Windows Azure in Real Time Gaming
The promise of painless scalability and continuous integration on the Cloud resonates well with the gaming industry because of the efficient mechanisms that make it possible for the gamers to enjoy state-of-the-art playing experience while gaming on the Cloud. Windows Azure would be a perfect benchmark for gauging games which have intensive connectivity requirements and frequent event updates as Microsoft’s Xbox One is a perfect fit to demonstrate the value which Cloud capabilities bring for the gamers to fully exploit and experience next generation machine capabilities. Windows Azure media services integrated in Xbox One makes use of Microsoft smooth streaming (MSS) to deplete lags in gameplay. Features like segmented streaming, live downloading and multifarious cloud based services for the users are also the perfect depiction of the cloud based MSS technology. MSS technology works on the small content fragments making it possible for the console to update downloading and playtime of the frames and defragments the incoming chunks of multimedia data from the Cloud. The defragmented data is produced in the form of files in order to revamp the data packets to map optimally on the buffer of Xbox. As Windows Azure Cloud has multilayered support offering within PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) along with datacenter support, the performance and quality of storage, streaming and back up services of the console built on top of this architecture and has deep integration with, opens up a whole new world of opportunities.
Cloud’s evolution in the gaming industry has manifested the benefits of Cloud and the contribution of Azure Cloud is one of the stepping stones towards increased Cloud adoption within gaming, apart from business facing verticals. The compute intensive calculations are offloaded on-the-go which has solved the “lag problem” in gaming. Although there are latency issues, however, effective cloud based database querying techniques and infrastructures like SQL Database, work to create, scale and extend applications into the Cloud using Microsoft SQL Server technology. Xbox One also integrates with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center at the back-end to provide the segmented MSS streaming at different levels. Windows Azure platform also provides strong API built on REST, HTTP, and XML based parsing and cross platform compatibility that helps the gamers to download and play third party games in a much easier way. Indeed, a lot is expected from the next generation gaming consoles which tightly integrate with one of the several Cloud providers. Upcoming gaming consoles are more likely to revolutionize Cloud gaming experience for users and deliver phenomenal new ways and perhaps new verticals within gaming. Keep playing!
By Salman UI Haq