The Cloud (& is it damaging MS)?

#1 Posted by Crash_Happy (653 posts) -

With all the hubub that went on within E3 there were two things that I got tired of pretty quickly. There was the constant mention of clouds, and the constant use of tablets no matter how silly the idea.

Personally it was actually the smartglass thing that got to me the most. Shoehorning in a feature like that seems to me to be doomed from the start although I'll be honest, I'd really like to see a good use for it.

Back to the cloud now though and we have Respawn chatting away about the cloud support and how integral it is, but as they're sat there talking about physics calculations etc I'm sat at home watching thinking 'Er.... servers?'.

Now though apparently they've come out and officially confirmed that it is indeed servers. I can't actually see what's so clever about that? Don't misunderstand I understand what's great about it, just don't try and sell it to me as some new bold idea. Sell it to me as the future of console multiplayer and I'm on board but dress it up in silly terms and I just think you're stupid.

That is though exactly what seems to be happening. Even as the Respawn engineer is being honest about them just using servers he then then elects for some bizarre reason to try and claim that Forza's drivatar (ugh) is completely different.

Clearly I have failed to understand something. I though that what forza was going to do was make a bot that's somewhat based on the player. So it will take certain factors like how late the player brakes, how aggressive they are overtaking, how cleanly they drive and alter the bot's settings so that they are more like you than a plain bot. That then get's uploaded. When another player starts a race my bot may be downloaded and then they play against that (and other peoples).

So. They are using the 'cloud' to store and serve out bots?

If so, hardly cutting edge from a technology point of view. But again I think that the idea is damaged by trying to dress it up. Don't call it the cloud and why god why call them drivatar's?

#2 Posted by BunkerBuster (1042 posts) -

@crash_happy: It's actually pretty simple. The reason they keep pushing the "Cloud" feature is because they own it. It's called, Windows Azure and Wikipedia explains it pretty well. The cloud isn't really there to do amazing things for games that's merely a bonus, they just want as many people using it, either directly or by proxy. Then they can use the numbers to drum up more investors, brag about size, gain market share and what have you.

#3 Posted by YukoAsho (2001 posts) -

@bunkerbuster is right. Azure won't do anything for Xbone. Probably won't do anything ever for anything, as cloud computing (as opposed to streaming) is completely unproven, and honestly unfeasible for large swaths of the country. They're only trying to market it and get us to buy into it so that they can secure more investment to do... Something with it.

However, I do agree that the "cloud" is damaging to the message. Sony doesn't have to make pie-in-the-sky promises because the PS4 is an absolute beast. MS is trying to market the cloud as something that can make the Xbone more powerful, but no one really understands how it'll work in the context of computing for local games. Without a clear statement of how this will help, people have to assume that MS is trying to pull a "blast processing" on people who are far, far older than they were in the Genesis/SNES era.

#4 Edited by Wuddel (2078 posts) -

@crash_happy: Virtual servers. MS has server virtually and literally around the world. When you want to play Titanfall now, MS does not have to dedicate server machines to it. Essentially the xbox will detect you want to play Titanfall online, it will start then the Titanfall server software on a nearby (in terms of ping) server machine, which maybe primarily is used for Office Webapps, and you can play a low latency game with people in your area. That's actually pretty cool.

In Forza its simpler. They store player profile on the server, and they get dealt out to machines. Profiles are things like. Player X has a so and so chance to approach a certain type of curve in such an angle and speed. The cloud features are not something that you would replicate on a local machine. It will not make graphics better etc.

From a technical standpoint the cloud features and Kinect are the big differentiators for the X1. Sony simply does not have cloud infrastructure like this. Then again only Google, MS and maybe Amazon have. Apple probably as well for the iTunes stuff, but they still suck at everything else cloud based. (I am saying this as a long standing Apple customer and "fanboy".)

#5 Posted by Scampbell (486 posts) -

Eurogamer had a fairly through analysis of the potential of the "Cloud" if anyone wants to read it. It's not exactly too impressive.

#6 Posted by YukoAsho (2001 posts) -

Eurogamer had a fairly through analysis of the potential of the "Cloud" if anyone wants to read it. It's not exactly too impressive.

