A Question of Ownership: Was Microsoft too Ahead of its Time?

Netflix, iTunes, LoveFilm and Steam; all of these services have become hugely successful in the last decade and they all have something in common – they are all products of the digital age. Physical, disc based media has become increasingly unprofitable in recent years due to this revolution, with many high street experts citing the downfall of retail chains being a direct result of the rising popularity of digital media.

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TomShoe1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

Yes, mainly because internet service isn't where it should be to be able to support MS's DRM, and because the Idea of being able to cloud compute so much is deeply flawed.

The DDR3 of the Xbox One is rated at around 68,000MB/s, and even that wasn't enough for the console and had to be augmented with the ESRAM. The PS4 memory system allocates around 20,000MB/s for the CPU of its total 176,000MB/s. The cloud can provide one twenty-thousandth of the data to the CPU that the PS4's system memory can.

You may have an internet connection that's much better than 8mbps of course, but even superfast fibre-optic broadband at 50mbps equates to an anaemic 6MB/s. This represents a significant bottleneck to what can be processed on the cloud, and that's before upload speed is even considered. Upload speed is a small fraction of download speed, and this will greatly reduce how much information a job can send to the cloud to process.

Tony-A1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

The truth is, you can't really tell if they were too ahead of the times yet because we... haven't seen the future yet.

In today's world, we see the Dreamcast as being ahead of its time because of all the innovative features it had in the box (namely online capabilities). However, at the time of its launch, it was just an unnecessary feature.

There have been plenty examples of both sides of the spectrum. We see something that looks to be "ahead of its time" but turns out to just be a compensation for what we projected to be important in a time we haven't seen yet - if that makes any sense.

It could very well be ahead of its time, but we won't know until we get there and - if it's not a common feature by that time - well, then we'll know our answer.

Donnieboi1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

In what dystopian world is it the "future" for us to willingly give up our ownership rights? Just because MS called it the future, people eat that up like it was a fact. Before MS lied to you all, nobody was imagining such an evil future. I'm just fine with discs--from now until i'm an old man. MS can take it's falacy of a "future" and go sell it to the mindless drones who believe whatever lie they are told. I'll be going with whoever supports a medium (whether it be discs, media cards, etc). I will never accept the idea of ONLY digital. There's no evidence to suggest that one exists at the expense of the other.

1878d ago
minimur121878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

Yeah, but Sony was even more ahead with PSP GO lol, man what a wreck that thing was, it was an awesome concept but like I said, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too ahead of time.

Tony-A1878d ago


Excellent point right there. Since 2007, countless journalists and analysts were predicting digital distribution to completely overtake physical media preference by the end of this generation (a bunch of which even said this would happen by 2010) and yet, when a system meant for that only launched, it did poorly. Even here in 2013, physical media isn't going anywhere.

Honestly, I can't see this whole "cloud power" mumbo-jumbo becoming an attractive feature for a VERY long time. Plenty of companies have cloud features for their services and yet people don't even care...

1877d ago
Mounce1877d ago

I didn't know Inferior technology to both PS4 and PC could ever be considered 'TOO AHEAD OF ITS TIME'


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kwyjibo1878d ago

You're comparing internal system memory bandwidth to cloud network bandwidth.

They're not comparable. You may as well compare the system memory to the postal service.

You can do processing in the cloud. The cloud's machines may actually have even higher performant memory, and access to more of it.

If you want to compare your internet bandwidth, compare it with the video output, and the controller input.

Try OnLive right now. You'll find that it works really well for stuff like Civ 5, but for action games - there's too much latency between your input and the response.

McScroggz1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

"You're comparing internal system memory bandwidth to cloud network bandwidth.

They're not comparable. You may as well compare the system memory to the postal service."

Maybe you know something I don't, but they would be doing the exact same thing - computations. To me its like saying performing computations on a calculator and doing it with longform math, which is appropriate considering the difference in efficiency, aren't the same thing when they clearly are.

There's no debating how little information can be rendered in the cloud versus locally; however, there may be some non-intensive actions that don't need to be rendered real-time. But, at the same time, couldn't these actions simply be computed and rendered locally on the more powerful PS4 thus making the "computational power of the cloud" pretty much redundant?

kwyjibo1878d ago

@McScroggz - Yes, both the cloud and the local console are performing computations.

