Nicaragua (User)

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Cloud computing – let’s cut the crap Microsoft

Nicaragua | 665d ago
User blog

I hate marketing speak with a passion and it’s for one simple reason, it’s bullshit. It’s there to give you the perception that something is better than a competitor product when in reality there is no advantage, and Microsoft’s latest romance with the word “cloud” is a perfect example.

“The power of the cloud”

“Leveraging the power of the cloud”

“Every Xbox One console will be backed by the equivalent power of three more Xbox Ones in the cloud."

It’s vague but yet it sounds amazing. Like some kind of mystical power that Microsoft has managed to harness for the good of mankind but can’t quite put into simple enough words for us gamer's to understand. But know this Microsoft has it, it will make things BETTER and only the Xbox One can channel this awesome force and convert it into pure limitless gaming joy – God Bless You Microsoft!

So what’s my problem? Well like I said I hate marketing speak and while the concept is real the marketing slant Microsoft are putting on it to try and sell you a games console is complete and utter bullshit.

Cloud computing is basically processing that is not done locally. You connect through a piece of hardware (in this case an Xbox One) to an external processer which performs whichever calculation is required of it and then sends it back to the local hardware for you to see. Anyone with a Google account can see this in action by opening a spreadsheet in Google drive and typing a few quick formulas – there is no spreadsheet software on your PC, it’s all happening via Google and “the power of the cloud”.

So this is nothing new, but what about using the power of cloud computing for gaming? Well yeah this is old news too.
Let’s first tackle Microsoft’s claims of “the power of the cloud creating persistent gaming worlds”. I could list numerous examples of MMO’s which have persistent gaming worlds, if for some reason they aren’t a suitable examples then I could also list Planetside, Dust 514, or even MAG as games which have persistent worlds. These are games constantly being changed by the outcomes of the numerous battles occurring within the game. Persistent worlds are nothing new.

How about being able to change games on the fly? Microsoft talk about developers being able to use “The power of the cloud” to be able to tweak multiplayer game settings, adjust weapon stats, enable or disable one off events. Again this is nothing new and was utilised by Uncharted 2 on the PS3, as well as numerous PC games.

OK, so let’s talk about the biggie. Microsoft claims that the Xbox one will be able to use “the power of the cloud” to improve graphics and in-game AI. That’s bullshit pure and simple. It’s as much bullshit as a kid standing in front of Kinect and scanning his real life skateboard into a game for use. Technically it’s feasible on some kind of level but its real world application for a game is total fantasy. There are far more technical articles that have been written on the subject which I will link to below but the summary is that the network lag is too great for the cloud calculation to provide any kind of viable in game benefit to graphics or reactive AI.

But let’s hear from some developers on how they are going to use the awesome “power of the cloud”. Respawn Entertainment are making one of my most eagerly awaited games – TitanFall which is widely promoted as “only possible through the power of the Xbox cloud”, which also goes some way to explain why it’s not going to be available on the PS4. So what are these cloud enabled features that tie the very core of this game to the Xbox One..?

Respawn's Fairfax McCandlish answers this in an interview with Joystiq. To summarise he states that essentially, cloud computing helps matchmaking, allowing dedicated servers to be spun up on a moment's notice to handle multiplayer matches and find you the most local option when searching for a game. So the power of the cloud enables matchmaking...ok, wow consider me completely unimpressed.

In closing (and to quote Public Enemy) – Don’t Believe the Hype. Any internet enabled device is capable of cloud computing, the Xbox One is nothing special in this regard. What you are being sold is vague marketing gibberish – do not fall for it.

Please do not interpret this blog as a criticism of the Xbox One console itself, just the marketing nonsense Microsoft have chosen to surround it with.

Digital Foundry’s excellent analysis of Cloud Computing on the Xbox One -

Chaostar  +   665d ago
I'm right there with you, every time an MS lackey said something like "infinite power of the cloud" or "magic of the cloud" I cringed hard.

There's a fine line between marketing your product positively and outright lying and MS have crossed it in the case of the cloud.

