When Microsoft revealed Xbox One months back, there was a huge uproar for mandatory internet connection. Microsoft later changed their minds later, but they made internet connection mandatory for lots of reasons. It is not just about DRM, there are lots of other cloud related developer stuff associated with that policy. Microsoft is expecting more and more game developers to take advantage of their Xbox Live Cloud which will allows creators to do stuff that was not possible on a single standalone console.
Titanfall is an upcoming game from Respawn that will take advantage of Xbox Live Cloud. Jon Shiring, an engineer working with the Cloud technology at Respawn blogged about the power of Xbox Live cloud today.
So what is this Xbox Live Cloud stuff then?
Microsoft has a cloud service called Azure (it’s a real thing – you can go on their website right now and pay for servers and use them to run whatever you want). Microsoft realized that they could use that technology to solve our problem.
So they built this powerful system to let us create all sorts of tasks that they will run for us, and it can scale up and down automatically as players come and go. We can upload new programs for them to run and they handle the deployment for us. And they’ll host our game servers for other platforms, too! Titanfall uses the Xbox Live Cloud to run dedicated servers for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
But it’s not just for dedicated servers – Microsoft thought about our problem in a bigger way. Developers aren’t going to just want dedicated servers – they’ll have all kinds of features that need a server to do some kind of work to make games better. Look at Forza 5, which studies your driving style in order to create custom AI that behaves like you do. That’s totally different from what Titanfall uses it for, and it’s really cool! So it’s not accurate to say that the Xbox Live Cloud is simply a system for running dedicated servers – it can do a lot more than that.How is this different from other dedicated servers?
With the Xbox Live Cloud, we don’t have to worry about estimating how many servers we’ll need on launch day. We don’t have to find ISPs all over the globe and rent servers from each one. We don’t have to maintain the servers or copy new builds to every server. That lets us focus on things that make our game more fun. And best yet, Microsoft has datacenters all over the world, so everyone playing our game should have a consistent, low latency connection to their local datacenter.
Most importantly to us, Microsoft priced it so that it’s far more affordable than other hosting options – their goal here is to get more awesome games, not to nickel-and-dime developers. So because of this, dedicated servers are much more of a realistic option for developers who don’t want to make compromises on their player experience, and it opens up a lot more things that we can do in an online game.Wrapping up…
This is a really big deal, and it can make online games better. This is something that we are really excited about. The Xbox Live Cloud lets us to do things in Titanfall that no player-hosted multiplayer game can do. That has allowed us to push the boundaries in online multiplayer and that’s awesome. We want to try new ideas and let the player do things they’ve never been able to do before! Over time, I expect that we’ll be using these servers to do a lot more than just dedicated servers. This is something that’s going to let us drive all sorts of new ideas in online games for years to come.
I know this got pretty technical and long-winded, so I thank you for reading this far. Hopefully I’ve cleared some things up, and you can see why I’m so excited about what Microsoft has done here and how it is letting us do awesome new things for our game. I’ll see you online in the spring to play some Titanfall on our dedicated servers!
Read the full post here.