Microsoft’s Phil Harrison Explains that Xbox One’s Cloud Can Actually Improve Graphics

The cloud feature of Xbox One has been discussed quite actively by developers and fans, and one of the points of contention is if it can actually provide enough computational power to improve a game's graphics. Even the PS4's lead architect Mark Cerny explained that "Trying to boost the quality of the graphics, that won’t work well in the Cloud."

Yet Microsoft seems to disagree with that view, as explained today during his panel at Eurogamer Expo by Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison.

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Ksar1427d ago ShowReplies(13)
NYC_Gamer1427d ago

Does MS have any GPU farms?if not then their cloud service won't improve anything graphic related.

Abriael1427d ago

Computational power is computational power actually. It's not like CPU computations and GPU computations are completely separate by some firm divide. CPUs and GPUs simply are optimized for their specific purposes.

Not that I blindly believe him, just saying.

darthv721427d ago

Have a look at this:

Or this:

The idea of cloud assisted graphics is not that far off.

minimur121427d ago

So when we don't have an internet connection, the graphics will looks X360? lol

r1sh121427d ago (Edited 1427d ago )

@Abrial @Darthv72

Cloud GPU processing already exists in the form of encoding/decoding frames.

AMD can do both and process all GPU computations, its a server rack blade you stick in and good to go.
I use it as part of my job at a major European airport:

THe problem is bandwidth and whilst it is likely MS can do some processing remotely the issue they have is latency and managing to get it across from a server to the client console.
I know MS have a CDN (Content delivery network) that has insane speeds, but if the users internet bandwidth is low it completely defeats the point.
Not sure if compression will be used, but the tech is already there, the problem is internet speeds.
Which leads me to the next off topic point,
Majornelson would say "Oh you could take your account to your friends hosue, and play your games there - Digitally" BUt the issue I see in this scenario, if said friend has not installed the game, the game has be to be downloaded right.
How long will that take? 16+GB at least a few hours LOOOL.
The big issue for most of the world is internet speeds.

dumahim1426d ago


I believe MS has said you'll be able to play while the game is downloading in the background, much like the PS4.

UltimateMaster1426d ago

And clearly there won't be significant lag due to the amount of Mbps it would require to make such a thing happen.

Sony can't even release Gaikai in Europe because of low internet speed, let alone having Microsoft telling us it can increase graphics.

It could work on paper, but in reality, not really.

It's like how Sony's abandoning the 3G on their Vitas, it doesn't work as well as wi-fi and cost significantly more for the users and they aren't interested in paying that extra amount.

I could go off into detail how Internet Connection works on SmartPhone with their multiple channels, but it won't really matter since you don't get that much bandwidth usage in the first place and that's a perfect example how it works on paper but not in real life.

You'd need a 50Mbps connection speed, minimum, to play this without significant lag.
So forget your 6Mbps, it just won't work.
And 50Mbps is in hopes your internet speed Doesn't fluctuates and go lower than that.

Omegasyde1426d ago

I work with with Cloud software and hardware like VMware and MS hyperV.

I will tell you write now, they are full of $%#%# as far as graphics are concerned,however both consoles are future proof if streaming is to be considered.

Microsoft will eventually release thier own streaming service much like Sony's with Gaikai. So in 5-6 years from now, you will be streaming your games. Ideally, this means everyone has to have a good connection speed, or > 300ms in latency for it to work "smoothly" especially for multiplayer. Think like Onlive.

Cloud computing can help with metrics and AI and can be used in innovative ways, but to tell you the truth we have been using the power of "teh clowd" for years now.

Example 1:
Insert favorite racing game
You compete against a ghost car of your friend's game. This data was uploaded from your friend's console to a server with how he exactly raced from time to path on track. This server then uploads the data to your console.

Example 2:
Comparing your progress and stats in GTA5 is another example or how the stockmarket changes based on the global community.

In the IT world, "Cloud" is just a fancy term for virtualization. The idea came from some sales person who wanted to describle an off-site server in a more tantaliyzing way for his/her sales pitch.

Similar examples: syngery=teamwork, New and Improved= upgraded, crowdsourcing = hiring consultants.

LonChaneyTV1426d ago

minimur12 - "So when we don't have an internet connection, the graphics will looks X360? lol"

I don't think any xbox 360 game is comparable to ryse or quantum break.


Anyways, just so you know Cloud computing is for future usage. we won't see the best of it until later on. right now it's just used as dedicated severs.

UnholyLight1426d ago

I always said that this was something they have been briefly mentioning about the cloud since the Xbox One's reveal.