Great blog and thank Glob for Digital Foundry and their truth finding wizards and pixies. Can't wait to see their tech analysis of cloud on vs cloud off, should be pretty entertaining.
dedicatedtogamers  +   665d ago
I don't know why anyone should be surprised that the Xbox One features are vanishing in a puff of smoke now that people are taking a closer look at the PR claims Microsoft has made. MS always does stuff like this: promise you the stars, and then when you buy their product and open the box, you find a gold sticker star with the warning label "stars are not actual size, or actual stars"

Power of the Cloud is the new "Power of the Cell".
Oschino1907  +   665d ago
But hasn't the Cell proven it can produce superior games?

The Cloud is different, MS can promote it but it doesn't mean they have a monopoly on it. Cloud computing can and eventually probably will be used on the PS4 at some level.
HammadTheBeast  +   665d ago
It can, but nowhere near what people said it could, at least not in the current state with its connection to the GPU and with the limited RAM.

Cloud computing will probably be used on the PS4, PS+ users can already save game files to cloud servers and things like that.
kayoss  +   662d ago
The difference i believe is that the "cell" does all the computing locally where as the cloud, the computation is being sent off to a server where everything is computed and sent back to the local machine. I might be wrong though the problem with this that the article mention is latency and bandwitdth limitation. What happen if a person who wants to play game that uses cloud computation but dont have internet access how would they play?
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hennessey86  +   665d ago
While I agree
The tec isn't there yet, in the future cloud computing will be possible for graphics etc.
Nicaragua  +   665d ago
I'm sure that in the future nuclear fusion will be possible on a domestic level, but don't try and bullshit me today by telling me that's what's happening inside an Xbox power brick.
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wtopez  +   665d ago
Pretty sure nobody said that, Nicaragua. What I believe hennessey86 is trying to say is that no technology launches fully developed. It's kinda dumb to call bullshit on a product that isn't even out yet. Just because cloud computing has been around for a while, doesn't mean that in a few years time it can't be used in the way MS is touting. At the end of the day, it's all data.
Nicaragua   665d ago | Bad language | show
HammadTheBeast  +   665d ago
Not for a while. Until a lot of people have very high speed internet, its not happening. Even the slightest ms of latency and lag can have textures floating behind or the game pretty much breaking down.
kayoss  +   662d ago
I mean even with high speed internet its going to be a problem. Internet drop out, internet cap and etc... This will play a big role in how success or how failed this going to be. Relying on the internet is a bad idea.
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Games4M - Rob  +   665d ago
I actually find Microsofts PR speel kinda insulting. They come up with this far fetched nonsense and put it out there with a straight face as though we are going to lap it up like brainless idiots.

Of course there are plenty of brainless idiots lapping it up and regurgitating this cloud computing crap all over the Internet already so i guess Microsoft knows its audience when it writes this garbage.
MysticStrummer  +   665d ago
Yeah there are plenty of people on N4G who apparently believe all the cloud marketing BS.

Maybe they're just pretending to believe, or maybe I'm giving them too much credit.
Why o why  +   665d ago
Ill find Loch Ness and the the Yeti inside the x1 I swear.....I just see it as it is, pr speak. What annoys me is the people who regurgitate it like they have more than zero percent proof. Hope and conjecture wont change reality. Time will tell but I wouldn't hedge my bets on cloud computing doing what the 'speak' implies it does.
RavageX  +   663d ago
I think the type of people who feel they have to be, "loyal" to a company,game system, and/or service are the ones who believe this sorta thing.

They believe because they NEED to. The idea that they are having smoke blown up their asses is unacceptable, it can not be fathomed. They are the same people who LOVED the idea of DRM, simply because MS said it was the future.

It's kinda like that guy/girl who is always being told by (good)friends that their significant other is cheating on them, but they won't believe it.

They start finding texts, emails, and such yet they STILL won't believe it. Then comes the day they actually catch them in the act but instead of accepting it, it somehow ends up an accident.

"They didn't mean to do it, I forgive them..."
generalthadeape  +   665d ago
The only thing I want "in the cloud" is my games saves-- all the rest of this stuff is simply too vague to even register on my gauges.

