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Xbox One: cloud-based backwards compatibility would be “problematic,” says Penello

Friday, 8th November 2013 11:47 GMT By Dave Cook

Xbox One isn’t backwards compatibility, but while the prospect of cloud-based Xbox 360 streaming is absolutely viable, Microsoft’s Albert Penello has explained why right now, it’s “problematic.”

It follows Microsoft 12-minute Xbox One dashboard presentation. Watch it through the link.

Speaking with Polygon, Penello commented on leaked internal stream tests at Microsoft, which saw Halo 4 running on PC. He stressed that it was purely a test and not indicative of any incoming announcements.

He explained, “In the world of things I wish they had not shown at the Company Meeting because I knew I’d be asked about it later, put that at the top of my list. That is a good example, in certain circumstances [the cloud streaming] worked really awesome.”

As we’ve seen with Shuhei Yoshida’s concern over European broadband as a platform for Sony’s PS4 streaming tech Gaikai, Penello raised similar doubts. “It’s really cool and really problematic, all at the same time, insofar as it’s really super cool if you happen to have the world’s most awesome internet connection. It works way better than you’d expect it to,” Penello continued.

“So managing quality of service, the tolerance people will have for it being crappy. Can you imagine, in this day and age, with the bad information around, and we can’t control the quality of that experience and make sure it’s good, or have to tell people they can’t do it?”

It’d be a nightmare that’s for sure, so it makes sense to hold off for now. However, Penello added of the Halo 4 test, “It was a grand experiment, I know we did a lot of work behind it, and we said this is one of the things where the network just has to get better before we can do it. When that happens, you’re going to have a really interesting conversation around that, can I actually run Xbox One games that way as well.”

Would you like to see Microsoft offer Xbox 360 game streaming on Xbox One? Let us know what you think below.

Xbox One is out November 22.

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18 Comments

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  1. monkeygourmet

    I really wouldn’t want to play a AAA 360 / PS3 game streamed.

    I just don’t think a game like Uncharted would have the same impact if the expereince wasn’t at least the same as it was on the PS3.

    Just do 1080p / 60fps remasters if you have to. I gladly buy Uncharted again if it was 1080p / 60FPS.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. AmiralPatate

    If the service was available on PC without paying for XBL or PSN, I’d use it.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Hcw87

    With the current gen consoles still getting support and games for years, i don’t plan on getting rid of my 360 anyway.

    I’ll just plug it into my XB1 and i can switch to it whenever.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. Nephilimator

    This is the same story for the cloud compute potential. It does not exist unless you have fiber based internet which is probably less then 5% of the united states. Cloud can’t do shit when you have 50 ms latency to their data center.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. Super Girevik

    Would emulation be out of the question? Because being forced to own current and next-gen hardware is not appealing to me.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. VibraniumSpork

    What confuses me about this is how Sony have old PS3 games like Flower, Trine 2 and Sound Shapes launching for PS4, and which are being made free under Cross Buy for those who previously bought them. I can’t imagine the developers of those games have had to rebuild them from the ground up just to make them work on next-gen; isn’t the original code just being emulated or automatically translated somehow for the new system?

    The impression I get from MS (and Sony too, to some extent) is that this kind of process is an unsustainable development nightmare and is not the answer to backwards compatibility. Seems to be working out okay for Flower et al’s guys though…if developers want to make their 360 games available on XB1, what’s stopping them and why?

    (Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about the intricacies of game development, console tech and coding, so please be gentle ^_^)

    #6 8 months ago
  7. tenthousandgothsonacid

    @6 The games you mention all run on Sony’s own Phyre engine. I’m guessing they’ve just implemented it on the PS4.

    There probably hasn’t been any dev involvement at all.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. VibraniumSpork

    @7 Ah, I see (kinda ^_^). Good intel, thanks buddy!