Yeah, definitely sounds like something that's not worth the extra moving parts. I don't expect this to be used in many titles outside of your multiplayer-only games like Titanfall.

#7 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1508 posts) -

I need Watch_Dogs on my tablet. If I'm not protecting people from a tyrannical regime, I CAN'T FEEL ALIVE.

#8 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@alwaysbebombing: what the fuck you talkin about? If your nor playing The Division then you aren't alive.

#9 Posted by Hunkulese (2628 posts) -

People get scared of new things. You can downplay it all you want but it's a pretty great feature. If nothing else it's going to make every multiplayer game better on the Xbox than the PS4.

#10 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@hunkulese: I'm more interested in its uses to odd load stuff from the console. Kinda sounds like what Sim City did....but not a lie.

#11 Posted by SomeJerk (3130 posts) -

The question should be "Will the cloud damage MS?"

From the ways developers speak, it's sounding more and more like an excuse to flag for always-online. Be wary unless a developer says in clear that you can play offline.

#12 Posted by TruthTellah (8414 posts) -

I think it's actually really nice, and I look forward to seeing what developers can do with it. If Microsoft can pull off having consistent server support for all Xbox One games, this could be quite cool. I don't believe it is hurting them; though, we'll only really know once developers start showing what they can do with it. I imagine they won't utilize it for much at first, but if it stays a constant and available part of being on the system, it has potential.

#13 Edited by TheSouthernDandy (3760 posts) -

Having not see it in use on a large scale it's impossible to say if its damaging to MS but I don't see how a new feature is something that's bad. I'd rather be optimistic about it then start talking about why everything sucks. Besides nothing about the XONE could be as damaging as their pr has been.

#14 Posted by Crash_Happy (653 posts) -

Microsoft pr are not fools, but recently it's been such a mess it's hard to believe that.

Tell me something uses the cloud and I just think pr bull, but tell me that host-advantage just went away and that's something I can really get behind. It's a clear and absolute benefit. So I have to assume that they think than 'non-technical' people somehow benefit from using the term. Except in my experience they don't. But Microsoft pr aren't fools, so surely they must have data that shows otherwise?

#15 Posted by Optix12 (609 posts) -

I wonder about this "open up a server near you". If we assume that such a small minority use this cloud system on pc (as at the minute its not enforced to play games but im predicting a games for windows live signup for titanfall like they did this generation with some games) then this only will work with anyone who gets this console. Along with that if you live in the countryside with a very small amount of people playing they have to consider opening a new server for you might just mean a total of 6 people may only play in your area (in the first month or so) Im sure distance between servers will be around separate states. Just a thought which im sure they have already considered.

I also hope that on pc they have custom servers (like battlefield 3) on pc to negate a potential lack of cloud servers

#16 Posted by AlexGlass (688 posts) -

The only thing the cloud is damaging is the image that gamers and nerds are smart and intelligent.

#17 Edited by JCGamer (658 posts) -

While I find Mircosoft's presentation of "the Cloud" a bit disingenuous (driveatar, really?), I find it interesting that Respawn is kind of getting some negative backlash because so far they have been the only developer saying that they actually use the thing. Microsoft's mismanagement of their message was so baldy bungled at E3 that their 3rd party people are getting hate as well. Wonder how long this will last. While not my type of game (suck at competitive multiplayer and prefer single player)-Titanfall looks pretty awesome to me.

#18 Edited by EXTomar (4446 posts) -

It would be no more "damaging" than Nintendo droning on about shaders. Basically the more Microsoft talks about buzzwords in this manner the more they sound like a salesman instead of presenter. People want to listen to presenters and want to ignore salesmen.

As for the actual tech, this is a "no duh" kind of a thing. This is exactly what cloud platforms do. This is exactly the tech and how you would design a modern massively multiplayer game. It would be like Ford saying "in our 2014 vehicles we will use fuel injection!" To bring it back to games, no one who plays EVE or WoW would care if CCP or Blizzard kept talking about "the power of the cloud" where instead the audience wants to know "What features are coming next?" or "How does that look or work?"