I highly doubt any of this cloud nonsense will make one iota of a difference when it comes to actually making the games we play any "better" in any sense of that word.
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nosferatuzodd  +   665d ago
lol i know its crap from day one but don't tell the Microsoft fanboys that let them live in their delusions
Octo1  +   665d ago
Very nice read sir
edonus  +   665d ago
This blog is BS.

Even in the article you reference it tells you all of the things the cloud can be used for for now and easily.

The cloud is very versatile it is just more processing power.
Since the scariest thing fanboys is that the cloud will give the ONE better graphics I'll explain. In the future if as our Internet infrastructure gets better they will be able to use the cloud before rendering graphics..... But that is the future..

As of right now the cloud is used to process things outside the system and this a very simple concept to get....anything that processes outside of the system leaves more processing inside the system for Uh oh........ Graaaaaphiiiiics. This 100% accurate no spin or bs changes this.

I repeat... Any processing done outside the system leaves more power for things inside the system. That is the power of the cloud. As devs get more and more familiar with it the more they can and will do.
XabiDaChosenOne  +   665d ago
Oh look at this, more vague theoretical BS from yours truly. Care to go more indepth with your insight on "teh cloud" or is this shallow explanation as deep as you can go without exposing your ignorance?
Nicaragua  +   665d ago
You are Microsoft's target audience. You think it makes perfect sense as evidenced by your laughably simple explanation.

You think this is some new technology that dev's need to get "more and more familiar with" - its not. its old and its not practical for what MS are suggesting. That's why nobody does it that way.

Anything that requires a very fast reactive response (ie games) is unsuitable for cloud computing. Persistent worlds and matchmaking - no problemo but AI and graphics, get real. So if it cant handle AI and graphics then exactly what processes do you think can be offloaded to the cloud that will free up resources for improved graphics - the scoreboard perhaps ?

If it was possible then we would see this amazing technology being used in hundreds of PC games - its old tech dressed up as something new, and its bullshit. Not only is it bullshit but its not even exclusive bullshit, any device with a network connection can do the same as what an Xbone can do "in the cloud", its just that everyone else has got real features to push instead of magical fantasy ones.
edonus  +   665d ago
Since you are the writer of this blog i will respond to you.
I have a working knowledge of internet code like server side scripting which is pretty much what the cloud.
You realize in all the responses no one can say I'm wrong all they can say is give me more proof and examples. I know it wont make any difference because sony supporters have a habit of ignoring facts ad reality but here goes.

I never said the technology is new, because it is not. Whats new is it being designed to be used specifically for video games. Computer video games havent used it a lot because computers have so many resources in them already it isnt really needed. They wont need it for graphics when everyone will either have a powerful graphics card or upgrade and the individual game would have to set up its own network to process its code. It really just isnt or wasnt a priority for computers.

Cloud computing has been part of computers and the internet for a very long time.

Everything in games dont require fast reactive responses. Like lighting and environmental effects, Forza 5 offloaded the AI to the cloud. The same could be done for FPS shooters or fighting games even sports games. Dead Rising 3 uses it to feel the world with zombies, Titanfall uses it for matchmaking and running a perpetual world and this is only launch.

The cloud is tool to be used and the more creative the better things will be. A way I would use it would be for destructible environments. I would have the cloud process 5-6 scenarios have them loaded to the HDD and when the proper one is triggered the code executes. Ya'll get caught up thinking your process ing has to be 1 for 1.

Truth is this is all done in a server not taking any of your system power so you can go nuts. You can process 15-20 different things and have them set to use they dont even have to be singular. You could have 100 different character animations or effects or that update and change as you go through the game.

There is so much that can be done. And remember whatever the system doesnt have to process that leaves more power for local functions. Even if it was just a persistent world thats a persistent wold your console is processing.