But the OP was comparing the bandwidth between system components and the network layer.

The OP is not comparing computational power. Onlive delivers 720p gaming with 6mbps of network bandwidth. The computation happens in the cloud - the network is only for the video and the input.

n4rc1878d ago

The problem I see is people consistanty think cloud computing is some massively bandwidth intensive process.. It isnt.

Simply put.. Say I want to divide something crazy like..

28475967395 ÷ 3857392

Now crunching those numbers takes power. But sending the problem and receiving the answer are simple and basic..

That's what the cloud does.. Its not streaming a 2gb video.. Its doing the math its sent and sending back results for non-latency intensive purposes.. Freeing the console to perform said latency intensive tasks

That's how I see it

rainslacker1878d ago


That's a pretty good example of how it would work. Although, on a side note in programming you rarely divide. Multiplying is much faster.

Anyhow, in more technical terms, you are sending the variable data, and possibly the process to the cloud(although this could be on the cloud already). The cloud will compute that process and send the result back to the client(console hardware). The console hardware will then put that result to some use, whether it be physics, AI, or some fancy graphic effect.

However, this is the big caveat. This kind of stuff is done anywhere between 30-120 times per second in a game, and almost invariably the result needs to be available when it's needed. Any latency can cause the game loop to stall, or worse crash if proper exception handling isn't implemented.

Furthermore, many actions within a game are event based. This means that a particular process will not run until an event triggers it. This prevents a lot of code from having to reside within the normal game loop. Typically when an event happens, the results need to be faster than the time it would take to send the variable and problems to the cloud and get an answer.

Now, it's not to say that much of what you speak of can't be implemented on things that aren't dependent on results being available immediately. There are quite a few things that could fall into that category. however they tend to be less processor intensive. Because of this, MS claim of 3x the power is subjective to scrutiny. At most it can free up processing power locally to perform more intense, latency sensitive calculations...but nowhere near enough to notice 3x the power, even if that 3x is only perceptual and not actual.

n4rc1877d ago

Rain slacker..

I actually planned on doing the math and multiplication would be a really large number to write.. Lol..

I over simplify it.. Mostly because I'm not a programmer.. But I don't see bandwidth as an issue like some believe it will be..

However.. The 3x more powerful is true but a marketing trick at the same time.. Its based on the asteroid tech demo IMO

When the cloud is plugged in.. It can generate 3x more objects.. But will a real world application benefit 3 fold? Nah..

It will help I believe.. But there is only so much the cloud can pull off in any one game.. Most things are latency dependant

But it will help and make a difference imo

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badz1491878d ago

ahead of its time? more like full of themselves!

1878d ago
andrewsqual1877d ago

No because since when is being able to download a retail game the same day it is released digitally too. A game that is over 15gbs too.
If PS3 was doing this for years what do you think Sony are going to do with PS4? That console connects to the internet too just like the PS3 did, it just didn't have pointless restrictions on the way they did it.
The buzz seems to be with most people that because Microsoft were planning such horrible policies that their console is going to have some sort of edge when it comes to ANYTHING internet connected related to the console because the ambition was so "futuristic"
I guess charging extra fees to use an internet browser, Netflix and Youtube can be called "futuristic" too as nobody else in their right mind would do that either lol.

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Insomnia_841878d ago

They could have gone all digital if they wanted but they decided to go with an extremely greedy way to do it. The limits of going digital or always online they already knew, it was peoples walletsn talking what made them change their greedy ways.

cyguration1878d ago

This is it, exactly.

Microsoft went about it in a greedy douche bag way and they got treated like greedy douche bags.

If they wanted to be like Steam how about they first fix GFWL? I mean, WTF?! Why would I trust Microsoft to handle a locked down DRM system when they can't fix their own DRM system currently ruining games and services on PC?

Worse yet is that they had an opportunity to build an audience with their Games on Demand services but they were (before recently) neither good on Xbox 360 or PC. So if they weren't consumer friendly in an open market why would they be consumer friendly in a closed market system?

