At this year’s E3 conference there was some very big hype over a game from the band of ex Infinity Ward employees who left the company and started Respawn Entertainment. Called Titanfall, it is an escape from the typical “shooter” the original Call of Duty folks were used to designing and producing. Titanfall was finally unveiled at Microsoft’s conference, along with the announcement that it will also come to the Xbox 360 and PC.
During Microsoft’s Xbox conference a big emphasis was placed on how the Xbox One will take advantage of a “cloud” architecture to produce bigger, badder and more detailed games. However, its still unclear how this will all work if your network connection not only blips for a short period of time but completely goes out for an even longer amount of time. The folks at Respawn took to their official blog to elaborate on how the game will take advantage of the cloud. Here is a small excerpt:
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What is the Cloud?
Amazon has a cloud that powers websites. Sony has a cloud that streams game video so you can play a game that you don’t have on your machine. Now Xbox Live has a cloud that somehow powers games. Cloud doesn’t seem to actually mean anything anymore, or it has so many meanings that it’s useless as a marketing word.
Let me explain this simply: when companies talk about their cloud, all they are saying is that they have a huge amount of servers ready to run whatever you need them to run. That’s all.
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.
Unless you already know how the “cloud” works you learn a few things. One, dedicated servers are going to be the norm (we hope at least) and two, developers will take advantage of the cloud to create games that can be bigger and more detailed than the console can handle on its own. Here is the problem with this architecture though, using a very big assumption. Lets assume, like the majority of this country that their Internet does and will go out from time to time, and the game is currently streaming from a cloud server landscaping to increase the visuals you see on screen while playing. What will happen when that connection is severed? Will the Xbox One back out of the game and make you restart? Will it automatically scale to a lower graphics setting? Unless this was mentioned directly from MS I am not sure of the answer.
On the PC now, you really do not have to worry, especially if your gaming rig is somewhat newer. Most modern graphics cards can more than handle today’s games, with some already at better spec than what will be included in the Xbox One. Even if the PC version of the game will utilize the cloud for increased graphics and other features, your PC should not sweat if that connection is severed (again assuming your rig is new enough). If it was up to me, and I was using a decent to good gaming rig or the Xbox One? I would go with the PC version.