Microsoft still believes in the power of the cloud

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When Microsoft revealed its Xbox One in May of 2013, one of its biggest selling points was how it would utilise the power of the cloud; an array of interlinked servers that means Xbox One games would always have dedicated servers, and beyond that use those servers to offload computational tasks – making the console far more powerful than its hardware would dictate.

We’ve seen very little, nearly two and a half years later, to make good on that promise. While most gamers have given up on ever seeing the cloud’s promises come to life, Microsoft still believes in the power of the cloud. So says Microsoft’s Indian executive, Anshu Mor, speaking to GamingBolt.

“I think the cloud will play a phenomenal role as we go forward. We as a company believe in the power of the cloud,” Anshu said to GamingBolt. “Even if you look back, we have always maintained that there is this power that the box brings in which is huge value to the consumer and then there is the power of the cloud that will match or exceed the expectations that can be delivered on the box. Crackdown 3 is one of the early experiences of that which we are going to give you.”

And by all reports, Crackdown 3 really does utilise the magic of cloud compute; offloaded parallel processing that adds a special, incredibly impressive layer of physics-based destruction to its multiplayer mode.

Much like India though, we’re sitting without an Azure datacentre of our own, and don’t have the fastest or most stable of internet infrastructures. Can Crackdown 3’s promise of a cloud-based physical destruction sandbox be realised outside of the first world?

“It remains to be seen in all transparency. There are people who have decent bandwidth connections so I would imagine a 2 Mbps plus connection would still continue to work,” Mor said. “You know, these things are connected to the ISP so I cannot comment on that. I don’t believe that the experiences will be compromised in the current set of consumers we have.”

That said, there is still an Azure Datacentre on the Southern Asian continent, while we in Africa have nothing at all. Based on my experiences with the cloud and Microsoft’s servers thus far, we can expect around 200ms of latency to the closest of their servers – probably too much for the cloud to have a welcome effect.

Last Updated: September 8, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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