I feel like it's something that Microsoft would probably be able to accomplish to some degree down the road seeing as how Microsoft has the resources to make it happen.

In any case this is exciting news because it means that it's something Sony will likely become invested in too!

= Good for all of us gamers!!

itBourne1426d ago

Very well said man, was going to say something similar. Seen where a developer pointed towards matchmaking as an example of "cloud" computing lol.
Things are still a long ways off though as far as graphics, because then are devs going to make games scalable like pc games? If you dont have an internet connection you play on "low settings" if you do then "high settings"? Also the U.S. has a ridiculously awful internet base. In places like Korea sure no prob, streaming stuff is easy, but here is a much different story.

inveni01426d ago

I'll believe Cerny for now.

dedicatedtogamers1426d ago

Where's the proof?

We have an alarming amount of fingers-in-ears-lalala going on in the gaming industry right now. No one wants to admit the obvious truth that Microsoft trying to smoke and mirror gamers, and the only people who stand up are instantly labelled as - obviously! - Sony fanboys.

Microsoft has made numerous lofty claims before (so has Sony, for the record, which is why I'm still leery of EVERY PS4 game Remote Playing on Vita smoothly) and they've lied before.

The proof so far is that virtually every next-gen multiplat game has been running on PC or PS4, not Xbox One. If their Cloud service is so powerful (of course, not available at launch, we must not forget) then by now they certainly have a proof of concept or a "prototype" server to show us these improved graphics, right? Right?

Where's the proof?

mistertwoturbo1426d ago

Microsoft does everything for the interest of the consumers, they listen to feedback from their fans, and above all they never ever lie.

pixelsword1426d ago

If the cloud actually works for Xbone, which game shows it off?

corvusmd1426d ago

@minimur12 Seeing as we haven't seen any XB1 games running with the cloud hooked'd look like we've seen them demo' about the same level as PS4. Cloud computing would only advance it from there. Not being connected wouldn't downgrade the existing hardware to 360/Ps3 days.

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Kayant1427d ago (Edited 1427d ago )

Maybe he's referring to it in an indirect manner as due to the offloading to the cloud more power will be available locally to do other things.... If not I don't totally believe it until it's shown in a game because things like nvidia's grid/amd's radeon sky/onlive/gaikai are all mainly GPU based.

If this is all true then it will must likely be only used in MP only games like titanfall I don't see this working in SP as they don't have mandatory drm anymore and not everyone wants to play a single-player and having to be tethered to the internet a.k.a Sim city

Gamer6661427d ago (Edited 1427d ago )

You don't need GPU farms... Cloud processing is about distributed, coordinated processing, it does not matter what you are processing.

It is just taking the WELL PROVEN concept of distributed processing and focusing it for real time uses on a console.

P0werVR1427d ago


"If this is all true then it will must likely be only used in MP only..."

No kidding Sherlock!


GPU farms?!

CPU computational power is just that...CPU, computational, power! It's not complicated

Azure will progress throughout it's existence therefore getting powerful overtime.

GutZ311427d ago (Edited 1427d ago )

Is everyone neglecting to talk about latencies on purpose?
Lets say you do offload, say 10% of CPU burden, we will call it non-essential physics, the best internet connection is usually around 55ms. thats 55 milliseconds one way, at ideal internet latencies. At 180 milliseconds, lag/latency becomes noticeable to people with fast reflex's, or professional gamers. Now, the average latency in the USofA is about 155ms for the west coast, and 200ms roughly for the east coast(stats show higher latency at 261ms). Note, these are averages, meaning you could experience much less, or much worse in the form of lag no matter where you are in the US at any given time, and thats before you add communication with offsite servers in the mix. And for the Europeans, your internet is ever more finicky than ours.
Anyway, back to that 10%.
After about 150ms, the data has been sent to the servers for processing. For the hell of it, lets just say its super fast at doing the calculations, so, 20ms? well, it still needs to send the data back to the user, so add another 150ms to that, you get 320ms, a very noticable lag.
I am being a little critical here, but look it up, the math isn't false, it is what we deal with everyday, and sometimes worse.

If the infrastructure isn't there, we are all going to be disappointed in the technology coming from both sony and microsoft with the cloud.

malokevi1426d ago (Edited 1426d ago )

It's easy to dismiss cloud processing on the basis of latency... until it's your life's work to solve the dilemma. There are brilliant mind working tirelessly on these issues as we speak.

you don't think there's a solution? We'll, then you underestimate the ingenuity of human kind.

I choose to look forward with cautious optimism.

