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Xbox One cloud updates may reboot host server mid-session, says Microsoft exec

Wednesday, 6th November 2013 12:16 GMT By Dave Cook

Xbox One’s cloud framework will update on a regular basis and this could lead to the host system rebooting mid-session, according to Xbox Live lead program manager at Microsoft John Bruno.

Bruno hosted a presentation at GDC Next yesterday entitled “On Demand Compute: Power For Games,” and IGameResponsibly was apparently there to hear what he had to say.

During the session, Bruno said that cloud-based system Xbox Live Compute has been in development for 18 months and is derived from Windows Azure tech. He conceded that the tech initially received criticsm from publishers such as Ubisoft early on, but that Respawn Entertainment was an easier sell.

Now, the studio is using Xbox Live Compute to offload many facets of Titanfall’s online play to the cloud, such as NPC AI, an more.

Touching on the issue of the Xbox One’s cloud-based updates Bruno explained, “Once in a while, rather frequently actually, the host OS will require an update, meaning the physical machine is going to get rebooted, whether your code is running or not. That’s a problematic thing for a game, and is oftentimes is in the middle of a multiplayer session, we’ve worked very hard to overcome that, but that’s not to say it’s going to be a reality in every case.”

This could be very problematic indeed. The site pressed Bruno on this issue and asked how disruptive these updates will be given Titanfall’s status as an online-only release. They also asked him about the worst-case scenario of Microsoft’s cloud servers failing altogether.

He replied, “I can’t answer that. I don’t know what the guys over at Titanfall have built into their game. It’s up to the game developer. If they want to rely more on our XBLC service, we’re happy to support that. We do provide a platform for them to persist data, but that’s up to the developer to utilize that.”

It begs the question of Titanfall’s performance without the cloud. Will it still run without cloud servers?

What do you think?

Thanks LegendaryBoss.

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78 Comments

  1. Panthro

    But that should be OK, because you can turn your xbox back on so fast you shouldn’t even notice that it was off in the first place…

    Right?

    http://www.vg247.com/2013/11/04/xbox-one-will-turn-on-faster-than-your-tv-while-in-stand-by-mode/

    #1 9 months ago
  2. absolutezero

    As long as it actually gives a little heads up when it does this, a pop-up or something similar to Windows Update I see no problem with it.

    Fuck it just cutting out in the middle of a game because it d-loaded something in the background.

    #2 9 months ago
  3. Major Mayhem 70

    Now this is some bull shiggady. You mean to tell me your in mid game and all of a sudden your system reboots. Somebody better get to work on this.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. VibraniumSpork

    Forced console re-boots in the middle of MP games…whatever will those crazy guys over at Microsoft dream up next?

    #4 9 months ago
  5. Panthro

    Will The Cloud fix this?

    I’m pretty sure that in some way The Cloud will fix this.

    The Cloud can do everything.

    All hail The Cloud.

    #5 9 months ago
  6. monkeygourmet

    It’s official :

    PC gaming is now less hassle than ‘console’ gaming…

    #6 9 months ago
  7. Fin

    @6

    Er, not even close.

    #7 9 months ago
  8. ninjanutta

    sounds like another monumental fuckup by MS and this guy just got sacked lol

    #8 9 months ago
  9. Legendaryboss

    @5
    http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/222/9/f/all_hail_the_glow_cloud__gif__by_piperwolf201-d6hkb0l.gif

    #9 9 months ago
  10. KineticCalvaria

    Well he’s a bit late for April fools isn’t he.

    #10 9 months ago
  11. VibraniumSpork

    @5 Also, this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXXltTsQawY

    #11 9 months ago
  12. monkeygourmet

    @7

    My friend helped me build a PC, install windows and I was gaming in 2 hours…

    How long do you think it’ll take before you set up and install all your patches / games and actually start playing them on Xbone / PS4…?

    The difference is marginal now, unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand when it comes to PC gaming.

    #12 9 months ago
  13. kingofscotland

    So they ofload a bunch of tasks like AI to the cloud but can still only reach 720p??????

    And how can you offload something like Ai to the cloud – what if you have no connection? What happens to the AI, textures etc then????

    #13 9 months ago
  14. DrDamn

    When I first read this I read it as the Cloud server getting an OS update and rebooting – not the X1. “the host OS” – that doesn’t sound like your console.

    Which then brings me on to “Will The Cloud fix this?” … well no because this is the cloud. It’s up to the game to manage this – somehow re-hosting on a different cloud server?

