Gaming Industry Heads in the Cloud
Streaming movies has become the bread and butter of online entertainment and it seems that many others companies are meaning to jump on this trend of instant access. Now Netflix has created their own television series that are strictly online, music can be streamed like a radio giving you the option to pick the songs you want to with Spotify, and now Microsoft and Sony are trying to do the same with video games. With the new Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 releasing at the end of the year Microsoft and Sony have jumped on the bandwagon to download games direct to your console. I am sure they are going to act like they are a convenient and normal way to download movies and music too, but let’s be serious folks; it will mostly have to do with downloading games instead of buying discs. Now future generations have the opportunity to slowly wait for a game to disappear from their hard drive when they are angry at a game, instead of the time old tradition of taking a flame throwing to the disc after you bitten it because you couldn’t mater the back flip off the waterfall in the ice level while shooting Nazi Zombie’s with your prototype laser cannon all the while your anthropomorphic bear friends waits at the bottom with the escape hovercraft. Of course if they are trying to kick out your granddad’s disc based games they are going to either rapidly expand the memory capacities of their console, which is really expensive, or move to a dedicated cloud system to free up computing space on the console.
More specifically Microsoft’s Xbox One is taking on a more focused role with the cloud computing with Windows Azure and giving the console a little more extra processing power, claiming that it will improve the look of the games. So, three cheers for Microsoft understanding the future! While the PlayStation 4 is more or less using the cloud technology to simply download games to your PS4, and let others play your game for you because Sony announced that using the cloud would not improve the graphics on the system and thus not worth using for that particular reason. So furthermore… wait a minute. So one company says that cloud computing will improve the graphics of their games and be able to constantly update the technology of the box and the other says it can’t do that. Now I am not a console expert but I am thinking that one of those two have to be wrong. Now, before I go off spouting wild accusations about the integrity of a faceless, giant, lawfully a person (for some reason) corporation I should get my facts straight.
Microsoft has recently come out to claim that their cloud network has expanded to 300,000 different servers for their cloud based computing systems for North America. This means that with your Xbox One you will be able to connection with any number of servers if the game you are playing has online components. If that is the case certain processing powers will have the ability to render on the cloud giving the gaming console the ability to free up memory to improve graphics and flow of a game. Of course it goes without saying that cloud computing may take a bit longer to render a landscape than what video gamers maybe use to since it would have to connect to an offsite server and not already have the console do the needed processing functions. Then again as many of you know based on the popular trends of console rendering power with games, many detail oriented concepts don’t need to be constantly updated as the character moves through the virtual world. Lighting is a good example of how the game uses a complex calculation to create the light of the game but the calculation remains constant through the level thus moving the rendering to the cloud will free up more space on the console for greater graphics power or better frames rates. Of course this will only be the case if the developers of a game for the Xbox One have an online component and you are also connected to high speed internet. So it is a step in the right direction if what Microsoft is claiming will come to fruition when their Xbox One comes out.
When it comes to Sony, well they don’t seem to be as ambitious with putting their eggs in the computing basket. Basically Sony is using the cloud for more social media and game storage. Already their cloud system is used to download games to your server to play on your console as well as social media components for online play, and the PlayStation 4 will expand that with sharing video clips of your game and allowing others to play your game for you. So they aren’t exactly breaking new ground but more or less maintaining what they already have with the PlayStation 3.
Okay, well both are using cloud computing, but I am wondering which system will succeed in the expansion of cloud technology. It seems that Microsoft is leading the way to really exercise the abilities of the cloud servers they created. If my crystal ball is any sense of how the future will progress Microsoft is really taking a larger step forward than Sony and if the Xbox One can out do their competition with more advancement it seems that the corporate world of the free market nature will look towards more expansive uses in cloud technology. Of course if you aren’t into my 100% truthful fortune telling abilities then just look at any corporate technology. Whatever works will become the accepted norm and with what Microsoft is doing seems to be on the right side of cloud technology with its more expansive nature with their new product. So do you think Sony will follow suit, or do you think people are still too scared to actually do what is good for them in the name of change?
By Chris Kenealy