    #8 8 months ago
  9. HalfBlackCanuck

    @4 The ESRAM storage capability with DX11.1 allows for some highly compressed texture storage etc. that can be processed in the cloud and uploaded as the game starts and continue to trickle in as the game plays. The cloud processing isn’t “on the fly” for every function, so this is possible now. That said, I think this is where MS PR may be correct in reaffirming to people that the machine is built to take advantage of future infrastructure (how many more people enjoy high speed internet compared to 5 years ago?)

    #9 8 months ago
  10. dangerousbrian0

    Hhe most funniest thing about all this backwards compatabilty being unable to be done on the xbox one is complete crap what is microsofts major fortay that they mostly deal in.Can anyone guess its software which windows is. Yet what type of processers is windows running on why its x86 processers so that is ballshit.Microsoft with every generation just wants their consumers just to jump ship when they say.I bet everyone now even though microsoft have said they will support xbox 360 for the next 3 years still they will drop it like a stone because they will want their consumers to jump to next gen.I think they should just do it via emulators isnt that what xbox 360 does.Ok it doesnt do it very well thats because microsoft wasnt truly thinking about backwards compatability when they were designing the 360 as in their minds they were expecting every consumer of theirs to have the mentality of xbox what.

    #10 8 months ago
  11. Nephilimator

    @9 Latency and bandwidth are two different things. I could feed that ESRAM with 150Mbit business class comcast but since I’m still going to be at least 30-50ms latency (in a great scenario none the less) it don’t mean jack. Game engines run on time windows of single digit ms. Is your game just going to have a ‘pause’ screen on it every 30ms while the engine waits to be fed information from the cloud? Cloud computing enhancing *REALTIME* aspects of a game is a bunch of PR bullshit.

    #11 8 months ago
  12. Riseer

    I used Gaikai i thought it was pretty good,sure it’s not perfect, but i think it will only get better over time.

    #12 8 months ago
  13. Riseer

    @11,I agree the whole cloud thing is stupid.Everyone knows that you can’t use it to render complicated effects.I know Nvidia has a cloud base particle system that uses cloud compute,but we have no idea what kind of connection was used to get those effects.

    #13 8 months ago
  14. viralshag

    The problem with broadband infrastructure in the UK is there is very very few people on true fiber and you’re still limited by the copper wires in the ground. Unless you’re a business or very rich with a dedicated line.

    Luckily, broadband tech is moving forward and soon you’ll have much stronger wireless broadband on offer that will easily give you the same speed as fiber.

    #14 8 months ago
  15. Hcw87

    There are some low demand stuff that theoretically could run on the cloud (stuff that aren’t in the field of view, far off in the distance for example) like shadows etc. Not everything needs to be loaded instantly if you don’t notice it loading at all anyway.

    #15 8 months ago
  16. fearmonkey

    It’s one thing to run Halo 4 on a PC or a phone, and then another to let everyone in the world do it. It would require MS to invest in a Nvidia Grid like system, and Azure which the MS cloud is based on, is really just distributed computing across many virtual servers.

    They would have to really build up the infrastructure to support it for mass use, and I don’t think MS feels it’s worth it. They have their own software and will focus on it’s use.

    I have heard rumors that they were looking to build a Gaikai like service, and that was hinted at in the leaked MS documents that by 2015, games could be streamed from the cloud. I’m not sure that MS will actually invest in that though.

    #16 8 months ago
  17. antraxsuicide

    @16 They had a big party for the Onlive team after that got shut down, but I can’t find anything on whether or not they went and hired any of them.

    #17 8 months ago
  18. DSB

    I like the popcorn factor in watching the Xbox One though. I’m hugely sceptical about the cloud personally, but that’s what makes it cool. It can really only end up as either an amazing innovation, or a crippling disaster. There’s not really any chance of it just doing “well enough, I guess”.

    Catastrophic failure or glorious triumph. All in, baby.

    So even with all of their Benny Hill antics, at least Microsoft keep things interesting from an observer point of view.

    #18 8 months ago