? cpu?

the PS4 will have sheared ram at video ram speeds. Xbox shared ram at only DDR3.

What do they mean with it? (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a year ago | (#43833287)

Can anybody explain to me what do they mean with "pre-compute" or not updating every frame? And how they would achieve that? Or rather, a case where they could use it?

The fog example is kind of okay, because you *don't* need to update the fog every frame (frame of what? Logic Frame? Render Frame? Network Frame?). But the pre-computing a scene makes no sense at all because by then you might aswell just pre-compute once and slap it on every media. Unless I'm missing something and that's not what they meant at all for pre-compute?

TL;DR: can anybody explain it to me as if I was 5 years old?

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