Microsoft has endured quite a bit of heat over the last two months for the Xbox One and its once awful DRM policies — as well as its poor indie support, price, required Kinect, etc. — and sadly, all that negativity has overshadowed some of the neat things they’re trying to accomplish with the console. Unfortunately, much of the technical stuff is beyond the average consumer, and so far, Microsoft has done a less than stellar job of explaining it to us.
Leave it to Jon Shiring, an engineer at Respawn who’s currently hard at work making TitanFall to explain things in terms even a layman can understand.
Now that most of the bad is out of the way, I’m looking forward to focusing on all the positive aspects of the Xbox One. Now that there aren’t any petty restrictions placed on the games we purchase and a fast Internet connection is no longer a requirement to enter the Xbox One Club, let’s chat about that mysterious thing called Cloud Gaming.
Microsoft is pushing it hard. They’ve invested countless millions into hundreds of thousands of servers — including $700 million invested in an Iowa data center — but what does all that mean?
According to Shiring, only good things.
With dedicated servers handling all the work, every client can be a client. What this means is no more player hosting, so when a host leaves a game in the middle of a Halo fight, the game won’t need to pause to migrate to a new host. If the host’s Internet connection slows, it won’t negatively affect other players in the game. In rare cases where the host is hacking, that will no longer be an issue, because player hosts will be a thing of the past.
But that’s not all! Shiring adds,
“You can get even more CPU on your dedicated servers to do new things like dozens of AI and giant autopilot titans!
Suddenly you have no more host advantage!
Bandwidth for the servers is guaranteed from the hosting provider!
You can use all of the available CPU and memory on the player machines for awesome visuals and audio!
Matchmaking can be lightning fast since it’s guaranteed that everyone can connect to your servers.”
There’s a ton more that he dives into in his post, but for many of you, the above information is what’s most important.
It’s unfortunate that Microsoft had such a difficult time explaining this to the general gaming public. The restricting of used games sucks for almost everyone and the required Internet connection is bad news for a select few, and there’s still plenty to not be too enthusiastic about when it comes to the Xbox One (and even the PlayStation 4 and Wii U, for that matter), but Microsoft isn’t the devil. They’re looking toward the future, and they’re being ambitious. That’s a good thing. Right now, I’d say I’m pretty excited for both consoles.
Big thanks to wildgator25 for the tip!