There was nothing about Microsoft's policies that were either consumer friendly or future affable. It was basically... "We're gonna control everything you do and everything you pay for and you won't own one lick of it and we can lock you out whenever we want. Pay us money and #DealWithIt."

rainslacker1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

MS could have avoided a lot of hate if they had simply made their digital title sales more appealing than the physical sales. Keep physical the same, which would be OK by most people, but then give all the extra benefits they touted to the digital purchases. They could have ushered in a digital era on their console, and people would have been singing how awesome it is.

But instead they forced a digital landscape onto the physical medium, and incurred the consumer wrath. They showed the truly dark side of digital distribution front and center. They showed exactly what many, such as myself, have said about the downsides of DD, most of which fell on deaf ears. By doing so it's marred digital distribution as the future, because those of us that prefer retail can now just point back to this time and say...this is what it is. This is what everyone complained about. This is digital.

Even now I get a laugh at all the people who seemingly are in love with DRM. In less than a month, so many people just threw away the 15 years of hate for intrusive, anti-consumer DRM. They point to Steam, but don't accept the fact that Steam is a good value in price, features, community, and customer service. At the very least Steam is trying to be consumer friendly...a few hiccups aside. At the very least they are trying to make it into something that is beneficial for all parties involved. MS didn't do that by any stretch of the imagination.

I am hoping at the least that before any company tries to push this digital future again that they can do so in a very consumer centric way. Make digital attractive for the customer, and they will lap it up as the future. It works for the music industry, but even they only recently surpassed physical CD sales last year. Time and patience is key.

And I won't even get started on their used game policy.

Maddens Raiders1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

Games on DVD's was ahead of it's time.
Gran Turismo 1 was ahead of it's time.
The original Eye Toy was ahead of it's time.
Free online useage (sans a sub) was ahead of it's time.
Swappable, non-proprietary HDD's were ahead of their time.
BC on consoles was ahead of it's time.
Open OS's on consoles was ahead of it's time.
Blu-ray was ahead of it's time.

DRM, Always on, 24 hour check ins, a required camera, and the death of used games was not and is not "ahead of their time".

kwyjibo1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )

"Free online useage was ahead of it's time."

So ahead of its time that it's now been dropped forever. I'm not sure you understand what "ahead of its time" means.

IcicleTrepan1878d ago

For the millionth time, you could trade your used disc in for no charge. But you don't seem to care about things like facts.

Yo Mama1878d ago (Edited 1878d ago )


WTF was the use in trading in the disc when the next person would have to pay full retail price to be able to use what amounted to a used copy?

Spoiler alert:

Used games market would have been non-existent for Xbone.

MikeyDucati11878d ago

You do know that Sony, Nintendo and MS wants the digital age to come already, right?

The consumer base are the only ones still holding on to yesteryear.

The cost of just making the CD case and the disk itself; we foot that bill.

Yo Mama1878d ago

Then why are digital releases on Xbox and PS3 the same price as retail?

You people calling for the end of physical discs are in for a rude awakening if it ever happens. The price of digital games will not go down. Steam is the exception. Not the rule.

MikeyDucati11878d ago

Of course you're not going to see a drop in digital prices when you still have software being sold for such high prices. LOL, c'mon now, they have to stay competitive!! It wouldn't make sense to sell TLOU digitally for cheap and in stores for 60.

I'm not calling for the end of the physical discs, I am accepting what is the future.

Just tell the old school folks who thought 8 tracks and cassette tapes will still be around. The only ones who still use that media is from that era. Meanwhile you're digitally buying songs from an album from itunes and Amazon. But years and years before, you couldn't buy a single selection from the album unless it was the commercial single released.

My point is, revolutions do come. You either on the train or not. But eventually, the industry will demand the change instead of asking for it. Just like how they did with switching from analog to digital TV

And no where did I mention Steam. Not even thinking about them.

Sitdown1878d ago

Not sure how any of the things you mentioned were ahead of their time. For instance, games were played on cds, but dvd could hold more...and so naturally was the next step in the evolution. For some reason things that are ahead of their time tend to not be adopted at all, in part due to price, or are revisited later in life when the world is ready. Then again hard to say anything is ahead of it's time, when it materialized in its time...who decides it not being it's time? And it has to start somewhere..

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BillytheBarbarian1878d ago

As long as they can handle Mode 7 and blast processing I think we're safe.

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