GutZ311426d ago

There are extremely talented individuals out there working on brilliant ways of getting around bottlenecks, and latencies. The problem lies in corporate interests.
We are force fed data limits by companies like Time Warner, or Cox at fixed rates across all companies. They basically agree to not be competitive with prices. This leads to a saturated market that everyone has the same model, with no real benefits, or reason for the caped data speeds.
The nation, nay, I say the world is capable of gigabit internet connections for all, but the only company even trying to shake things up is google.
Latency is always an issue. Even when you have the best minds working on this, you will always have the problem of upload/download inequality by todays standards.

I'll put it this way;
I don't trust companies to do good by consumers, I trust consumers to make right what companies do wrong.

I expect whining and hateful remarks made at sony and MS for failed promises, but hope to be proven wrong.
I rather expect failure, and get success than expect success, and get failure.

malokevi1426d ago (Edited 1426d ago )

Thats why I say cautious optimism. I don't expect success, but I refuse to dismiss everything I've heard in favour of a pessimistic standpoint.

"latency" is not the be-all-end-all death of cloud processing. There are other, clever ways that developers are learning to leverage the tech to positive effect. No reason why it can't work for certain applications.

I don't expect real time by the millisecond processing. Cautious optimism implies realism. I have faith in the ingenuity of greater minds than mine, supported by a pocket book that could send men to mars. Assuming you are able to maintain a decent connection, I see no reason to deem this stuff as anything but positive.

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hqgamez1427d ago ShowReplies(1)
Blaze9291427d ago (Edited 1427d ago )

Microsoft: Something we designed, know about, and worked closely with can do the statement we're saying it can do.

N4G: I'm just a gamer, not employed by anything even closely related to this field. It won't work! Foolish Microsoft

...N4G users definitely know best.

christian hour1426d ago

Right, because people who use N4G are just N4G users and nothing else and couldn't possibly know anything about anything.

There is a wide variety of people on this site with a wide range of expertise in different areas. But one thing we all have in common is we're all using the internet. We all know what latency is. We all know how lag comes about. or at least I hope we all should.

Offloading graphical processes and physics to the cloud works in theory, but internet speeds and bandwidth are where it can and will fall short. Sony have a cloud service too, and the only reason their not tooting about how its going to improve graphics is because they aren't looking like the weaker console to the consumer right now so they don't need to grasp at straws.

If anyone calls me a fanboy for saying that then all you're doing is showing your ignorance, your denial and your severe insecurity that the product you plan on purchasing might not be as good as the product somebody else is planning on purchasing. oh noes! /sarcasm

AngelicIceDiamond1426d ago (Edited 1426d ago )

@Blaze Lol that is true.

The funny thing is Sony fans are super defensive and reassuring themselves and other fanboys that MS is lying and then have the nerve to say "Its fake" and "not real."

Then they try and pretend like they know what they're talking about, when they don't. They're scared because what if MS actually achieves this goal. That's the question here.

They say "Well I haven't seen it, therefor its fake and PR crap."

Yeah because MS works on super insecure, super defensive fanboys that damage controls every single major Xbox article all time lol.

It sounds cool but I have to see for myself. You don't see me sweeping it under a rug and calling it fake like everyone doing here.

If something like this sounds cool why not get at least cautiously excited for it?

Oh because Sony's using cloud for something totally different and MS is using cloud to supposedly add extra horse power to game development.

Picture this for 2 seconds fanboys, Sony says. "We're using cloud power to enhance games." See how cool that sounds now? just imagine, its not so bad now is it?

Have fun and stay in damage control fanboys.

BlackTar1871426d ago

Angelic you seem rather defensive.

Just a observation.

"Have fun and stay in damage control fanboys." You talking to yourself in a mirror?

I'm pretty sure Sony people have commented more then once on that even the gaiki thing is up in the air due to bandwidth limitations. You just gonna pretend people haven't said this multiple times?

The facts about Cloud is that we do not as a planet have the infrastructure up to do the things MS is saying are possible. MS does not have a secreat sauce unreleased in tech journls. I mean this is FACT. Now what they are saying in theory will be possible later when we get a stronger build country wide - Worldwide but stop pretending like people are only calling it PR nonsense because of fanboy loyalty. To do so is being nieve.

The real question should be that if MS is far enough along to tout such a feature and we are less then 2 months from release show it do something to prove it. It isn't so hard to do so if you have tangible substance to do so. The wait till the console comes out mentality is just a form of business that has gone on for decades and the success rate is very low.

If MS introduces this feature in 5-6 yrs after release is that a period in which you can say i told you so? No well i hope not.

buynit1426d ago


So what are you saying that you know it cant and will never be done? Are u that high up in the food chain or have the knowledge to truly know it cant ever be done?

