The cloud, it's all up in the air.
Phil Spencer recently announced that the cloud demonstration demo was in fact a demo of how the cloud will be used in crackdown 3.
This is amazing and could very well herald in the future of gaming and the death of the need for hardware upgrades as time goes on if microsoft are able to get this technology to work as people hope it will. I do however have some deep concerns about cloud compute and my goal here is to share those concerns.
I worry about the price of cloud computing, it's well established that internet service providers are wanting to move to a metered Internet environment. The more you use, the more you pay. This brings into focus the fact that many people will have limited bandwidth use in the future and the idea that going over on a 12 hour gaming binge could cost them big.
Since the internet service providers have won on the net neutrality front (so far) it would be safe to assume that in the future companies who use a lot of bandwidth will be forced to pay fees to maintain a high speed. Microsoft likely would not want to eat these costs so it is entirely possible for the cloud functionality even in single player games to be behind the infamous pay wall meaning you would have to have a gold membership to play.
On top of possibly this:
A two tier gaming ecosystem.
Another concern of mine is the idea of a two tier gaming experience for xbox consumers. By this I mean if say crackdown 3 uses the cloud to better it's graphics but is still available offline at a lower graphics fidelity to cater to those who either have a limited bandwidth or no Internet at all you will have people paying the same price for the same product on the same system. Some will get the full experience and others will get the gimped version because they are either unwilling or unable to pay the monthly fee to get the premium content, the content they already paid for. All because microsoft is not relying on hardware all of its customers have but rather software not all of them have equal access to. This will be fantastic for those that live in cities and in places that have isp's that need to compete for custom but not so much for those that live in the country and have only one provider to choose from who happen to gouge their internet or not provide any at all.
The always online agenda of microsofts vision that spurred so much controversy at its launch will be necessary if all future games are relying on the cloud, even if it's only AAA titles it will mostly make the console irrelevant to those without reliable internet. If microsoft does not create an environment of haves and have not with the two tier gaming I mentioned above and boldly states that all cloud games are simply online only then this will invalidate the purchase of any xbox ones that have been or will be bought before the cloud takes off for someone with little or no internet. If you fall into that category then congratulations you may very well have bought a 399-499 dollar doorstop!
That is it for my concerns on the xbox one and the cloud I just want to state a couple of things before the comments start rolling in. First off to anybody how goes on a tirade about how "everyone has the internet these days" just know that is simply not true. I myself have no home internet since my local area simply doesn't provide it. There are people like me all over america and indeed the world and they deserve to game just as much as you do and since they are paying the same for the product (not the service) it should be at the same quality as you.
Secondly for anyone that is going to label me as a ps4 fanboy I have this to say, as mentioned above I have no Internet and the ps4 is also a system that is internet heavy in its focus. The difference their being is that so far the Sony ps4 has not mentioned any way for gamers without internet to be discriminated against by having to play at a lower graphics fidelity or even not at all in the future. If they did this blog would be concerning the future of gaming as a whole without the focus on microsoft. I am not letting any preferences I have influence my points in this blog, my concerns are legitimate and I'm mind of sad gaming journalists have not asked microsoft about these very things. These are concerns thay consumers deserve answers to before they spend money and realize what they have bought is useless to them in the future.
Thanks for your time! Please keep the comments clean and thanks for reading.