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Microsoft says Xbox One games can offload computing to Azure cloud

Could indirectly result in requiring an always connected games console
Tue May 28 2013, 13:30

CONSOLE DEVELOPER Microsoft has claimed that its Azure public cloud service will make the upcoming Xbox One games console "more and more powerful" as it offloads computing to the cloud.

Microsoft's Xbox One was announced last week and while the firm didn't reveal too much information on the AMD chip inside the console other than it is an eight-core processor, much of the chatter was that the chip wasn't quite as powerful as the AMD part that will power Sony's PS4.

Now Microsoft claims that the chip inside the Xbox One won't be the only computing device, with latency insensitive computing being offloaded to the firm's Azure cloud service.

Microsoft's Azure cloud service already powers Xbox Live and it seems the new Microsoft games console will allow games developers to offload certain gameplay aspects onto the cloud. Dan Greenawalt, creative director of Xbox Turn 10 Studios said of the Xbox One, "It's connected to the cloud and this gives us as creators the ability to offload some of the processing that we would use.... So we can move things: Physics. AI. Worlds. We can move incredible rendering capabilities to the cloud, and that means this box is going to evolve."

Boyd Multerer, partner director of development for the Xbox at Microsoft said, "[The next generation console] isn't just about having lots of transistors local, it's also about having transistors in the cloud. [...] Let's start moving those insensitive loads off to the cloud, freeing up local resources and effectively over time your box gets more and more powerful. This is completely unlike previous generations."

Microsoft's decision to increasingly rely on its Azure cloud to power various Xbox services is not surprising but it does put extra demands on gamers' internet connections.

The firm has already been bitten by pre-announcement talk that the Xbox One would have to be always connected in order to play games, and depending on how much games rely on Azure, that will might well be the case for certain titles along with bandwidth and latency requirements that could be a problem for those who do not have access to high bandwidth connections close to Microsoft's Azure datacenters. µ


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