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Xbox Live Compute gives free cloud tech to all devs, including dedicated servers

Tuesday, 15th October 2013 23:51 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Microsoft is making its Xbox One cloud servers free for all developers to use, including dedicated server support for all multiplayer games.

In an Xbox Newswire post, Xbox Live’s lead program manager John Bruno announced Xbox Live Compute, an initiative enabling “game creators to utilize the scalable computing resources that Microsoft deploys within our regional datacenters, to enhance their game experiences beyond what is generally possible with the finite resources of a console”.

“We chose to provide cloud features that allow the game creators to push the limits of their gameplay experiences and apply the bulk of their investments to game creation, rather than server and operational resources. In fact, we even give them the cloud computing power for FREE so they can more easily transition to building games on Xbox One for the cloud,” he said.

In a series of bullet points, Bruno outlined the advantages of cloud tech for Xbox One games, namely higher fidelity game experiences; improved multiplayer game experiences; adaptive and evolving game play; and on-demand compute improves game availability.

Given that Microsoft is giving away free access to cloud servers, it follows that all multiplayer games on Xbox One could utilise dedicated servers, generally considered a better alternative than peer-to-peer; in a tweet, Microsoft’s Albert Penello confirmed this is the case.

One other concrete advantage is that the flexible nature of Microsoft’s cloud servers means that resources are allocated to meet demand; speaking to GamesIndustry, Bruno pointed out that hypothetically, servers for specific titles will never need to be shut down.

The Xbox One goes on sale in November.

Thanks, GameInformer, Shack News.

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28 Comments

  1. Crapgamer

    Microsoft never wanted to take away gamer rights, they had a vision for the future and didn’t parlay that correctly to the masses, but the Cloud is no joke. Free dedicated servers to any developer that wants them will put costs down greatly, and it will actually get Microsoft more exclusives like Titanfall in the future.
    Microsoft planned ahead, those servers are top of the line models.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. monkeygourmet

    I can see MS launching a live TV show with E-Sports like COD on the Xbone. The platform seems set up for this type of saturation.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. EducatedFoetus

    And what happens at the end of the “next generation” when those ‘Cloud Servers’ are shut down? Even if not straight away, it WILL happen eventually. Games built around cloud technology will cease to function properly, if at all.

    Cloud computing is a gimmick, and one that will go the way of the dodo. Just like 3D technology in TV’s.

    Tis but another way of duping consumers into buying a half-arsed product that isn’t as powerful as it needs to be to get the job done.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Crapgamer

    @EducatedFoetus
    So kind of like how Sony is shutting down Socom Confrontation and MAG server rendering those games useless? I think Microsoft has a clear plan to keep the Xbox One going a decade+ and that is plenty of time. Not even the most popular games go on forever. Most games have a offline component, so there would always be that element. Your complaint would be the same as complaining about an MMORPG.

    Cloud isn’t a gimmick, and once the internet catches up to it Microsoft will be sitting pretty. Until that time, us gamer’s will just have to settle for dedicated servers on everything, no long patches to download, and minor cloud computing to make games more immersive…well at least on Xbox One anyway.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. Hcw87

    This is a big one.

    @3
    The world is going digital, deal with it. If anything, more and more stuff will be hosted on the cloud, soon enough we’ll see entire operating systems running on the clouds.

    Technology is ever evolving, and it’s ignorant to think the cloud will die out in 10 years. People probably said the same thing about the internet when it came out.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Hyperx64

    @EducatedFoetus

    Shutdown?! Upgraded far & beyond more like.

    This next generation shift, which makes years of R&D in the PC realm becomes standard at the mainstream level. Is here to stay.

    And it is something that has been happening across all devices for a long while. Makes Servers a necessity, and an investment, instead of being temporary infrastructure like it used to be.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. EducatedFoetus

    @4 + 5

    I have nothing against cloud, it is going to be inevitable, I realise that. Microsoft et al. want more control over their user base. This is an easy way of achieving such a goal.

    Broadband speeds need to increase first, and be available to a much wider audience. And that’s not to mention data allowances.

    I doubt a decade. Microsoft said back in 2011 that the 360 was only half way through it’s lifespan. 2 years later, we have a new console. Don’t be so sure on that one. Times change, and so do plans (and so does marketing).

    Part of the point I was trying to make however was that Microsoft’s box IS underpowered. The claim that they can make the Xbox One more powerful with cloud is quite true. That power is only achieved though if a certain set of criteria are met. Broadband + dedicated servers = power. When those servers are eventually shut down, games that utilise that power, in key ways, wont function. And therefore be forever unplayable.

    Also @4, how Halo 2 ended! :’(

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Hcw87

    @7
    I don’t see why they would shut down the servers. They’ll most certainly use them for their next system aswell (which may just be a box which you stream all your games to).

    #8 11 months ago
  9. EducatedFoetus

    @6

    How long do you think Microsoft will keep those dedicated servers running? Because it sure as hell wont be forever. Upgraded maybe. But for use with the next NEXT generation.

    Why keep an old banger running when you can use your resources to keep a new car running?

    #9 11 months ago
  10. EducatedFoetus

    @7

    True. But as i said to @6, how long until the old makes way for the new?

    #10 11 months ago
  11. EducatedFoetus

    By the way, IF Microsoft ends up supporting X1 servers indefinitely, I will eat a keyboard.