    #14 9 months ago
  15. DrDamn

    @MG
    You’ve bought this up a couple of times the key point you’re glossing over is “My friend helped me …”. At launch the updates on X1 and PS4 may take a little while to download and apply, but I’m pretty sure I won’t need a friend to help me do it ;).

    #15 9 months ago
  16. Hcw87

    @12
    The difference is you probably paid as much as both XB1 and PS4 combined to build that PC.

    On topic: Windows update reboots your PC automatically aswell, but you can extend the reboot timer, or just reboot manually whenever you want. This will hopefully be the case here aswell, since this article is ”cloudy” on this subject.

    #16 9 months ago
  17. Legendaryboss

    @15
    Ointment. Burn. Game. Set and match.

    #17 9 months ago
  18. absolutezero

    MUH COMFY COUCH

    #18 9 months ago
  19. Pug

    He states the HOST machine may need a reboot, is this not the server in Microsoft’s data centre running the code? If so this articles headline is completely misleading as this would not be rebooting the xbox at all.

    There are also many things that can be done in order to prevent this issue in most cases on their end (which he says they are working to do).

    Can we have a clarification of this from the writer?

    Lets face it, a dropped session in a MP game is not exactly unheard of.

    #19 9 months ago
  20. Hcw87

    Actually, the thread title and content is pretty much wrong here.

    ”Once in a while, rather frequently actually, the host OS will require an update, meaning the physical machine is going to get rebooted, whether your code is running or not.”

    ^
    Which means the SERVER will need a reboot (like an MMO/BF4 servers etc), NOT your XB1 console.

    Got confused myself, but the thread title is simply wrong.

    @19
    Exactly.

    #20 9 months ago
  21. monkeygourmet

    @15

    Of course! ;) I could make it even quicker and just purchase a pre built machine. In which case I guarantee it’ll be quicker to get up and running than a new console.

    The point I’m making is the gap is almost non existent now (bar price). The gap used to be much larger because of patches, internet connection, peripheral set up, etc… etc…

    Now that consoles require very much the same (or worse) ‘tinkering’, makes PC gaming a lot more easy and attractive.

    I’m only going on personal experience here, STEAM is much more efficient, cheaper and easier to use than any of the offerings on console.

    Consoles used to be plug and play. Can you still call them that without blushing? Of course not. Even the Wii U took a good 2 hours to get up and running in a lot of cases.

    #21 9 months ago
  22. Dave Cook

    @19 Correct. Updated headline and intro.

    #22 9 months ago
  23. Hcw87

    @21
    Don’t forget the OS updates/installing web browsers/AV etc.

    You don’t build a PC and start playing immediately.

    #23 9 months ago
  24. Ireland Michael

    Teh power of teh cloud

    “Now, the studio is using Xbox Live Compute to offload many facets of Titanfall’s online play to the cloud, such as NPC AI”

    So like I said months ago, it’s just like every server in every online game ever then? Except you have to go through Microsoft and it’s hideously less versatile or user friendly.

    #24 9 months ago
  25. Jammy

    Keep hearing how Titanfall is using the cloud for AI. What are we talking about here, are we looking at Planetside 2 numbers of human players and equal amounts of AI during games?
    Are they just using it to track or spawn AI in areas of the map?
    How does this affect the rendering needs to show all those AI on your screen?

    #25 9 months ago
  26. Pug

    @22 Cheers for the clarification :)

    #26 9 months ago
  27. Dave Cook

    @26 no problem, and thanks for flagging. I would have missed that otherwise.

    #27 9 months ago
  28. Joe Musashi

    DrDamn, as usual, brings up a very pertinent detail.

    The machine (possibly) being rebooted doesn’t sound like it’s going to be the console sitting under your TV but the server machine running the cloud service.

    Given the context of the person saying this and the event it’s being said at – this may not be something that impacts the end user significantly.

    Presumably, incorporating a deferred reboot and pushing processing the load from one server onto another would minimise service disruption.

    EDIT: Oh, looks like I’m lttp.

    JM

    #28 9 months ago
  29. monkeygourmet

    @23

    Of course not but that was incredibly quick and painless. As I said I was playing a demo of Grid 2 on my TV with a 360 pad within 2 hours of building the machine from scratch, installing the OS, installing Steam and any updates that were required.

    Simply put, PC gaming is not that complicated now. Even ‘advanced’ features like modding are a piece of piss because there is a mod manager.

    #29 9 months ago
  30. Joe Musashi

    Tinkering with PCs is half the fun!

    JM

    #30 9 months ago
  31. Panthro

    @29

    People who are ignorant towards how streamlined PCs have become will never be taught these things.

    They all still think installing a driver updates and games are complicated, these days its almost as simple as a console update, a few windows.. click ok and done.