#19 Posted by mellotronrules (1171 posts) -

while the term 'the cloud' is largely frustrating (as it's a catchall designed to impress rather than accurately describe)- i think it's a boon. microsoft's online infrastructure has always been robust (at least compared to the console competition, GFWL is another can of worms entirely), so to my mind this integration will only bolster that...no matter what they choose to call it.

although for $60/mo. to access netflix, they had better be building out that service. they've been getting away with highway robbery for far too long.

#20 Edited by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@mellotronrules: It's $60/year - not per month. (And I paid $35 yesterday - thanks, Dealzmodo!) And it's not "for" Netflix - it's for dedicated servers and server maintenance and MS does THAT far better than Sony. I watched a perfect example of this the other day when I stayed up for the new BL2 DLC. Sony rolled out the North American market release and then shut down for maitrnance without putting it up for EU or AUS download. Meanwhile, Evil Old MS (y'know, the company that "hates" everyone but American gamers?) rolled it out to the entire world within an hour of each other, starting in Europe.

Do you, personally, have a Gold subscription?

#21 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@extomar: It's a 'no-duh' thing in our present tech climate, but what other console before this generation had it? Why wouldn't you discuss a feature that no console has provided before?

And between Forza and the stuff we've seen and heard about Titanfall and it's use of "the cloud" I have to believe that if people aren't getting some idea of what is now possible, then it's simply willful ignorance on their part and literally nothing MS does or says at this point will overcome their confirmation bias.

#22 Edited by tourgen (4426 posts) -

Well if they actually plan on using server-side calculations to make cool games then great.

If its just a Trojan horse for online check ins as in Sim City then fuck them.

They aren't providing clear examples of actual implementations and benefits. My money is on trojan single player online checks

#23 Posted by OGinOR (314 posts) -

@tourgen: How have the not provided examples?! There are entire articles on literally every gaming site with the Titanfall devs and how they're using this stuff!

Like I said - willful ignorance.

#24 Posted by EXTomar (4446 posts) -

@oginor said:

@extomar: It's a 'no-duh' thing in our present tech climate, but what other console before this generation had it? Why wouldn't you discuss a feature that no console has provided before?

And between Forza and the stuff we've seen and heard about Titanfall and it's use of "the cloud" I have to believe that if people aren't getting some idea of what is now possible, then it's simply willful ignorance on their part and literally nothing MS does or says at this point will overcome their confirmation bias.

Uh...how do you think all MMOs worked? How do you think Steam worked? How do you think Google.com and Amazon.com work? How do you think the original/pre-CBS Giantbomb.com worked??? All of these things existed before "our present tech climate" along with the original ideas that extend all the way back to the 50s.

Suggesting there is some new insight from Microsoft that suddenly makes it viable for consoles is silly. In fact Microsoft is late to the party (again) where Amazon is actually the trailblazers in the software tech while Google is innovating in hardware configuration for decades along with the foundation in a couple of important Open Source projects.

#25 Edited by OGinOR (314 posts) -

Okay...but MS is doing it for some single player experiences too (see at least Forza...). Also...none of those things you mentioned are a CONSOLE..as I stated above. If you were the first in your industry to do something, you'd talk about it a bit, no? Even if it was tech other people were using, you hype that it's new for you (see WebTV...PS2....PS3...). That's Marketing 101.

Motion controls weren't a new idea when Nintendo released the Wii, but they were new to consoles and they helped Nintendo move a lot of product in their industry. Quite often with tech, it's not just about the individual functions, but the box they're put in and the markets that are opened by introducing that tech to a new audience.

#26 Posted by Crash_Happy (653 posts) -

@oginor said:

@tourgen: How have the not provided examples?!

Because 'they' are MS not Respawn?

I have to assume that Respawn were essentially prevented from being too specific at E3. MS will have wanted to present a particular message, that's not evil or wrong or restricted to MS of course and when it works well it actually helps because it prevents confusion. That didn't happen this time around unfortunately and the term 'cloud' became one of the points people focused on.

I don't think it's a helpful descriptor in anyone's mind, other than maybe PR.

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