Its so funny how you easily except that other internet devices do cloud computing and it has a purpose but MS suddenly becomes magical. Your Bias shine through.
Parapraxis  +   664d ago
"You realize in all the responses no one can say I'm wrong all they can say is give me more proof and examples. "

Ah, how I wish I were infallible like edonus.
I can almost picture him re-reading what he typed, stroking his cock in the fact he was able to put into words, his own sheer brilliance..which, let's be clear, none of us could comprehend.
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RavageX  +   663d ago
I just want to say that I find Parapraxis' comment much so that I came back later, read it again and it still made me burst out laughing.
dedicatedtogamers  +   665d ago
It's not BS. I'd be happy to dismantle your post

"In the future if as our Internet infrastructure gets better they will be able to use the cloud before rendering graphics."

That's the big lie Microsoft is feeding you. Our Internet infrastructure is getting worse, not better. Every single ISP is clamping down on speeds, bandwidth, and overhead. Download caps are an everyday part of an internet service nowadays. Besides, graphical renders require very fast lateral processes, something that the Cloud cannot do. Unless you want 30 fps and every texture within 5 feet to pop in like the worst Unreal Engine game ever made, then yeah, the Cloud will be awesome for graphics!

"As of right now the cloud is used to process things outside the system and this a very simple concept to get"

Is that how it works? Go ahead and believe every scrap of PR you're told, but don't get upset when people want more proof. Cloud processing hasn't even taken off on PCs where it originated. And cloud processing has not yet been successfully used for gaming in any significant way. I would know. I was an OnLive beta tester and as time went on, less and less was done on the cloud and more and more was done within the local environment. Running processes on the cloud is also incredibly inefficient and expensive. Anyone who works in IT or tech support or any networking business knows that. What happens to your precious "Cloud-Powered" super-graphics when the servers shut off in 10 years?

"Any processing done outside the system leaves more power for things inside the system."

Sure, in theory, but then - in theory - developers also have to account for the fact that not every Xbox One will be connected to the internet. You may see small enhancements in 1st party Xbox One games or online-required games, but for multiplatform games "teh cloudz" will make no difference. In fact, relying on the cloud runs the risk of making games look worse because if the cloud is required to make a game look better, a lot of 3rd party developers will opt simply to downscale the game.
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HammadTheBeast  +   665d ago
Haha lol.

The only graphics a Cloud server could do is exactly that. Some clouds in the background. Even those will lag behind, but no one will care cause its background stuff you don't notice. Or maybe a blank wall can be done great at 60 fps.
rainslacker  +   665d ago
The graphics delivered on the system are still limited by the hardware on the local systems. While yes you can offload tasks to improve graphics to a degree, you aren't going to see a huge boost, certainly not the 3x boost that MS is claiming.

It is possible to do with the cloud, but as the author of the article, as well as many other people who are actually educated on this subject, have mentioned, the infrastructure to transmit that data between the cloud and the local console just isn't up to par yet.

It's also not likely going to be up to par for a vast majority of the user base during the consoles lifetime. I'm sorry, but if your putting your faith in the internet infrastructure becoming vastly superior to it's current state, then you are going to be sorely disappointed.

It could benefit a few people, but will likely remain a pipe dream for most. Because of this, it will not be implemented in any meaningful manner in most games. Just think of 3D games. Most people didn't want to buy 3D TV's. It was a novelty. It was tried and implemented in some games, but eventually just became a secondary feature on the occasional game.

Going back to offloading tasks to improve local tasks, I can tell you in game programming design, non-critical tasks are quite often very simple processes. The reason for this is that even non-critical tasks still have to be executed within the games subroutine. If when you get to these non-critical tasks a huge number of process cycles are required, then it slows down the main sub-routines of the critical parts of the design. So really, non-critical tasks aren't really that much of a factor in compute cycles.

AI subroutines being mentioned are an intereting scenario. But what would be offloaded would be fuzzy AI, as in not precise. Things like moving a enemy towards a character, but that enemy doesn't have to interact with the character yet. As the enemy gets closer it becomes more of a complex AI, where many more subroutines become critical operations. However, in this scenario, since AI is processor intensive, offloading tasks can actually improve performance on locally run code, as you suggest.