    With steam though, installing a game is basically a 1 click thing.

    #31 9 months ago
  32. viralshag

    A MP game crashing midway through a match!? Well that’s completely unheard of before…

    If you’ve never played an online MP game in your life.

    #32 9 months ago
  33. Hcw87

    @31
    Complicated? No. Takes time though? Yes.

    It’s ignorant to think that building a PC and getting it up and running is quicker than getting the XB1 or PS4 up and running at launch.

    Now if you were comparing it to the WiiU though, i get the point.

    #33 9 months ago
  34. viralshag

    @31, So me having to go into the device manager to turn off some drivers so that Windows didn’t think I was playing LEGO Marvel on a touch screen device (which I’m obviously not) wasn’t problematic? On a Steam game too.

    The PC IS better than it was but it’s far from perfect.

    #34 9 months ago
  35. monkeygourmet

    @30

    The tinkering is indeed an added bonus!

    @31

    Yep, it’s sad really. Because people are used to consoles, they accept new more intrusive features as part of the deal.

    Fact is, there is now nothing in it apart from price. I’m using a TV right off the bat, my GPU has a HDMI output so it’s exactly the same ease of use as gaming on a console.

    #35 9 months ago
  36. shloob

    This simply means the cloud server will reboot ( which is not uncommon) Not your at home physical console. More than likely it will simply shift servers. Once again people making something out of nothing. Lets just wait for these consoles to actually release before we start freaking out on each other.

    #36 9 months ago
  37. Templar_Dante

    wait..,
    What.
    WHAT?

    #37 9 months ago
  38. DrDamn

    @34
    +1

    It has got a hell of a lot better, but it is still problematic and when there are problems they are a lot harder to solve than simply waiting for a dev to patch it. Especially if your hardware is a little bit different somewhere along the line.

    #38 9 months ago
  39. DrDamn

    @35
    Just out of interest what was your total spend?

    #39 9 months ago
  40. monkeygourmet

    @33

    I’m am genuinely keen to see how long it takes to plug a PS4 in, do the system updates, put Killzone in the machine, install it (and maybe a Day 1 updates), then actually play the game…

    Even with updates going on in the background I have a feeling it’s going to be a surprising wait… :)

    #40 9 months ago
  41. Cobra951

    Sounds like a monumental crock of crap to me. Anyone reaching into my home and hitting the reset button on my hardware is going to get some scathing hate.

    #41 9 months ago
  42. Panthro

    @33

    I never said that, but people largely exaggerated just how ‘complicated’ a PC may be.

    I bet I could get a pre-built PC with windows already installed (like a console) up and running with a PC-DVD game before I could get the console running with a game, since the consoles require mandatory updates.

    How long do you take to install a driver exactly? It takes me under 10 minutes before its finished with a reboot.

    And they are all optional so your not forced to download or install them if you don’t want them.

    @34

    Sure, that sucks ass. PC’s aren’t completely problem free; but neither are consoles, and usually the problems to do with a PC can be fixed yourself rather than having to wait for a patch.

    #42 9 months ago
  43. viralshag

    @38, Exactly. I had to turn things off manually in order to get something to work, which I then have to manually turn on again.

    It’s not hard and yes a Google search helped me fix my problem but it was far from “Hey, I turned my PC on and in a couple of minutes I was playing a new game!”

    And when it comes to playing it like a console, there’s still plenty of games that COULD have pad support and don’t. Not even BF4 has full pad support in the actual game menus.

    #43 9 months ago
  44. monkeygourmet

    @39

    About £900 all in all.

    Basically the same price as PS4 & Xbone and a game each. (Which was what I was originally going for)

    Sod’s law hit hard though and the GTX 780 dropped in price by £100 or so just after I bought it ;) I think you could do a similar build with a cheaper case for around £750 – £800 now.

    As much as the initial outlay stings, the Steam sales are rapidly saving me money on the gaming side of it.

    #44 9 months ago
  45. Pug

    @41 … please reread the corrected headline.

    Determined to stop this already as it was already out there we may be fighting a losing battle.

    This is the host machine, therefore this is the server in the data centre.. chances are you are never going to notice this as they could postpone the reboot whilst a load balancer allows new games to be started on other servers before rebooting the effected one (amongst other techniques).

    What the developer said, and what has been assumed are very far apart. The writer has corrected the article so please check it again.

    #45 9 months ago
  46. DreadSabot

    @VG247

    This is the most idiotic article I have seen this week. Server updates are not arbitrarily done on Xbox live same as any other production system. they are done during specific maintenance windows. As always whenever maintenance is due a notification will be sent out to inform everyone that Live and in the case Cloud Services will be down from this time to that time.

