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Cloud computing – let’s cut the crap Microsoft

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 -

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Chaostar2920d 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.

dedicatedtogamers2920d 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".

Oschino19072920d 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.

HammadTheBeast2920d 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.

kayoss2917d ago (Edited 2917d 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?

hennessey862920d ago

The tec isn't there yet, in the future cloud computing will be possible for graphics etc.

Nicaragua2920d ago (Edited 2920d 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.

wtopez2920d 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.

Nicaragua2920d ago Show
HammadTheBeast2920d 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.

kayoss2917d ago (Edited 2917d 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.

Games4M - Rob2920d 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.

MysticStrummer2920d 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 why2920d 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.

RavageX2919d 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..."

generalthadeape2920d ago (Edited 2920d 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.

nosferatuzodd2920d ago

lol i know its crap from day one but don't tell the Microsoft fanboys that let them live in their delusions

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