I don't think it's bad that you see the promise in the cloud, I'm just saying be a little more skeptical of it's abilities to deliver what MS is saying. If you're basing your purchase of the X1 over it, then I would highly, and I mean definitely, suggest that you do some thorough research into the matter, as well as research the current predictions on internet infrastructure for the country you live in. For the time being, and likely for quite a while, the internet is going to be the Achilles heel of MS plans for cloud processing with the X1 in relation to games.
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edonus  +   664d ago
The question isnt will it increase the X1s power by 3 times that is all theory. The question is how much power is available now and how can it be used. We get caught up arguing with people who are so gung ho on trying to say it impossible for the cloud to improve graphic by 3 times we never talk about all its other practical uses.

Honestly the ONE just based of off internal parts doesnt really need cloud power to push out a great looking game. If I was a dev I wouldnt be worried about that for at least 2-3 yrs unless its just really easy.

I have a small understanding of coding a game but i have lots of knowledge about moving data through the internet. The Azure network MS has set up is real and you need something like that to pull off what they are proposing so they have the network for it.

Any non immediate tasks can be processed in the cloud and depending on what the game and its type the cloud could process lots of the game. Think about a rail shooter.... you already no where everything will be you could load and process almost everything on the cloud. Think about a open world game, you can could have the entire world running and in the cloud, you could have more and varied NPCs a world full of animated billboards. All that could be done cloud side leaving more power in the system to process immediate data.

As for AI it wouldnt have to be fuzzy at all, I see it as a bunch of if then statements and since it wouldnt be processed on console you could do several scenarios and have them ready to go. Its primarily positions and actions. I am an avid chess player all you would have to do is think a head and set up ways for the moves to play out.

I am not buying the X1 because I think it will become a god machine in a couple years. i like the features I am a fan of MS franchises and the system has shown me a level of quality I find acceptable. I dont really need it to be the most powerful console to ever be sold in stores but I do like its forward thinking attitude.

I think those that dismiss the cloud computing of the ONE are are doing a self blinding. Their is lots of potential there, even in the article they all like to reference the author even takes a wait and see attitude which is fine. I dont like over praising thing to early either. But to say it cloud computing is all BS or a PR stunt ignores the facts and that is BS.
Pillsbury1  +   665d ago
Here's what I don't understand is Microsoft feeds us this "exponential cloud power" bs and thinks that we are idiots and will accept it as fact. If its an offline system no no game will need to use it, end of story.
bobtheimpaler  +   664d ago
Great blog. They really haven't been very clear on how the whole cloud computing works. Because the reality of it isn't as cool as they're making it out to be and more people understand it better than they expected. Also, they've been going out of their way to butcher gaming terminology everyone is familiar with.

Take this for example. When Phil Spencer was on Jimmy Fallon, he said "You can use the power of the cloud to play multiplayer".

It's just so laughable.

There's nothing new with what they're trying to do. It's just Microsoft doing what they've always done. Saying they've innovated when they haven't. All they've done is slap a new funky sounding marketing term on it.

Also the way Phil mentioned it in an interview just made it's implementation sound pointless. For lighting, what it amounts to is just as simple as having the effects pre-canned and rendered locally.
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4kids   664d ago | Spam
Sleet  +   664d ago
This blog is spot on, the very notion that an xbox can be made 4 x more powerful through cloud computing is so ludicrous that i almost pissed in my pants when i heard it.

Then i heard xbox fans lap it and begin to repeat it and my jaw hit the floor at the naivety.

What they are suggesting cannot be done, wake up and smell reality.
denawayne  +   663d ago
What if it does come through with the promises? A of people will be eating crow. I don't necessarily believe in it but I'm not going to call bs on something that is not out yet. That's why I have the wait and see approach.
isarai  +   663d ago
Really don't get how people are believing this BS. It's hard enough to get graphics and AI computed quickly and efficiently through the immediate hardware that is soldered directly to each other, so how is it people think that that same processing power can be accomplished through the internet? there are GIGABYTES of data being transferred and computed constantly through the hardware, how in the hell are you believing that MS can magically allow your internet to transfer those gigabytes of data instantly? hell a 4MB youtube video won't even load instantly, don't believe this BS
pupa  +   662d ago
Wha's new. Microsoft lied before to gain market share and they will do again, usually by using prominent actors.

Where is Milo and the futuristic AI? get the idea?

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