    I highly doubt any coperation would just bring down a production server without warning. But hey nice try with that flame bait!

    @13 lets see… devs from COD and BF4 cannot get the X1 to 1080p due to a number of reasons – most being due to APIs not available and optimized at the time they were developing I guess. Yet EA and 2K had no problem hitting the target. Note -games look great at either case.And note unless you have a 50+ inch 120 mhz tv – you wont know the difference anyway – if you do like me cheers – but again 720p looks plenty fine on my tvs. But yet you say it like no games on X1 are 1080p

    As for the cloud – the offloading of AI to the Cloud will only affect an online game. In the case of Drivatars if you are not connected you get the base AI from the disc. If you are connected then you get the smarter learning AI that is recalculated based on actual player data.

    #46 9 months ago
  47. Dave Cook

    @46 We sourced another site that wrote the original article. Go moan at them.

    Also, the Microsoft chap himself said that this could interrupt play.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    Just saying.

    #47 9 months ago
  48. RageOfThorn

    We already know all about Microsofts polished turd.

    There will be a bunch of people buy this junk straight out of the starting gate, then realise a bit to late they bought a piece of junk. The trade in rate at the game stores will go so high they will stop excepting them by the looks of the way things are heading.

    I think this system is going to tank harder than any console in history.

    Trust me folks, I hate it, because I was looking forward to some great gameplay experiences from both consoles this coming era, but sadly I can’t buy into trash. Ive been with Xbox since the first one, but things change, and this Cloud garbage is for the worse.

    Right now its Sony’s time to shine by the look of it, and I will be looking forward to the development and launch of Valve’s new hardware.

    #48 9 months ago
  49. RageOfThorn

    Im glad you put this article up, keep up the good work as always Dave.

    Its not your fault that people want to be blind to the truth. The manchildren and petty little girls will always whine.

    Let them go waste that hard earned, or mommy and daddy’s cash, but Im glad you guys inform the masses.

    #49 9 months ago
  50. ysleiro

    @dave cook and @legendaryboss

    You guys are just trolling the Xbox. Own it. Don’t deny it.

    Any serious gamer or individual that frequents tech sites on the daily should have easily understood the gentleman was talking about the servers.

    So I expect someone that WRITES for a gaming blog to at the very least have a better understanding of the subject matter than your average gamer.

    #50 9 months ago
  51. Dave Cook

    @50 What are you talking about? I like the Xbox One and PS4. They’re both great machines.

    Also, I have to write this in big letters because it’s apparently not clear enough – WE DIDNT WRITE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE, ‘I GAME RESPONSIBLY’ DID. WE’RE JUST REPORTING ON WHAT THEY SAW AT GDC NEXT. WE AREN’T TROLLING ANYONE, JUST REPORTING ON WHAT SOMEONE AT MICROSOFT ACTUALLY SAID.

    Jesus fucking christ alive.

    #51 9 months ago
  52. Legendaryboss

    @50
    I have nothing to do with your sad misinterpretation on what i said which wasn’t about Xbox One, if your referring to the nongif comment. Keep hating.

    #52 9 months ago
  53. monkeygourmet

    @52

    What did you say?

    #53 9 months ago
  54. Panthro

    @51

    Your clearly trolling us with your love for PS Dave, such a fanboy.

    Your as bad as Erthazus.

    http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1y7snjiJI1rsh86do1_250.gif

    #54 9 months ago
  55. Legendaryboss

    @53
    Great question because all i said was one short sentence, maybe hes associating me as credit for Dave finding the article .

    #55 9 months ago
  56. Dave Cook

    @54 total fanboy yeah. I should be strung up from the nearest tree and pelted with bags of Doritos until I die from it.

    #56 9 months ago
  57. Dave Cook

    @55 maybe yeah, but more fool him tbh

    #57 9 months ago
  58. Panthro

    @57

    I was kidding, if you clicked the link you would have seen that ;)

    That wouldn’t be such a bad death though.

    #58 9 months ago
  59. N2O1990

    @dave
    Maybe you should check the whole original article carefully next time,before post any news

    #59 9 months ago
  60. DSB

    This is really the biggest worry I have about the Xbone. It’s really not the services themselves or the power, fuck power, but I just don’t see why Microsoft would succeed in making the cloud work when everybody else has failed.

    Maybe that’s very reactionary, but with a 100% failure rate outside of maybe WoW or Guild Wars 2, I’m just seriously apprehensive about it.