Im not going to act like I know about thia but plenty of ppl are saying it works on paper and thats from the same ppl saying It cant be done, sounds to me like its close to happening so shouldnt we embrace it and wish them the best of luck on getting it done instead of acting like a bunch of little brats all cause sony isnt trying to do it or saying that it can be done..

AngelicIceDiamond1426d ago (Edited 1426d ago )

@Blacktar "Have fun and stay in damage control fanboys." You talking to yourself in a mirror?

Lol What Please explain this, if you can that is?

listen, what if Sony was doing the exact same thing as MS, and MS wasn't opting to such a thing what would you say? Honest question.

Would your tone change. Would you hype it up like most fanboys would on there said console? Which is a natural reaction.

"I'm pretty sure Sony people have commented more then once on that even the gaiki thing is up in the air due to bandwidth limitations. You just gonna pretend people haven't said this multiple times?"

Obviously that's why I said its wait and see and I'm CAUTIOUSLY optimistic.

Your comparing Gaikai to something different here but I do believe Sony and MS will have the same problems with bandwidth. But MS has servers in just about every city across america.

"but stop pretending like people are only calling it PR nonsense because of fanboy loyalty. To do so is being nieve."

Well who else is complaining about this? Calling it fake and not real? MS fans, regular users, Sony fans or somewhere in between? Who is it?

"The real question should be that if MS is far enough along to tout such a feature and we are less then 2 months from release show it do something to prove it."

MS hasn't even off the the Dashboard that runs 4 apps at a time. People are still looking forward to that. Like I said they'll show it off when they're ready to. BTW if MS does show off the cloud. What will you be looking for? And how will you compare it and what will you compare it to? If MS shows an example or tech footage that won't be enough for you and "others" because you wanna see real stuff that you can't even begin compare it to anything.

BlackTar1871426d ago (Edited 1426d ago )


First off stop pretending like you know me or how i operate in life. I work for a VAR (Value added Reseller)in the bay area. We sell HW and SW and Engineering support. As a base requirement for this field since we are a small business you have to understand what Virtualization, Cloud Computing and Networking are at the base level. I'm not some person who knows everything about it but im also not some person who knows nothing in order for small businesses like ourselves to succeeded we provide VALUE on all levels and knowledge at least in base form is required. That said i don't expect you to believe me nor do i care.

"listen, what if Sony was doing the exact same thing as MS, and MS wasn't opting to such a thing what would you say? Honest question. "

Honest Answer I wouldn't be pumping up a feature i know is not infrastructuraly available to over 90-95% of the US population. And 95%-97% of the developed world. So honest answer is a wait and see approach. Which is only partially what you are seeing. You're banking on this idea to bring something at a base customer level when we have nothing on this actually being fee sable at this current time with ISP restrictions and lag delays. So no I would not be using this as a reason to Purchase and am not with the Xone I will buy it for games like i have with every system that isn't named WiiU(I will get one) to date for the last 20+ yrs.

"Would your tone change. Would you hype it up like most fanboys would on there said console? Which is a natural reaction. "
Why would i hype something up that technically sin't realistic yet in the current set up across america as a whole? This is the same question worded differently as above please see above.

"Obviously that's why I said its wait and see and I'm CAUTIOUSLY optimistic" Okay you are being very casual with your definition of Wait and see and ho wit applies to you in your use.

"Well who else is complaining about this? Calling it fake and not real? MS fans, regular users, Sony fans or somewhere in between? Who is it? " It's all of the above. The xbox only fans are not all in agreement in using this as a reason to hype a system some of them me included are not so deluded to think MS has a secret sauce. Which btw in this day and age is just almost impossible to have. SOny fans sure yea okay them and so do people who have no interest in video games or the market in general. The difference is only 1 group of people are choosing to ignore it and our somehow trying to convince themselves of a secret sauce.

Last Question:
Ms hasn't shown its Dashboard? The relevancy here is very low considering Dashboards don't sell systems. Games do and they showed those. Cloud Computing at the level MS is saying would too the problem is MS most likely isn't at that level yet so their sellign you an idea that is still a work in progress. Thats a problem. Games are also works in progress but they are built on a architecture that is set in stone. Cloud computing has no such advantage since the majority of people (HUGE) do not have the proper ground work laid in their area to use such features.

Omegasyde1426d ago (Edited 1426d ago )

Hey Blaze, I actually do work with virtualization and I can tell you most of what Phil said is funky BS. Read above.

Stop drinking the MS koolaid.