    EDIT: On a serious note, I’m only worried about what happens to my collection long after the generation has ended. I’m a collector. I want what I collect to be usable. I’d like to still be able to show my grand kids what Halo 5 was like.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. ddtd

    X1 cloud servers are Azure. MS has been supporting Azure since 2010, so I don’t see why they would suddenly drop support for it when they’ve been pouring billions into it, and it’s used for more than just xbox.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. EducatedFoetus

    @12

    I’m talking 8-10 + years down the line, when Xbox Two (in whatever form it may take) comes out. Xbox One support ending, is inevitable.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. dontbescaredhomie92

    @13
    The way everything is going is clearly digital, the cloud will only grow and evolve and when everybody and everything that’s currently holding it back from achieving it’s full potential catches up and stops living in the past, disk trays will become obsolete and the need to waste raw materials will be laughable.

    On top of this I really don’t see why It wouldn’t become a streaming service with a huge back catalogue of all past and present games, this is the early stages of the true next generation gaming experience.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. DSB

    @16 In business terms maybe, but you can still play games from the 80′s on the PC. That’s pretty cool.

    I don’t think people care enough about backwards compatability to make it a thing, but I would be sad to see it go. A game to me isn’t a service, and I don’t see how making it one serves the games themselves, or me. Although it’s easy to see how it serves publishers.

    Trying to sell a movie as a service or a book as a service would get you laughed out of town, so my fear is that gaming is becoming so heavily monetized that it could end up stuck in the adolescent, arbitrary place it’s at right now, as a medium.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. Phoenixblight

    Was an interesting read. No matter how you feel about it this is happening and it will continue to be the norm. Its up the developers to chose how to go with it.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/202407/Whats_Next_How_gamesasaservice_is_changing_everything.php

    #16 11 months ago
  17. mxmassef

    Hopefully Sony`s gaikai will be as good cloud as microsofts.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. DrDamn

    This is really impressive. I had assumed it was reduced cost. Begs the question why the hell haven’t they been shouting about this rather than ‘powah of the cloud!’?

    Wonder where the cost is offset? Purely Live fees or something in licensing costs? Also all developers? Indie stuff too – including all the little ones? Free to developers … What about publishers?

    Either way end user will just see differtiator in Live vs PS+ cost wise.

    #18 11 months ago
  19. Henry

    @14 Killzone Shadow Fall’s “dedicated servers” are in fact “listen servers”. They don’t host matches, they don’t run game logic. They just forward network traffic. There will still be host advantage. It’s not true “dedicated servers”.

    http://www.destructoid.com/killzone-shadow-fall-boasts-dedicated-servers-262661.phtml

    #19 11 months ago
  20. Henry

    @20 “why the hell haven’t they been shouting about this rather than ‘powah of the cloud!’?”

    I guess this is another new change in policy. I remember Respawn once mentioned that they needed to pay for Titanfall using X1 cloud as dedicated servers.

    #20 11 months ago
  21. DrDamn

    @21
    Where does the host get an advantage? It still has to communicate with all the other players via the server. It just runs scoring/stat tracking, it doesn’t resolve things. The set-up for KZ:SF specifically gets rid of host advantage.

    @22
    Yeah that’s what I’m thinking. This is a good example of a stronger Sony being good for MS players.

    #21 11 months ago
  22. DrDamn

    Bit more detail in a post from Penello on GAF … (worth putting in the article if you have time)

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=86164933&postcount=315

    “Also to be clear. One of the benefits of publishing games on Xbox One – ALL game developers get Dedicated Servers, Cloud Processing, and “storage” (for save games) free.

    If you want to do dedicated servers on other platforms, you have to prop them yourself. But on Xbox One, while developers can choose to use their own methods, we make it available to everyone.

    There should be no confusion on this point. We do not charge developers for Dedicated Servers.

    EDIT: I’m referring to Multi-Player games here. I assumed that in the post, but someone on twitter asked about single-player.”

    #22 11 months ago
  23. Henry

    @23 They said it in the Destructoid article, “The servers don’t run game logic.” “They only forward network traffic”.

    Although they said all the moving, shooting, damages run on your own PS4, those things must be synchronized somewhere. Otherwise the match will fall apart. Two guys shooting at each other at the same time will both see themselves win on their own PS4.

    If their so called “dedicated servers” are not doing the sychronization, it must be the host player’s PS4.

    #23 11 months ago
  24. DrDamn

    @25
    They also said that just mission and scoring logic runs on the ‘host’ PS4. Hits, damage, movement all run locally.

    #24 11 months ago
  25. super3001

    game changer. all games get dedis for free that is best ways and being on azure means servers dont get shutdown after time like shitty mag socom servers they just spin up virtual servers when needed.

    just like this gen multiplayer will be much better on xbl than psn. sony have no clue how to do infrastructure lol

    #25 11 months ago
  26. bradk825

    I had been waiting for news on whether Titanfall would have dedicated servers. I guess now I know, lol. This is a pretty big deal. Dedicated servers for all games on the platform, wow.

    I will never see the words “Migrating host” again after Nov 22. My biggest pet peeve. I don’t know what to say.

    #26 11 months ago
  27. Henry

    @26 So where are these hits, damages, movements being synchronized?
    Where they run is not important. Where they are synchronized is the problem.

    #27 11 months ago
  28. Henry

    @28 Titanfall has been announced using X1 Cloud as dedis long time ago. Respawn said if not using (tons of) dedis it’s impossible to make Titanfall.

    But now MS pushes it even further, offering X1 Cloud as dedis to all publishers/developers, for free.

    #28 11 months ago

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