    #60 9 months ago
  61. N2O1990

    @DSB

    Where you get the “cloud failed” thing from?cloud market is pretty big now
    MMO=/=cloud,you know

    #61 9 months ago
  62. Dave Cook

    @59 I did check it all, thanks.

    I’m just not the most technically minded person. When it said ‘Host OS,’ I thought it meant if you – the player – were hosting the multiplayer session.

    Hope this helps clarify the thought process.

    #62 9 months ago
  63. ysleiro

    @Dave Cook so just because some source says something you feel justified to repeat their statements?

    Okay so maybe you aren’t trolling. However repeating statements without verification, fact checking or thoroughly reading the source (THE FREAKING CLARIFICATION WAS IN THE COMMENT SECTION) can be perceived as irresponsible writing by some.

    My 2 cents.

    #63 9 months ago
  64. Legendaryboss

    @63
    And me?

    #64 9 months ago
  65. DSB

    @61 Assassins Creed 2, Silent Hunter 5, Settlers 7, Diablo 3, Simcity 5, Gaikai, Onlive.

    Basically every major foray into it. And the thing that makes it really creepy is that most of those games weren’t actually using cloud to any major capacity, they just still managed to render their games unplayable as a result of it. In some cases you were basically looking at periodic online checks and cloud saves.

    Settlers 7 had broken, crashing and lagging multiplayer, Assassins Creed 2 had broken cloud saves, Silent Hunter 5 was barely stable, Diablo 3 kept kicking people out of the game for a month, Simcity 5 was fundamentally broken, and Gaikai and Onlive were both, at best, hoping to get bought out, because their services weren’t functional enough to be a main attraction for anyone.

    I can’t speak for WoW exactly, but I’m pretty sure most modern MMOs run a cloud system where a realm or a service is running off a cluster rather than a single rack. So the system doesn’t fail simply because “a” server does.

    #65 9 months ago
  66. Panthro

    OK everyone, Dave made a mistake get over it.

    The way some of you are going on you would think you all never make mistakes Jesus.

    #66 9 months ago
  67. N2O1990

    @DSB
    What the hell is this

    Cloud is online service,developer don’t need to make a game require online to available the cloud service

    A game with single and mp play at same time,and don’t require online also can use cloud service when the player online

    #67 9 months ago
  68. Dragon

    OK kids, what are we talking about?
    :P

    #68 9 months ago
  69. ysleiro

    @Lengendaryboss I thought you found the article and since I didn’t see you correct the mistake in the comment section I assumed you were also equally incorrect.

    My apologies if this isn’t the case.

    #69 9 months ago
  70. Legendaryboss

    @69
    It is their job, not my job. Their mistake not mine. All i did was find it.

    Plus i ain’t obligated to correct articles i find, look at the reporter/gamer.

    #70 9 months ago
  71. Dave Cook

    @70 +1

    #71 9 months ago
  72. FrankJaeger

    The power of the Cloud!?
    http://i.minus.com/isKBX4zBfhr0Z.gif

    #72 9 months ago
  73. Cobra951

    Ah, hell. Yes, I read “host system” in the report, and I know what that usually means. But I let the comments section alarm me into thinking they were talking about the end user’s hardware. If I had read a little further, I would not be redfaced right now. My bad. Apologies for Post #41.

    #73 9 months ago
  74. N2O1990

    lol thing just go even more stupid now
    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/11/06/xbox-one-cloud-updates-may-force-mid-game-reboot

    Look at all these comments

    #74 9 months ago
  75. Fin

    This whole story is ridiculous, and is why I don’t trust news coming out of previously-unheard-of game sites.

    Sometimes servers need to be patched. Sometimes these patches require reboots. I’ve never had to patch a server which has mandated an immediate reboot.
    Ideally, devs will make sure players are migrated off servers, so they can be patched and rebooted when empty. It’s not Microsoft’s responsibility to ensure this, they just deal with whether the servers are patched. As they’re not responsible, they can’t guarantee that devs will always empty them.

    This is what the guy was trying to say, and when it creates this kind of shitstorm, I can see why devs normally just say “We’re not talking about that right now”.

    #75 9 months ago
  76. POOhead

    people complaining about an update that emoves you halfway through a game? you sad cunt have to much time tbh

    #76 9 months ago
  77. DSB

    @72 I think I’m in love with your gif, sir.

    #77 9 months ago
  78. ysleiro

    @Legendaryboss yeah it is their mistake. Not yours.

    But at the same time it also reveals you know next to nothing about the technical aspect of gaming.

    I’ll keep it in mind next time I see one of your opinions on a technical matter.

    #78 9 months ago

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