Inside: Microsoft’s Xbox One Compute Plan

Microsoft’s Xbox One Compute Plan(Ping! Zine Issue 65) – With Xbox One, Microsoft has built its next gen console with an emphasis on cloud computing.
It’s hardly a surprising move considering the direction the tech market is headed in. Cloud will give gamers the ability to access saved content, stream online media and much more without the hassle of having to save content on the console’s hardware itself.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Microsoft’s cloud emphasis is also forcing game developers to change the way they’re creating their content. In other words, it’s giving them the ability to integrate their games within Microsoft’s cloud platform, otherwise known as Azure.

When Xbox One launches in November, Microsoft will utilize a high number of servers via its datacenters to provide computing workloads to make operating the system possible.

Microsoft’s cloud plans for Xbox One are all covered by something the company calls “Xbox Live Compute.”

“When we were planning the next generation of Xbox Live, we spent a lot of time talking with game creators about ways to make games better. We realized that there was an incredible opportunity to bring together the resources and global scale of Windows Azure, with the game services of Xbox Live to build a cloud computing platform that was uniquely focused on gaming and game creators. Our intent was to enable developers to take advantage of server resources in their games without having to deal with the challenges that come with building, managing and running servers at scale,” explained Xbox Live Lead Program Manager John Bruno via a recent post appearing on Xbox Wire.

In fact, to help game developers utilize Xbox One’s cloud capabilities, Microsoft has also announced that it’s providing Xbox One developers with free dedicated server hosting – an offering the company has emphasized will help them “more easily transition to building games on Xbox One for the cloud.”

So now that we’ve covered how Microsoft is helping developers, exactly what features will Xbox One’s cloud place an emphasis on?

As we all know by now, as the internet has risen in popularity, so have multiplayer games. Xbox Live Compute is expected to deliver on improved multiplayer experiences. Basing its design on server-based multiplayer gaming, Xbox One is taking an exit from P2P and cutting down on things like host migration interruptions, home network NAT constraints and other not so pleasant issues.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is promising “higher fidelity game experiences” via its server infrastructure and more interestingly, the ability for the game to update itself on a constant basis – something that’s happen in the past, but with Xbox One, it’ll be a lot more common.

“Imagine the game you play every day improving each time you log in. Imagine joining a match in your favorite first person shooter to find new maps and game modes even though you never downloaded a game update. Imagine playing with your friend even when he/she is not online. When games are powered by Xbox Live Compute, they can be dynamically updated, tuned, changed, and improved continuously. Games will evolve and live on for greater periods of time, continually providing fresh content and new experiences,” explained Bruno via Xbox Wire.

Lastly, Microsoft is pushing hard to ensure that server resources are geographically available for gamers when they want to play. This is done with on-demand computing that will allow Xbox One users to avoid busy or unavailable server connections. In summary, it means that as demand increases for a game in one region, Microsoft’s infrastructure will flex its muscle to support an onslaught of gamers trying to access the title online.

With cloud in place, the tech giant is hoping anticipated Xbox One titles like Forza Motorsports 5, Titanfall and others truly shine for a gaming world increasingly keen on cloud integration.

Microsoft’s Xbox One console will launch on November 22nd starting at $499 USD.