The Five Possible States Of Xbox One Games Are Strangely Exciting

Both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One will bring console gaming to the present this year by allowing users to suspend the games they're playing. Save points can be a thing of the past on these consoles. Games don't really have to be turned "off".

We reported as much about the Xbox One a few months ago. Sony then promised these kind of features for the PS4 during their reveal event in February.

This week's Xbox One event made things even more clear, because Microsoft actually showed this happening. Specifically, they showed how an Xbox One gamer could momentarily stop playing a game to answer a Skype call or switch to live TV. The game seemed to be paused, but there's more to it than that. The game was, most likely, suspended.

The demonstration helped make some of the developer info we'd seen for the console a few months ago much more clear. We thought we'd share it with you, because, really, this seems like a very good way for games to work on a console. Plus, given all the confusion out there about other things related to the next-gen, it's nice to read some hard facts.

Caveat: this Xbox One development info was circulated by Microsoft to its partners at the beginning of this year. It may have changed, but based on what we saw this week, probably not in any major way.

1) Running: The game is loaded in memory and is fully running. The game has full access to the reserved system resources, which are six CPU cores, 90 per cent of GPU processing power, and 5 GB of memory. The game is rendering full-screen and the user can interact with it.

2) Constrained: The game is loaded in memory and is still running, but it has limited access to the system resources. The game is not rendering full screen in this state; it either is rendering to a reduced area of the screen or is not visible at all. The user cannot interact with the game in this state. System resource limits in this state are four CPUs, 5 GB of memory, and 45 per cent of GPU power if the game is rendering to a reduced area of the screen, or 10 per cent of GPU power if the game is not visible.

3) Suspended: The game is loaded in memory but is not running, meaning that the system has stopped scheduling all threads in the game process. The game has no access to CPUs or to the GPU processing power, but it still has the same 5 GB of memory reserved.

4) NotRunning: The game is not loaded in memory and is not running, and the system has no game-history information about the previous execution of the game. A game would be in NotRunning state in any of these three scenarios:

-The game has not been run since the console started. -The game crashed during the last execution. -The game did not properly handle the suspend process during the last execution and was forced to exit by the system.

5) Terminated: The game is not loaded in memory and is not running, which is identical to the NotRunning state in terms of system resource usage. Terminated state, however, indicates that during the last execution of the game, the game process was successfully suspended and then terminated by the system. This means that the game had a chance to save its state as it was suspended; the next time the game is activated, it can load this previous state data and continue the user experience from the same position. A game, for example, can start from the same level and position in the player’s last session without showing any front-end menu.

Got all that? Suddenly, saving and pausing games seems so pedestrian, doesn't it?

The next question is: how much happier will I be if/when I play a Dark Souls on a PS4 and Xbox One and can actually suspend my progress in the game and walk away? That's what we're talking about here, right? If so, this is the gaming generation for me and, I'm sure, for many other busy people. Let the tyranny of save points be ended! Ok, ok, except when it makes the game more nerve-racking. Maybe some games can have their equivalent of Animal Crossing's Mr. Resetti, but trained to scold people for suspending the game. Just spit-balling...


    So does this mean i can get up, turn off my PS4 or XBone and it will automatically put me back to the same spot i was in game? Without manually saving?

      Yes, that should be possible, presuming that when the user directs the console to shut down, the system puts the running game into suspended mode and then into terminated mode, and the game makes the transition successfully.

    "The next question is: how much happier will I be if/when I play a Dark Souls on a PS4 and Xbox One and can actually suspend my progress in the game and walk away?"

    Uh, you do know that the Xbone and PS4 aren't backwards compatible with the 360 and PS4 don't you? I know Dark Souls II is coming, but I'm pretty sure it's only gonna be on PC and current gen consoles.

      Author said "a Dark Souls" - presumably they are talking about Dark Souls 3 and 4

      :D just for thinking about that!

    The more important question is, "Now that consoles aren't tied to stupid save points and limited number of unnameable saves due to space restrictions, can we finally stop seeing that shit in our half-assed PC ports?"

      No. Because checkpoint saves are a great way to pad out short games, and I don't see devs giving that up any time soon.


          If modern shooters had quicksave, people would be trading them back in to EB by 2PM on launch day, and the whole games industry's economy would collapse in a few short hours.

    You still have to save the game and have autosave, if you turn the console off you wipe the memory.

    Um, doesn't everyone use the PS button on your controller to pause at any time?

    No one's mentioning that only 5/8 GB are available to games.

    I wonder how much PS4 is reserving for OS/other functions.
    And how much the difference will impact multiplatform games in future.

      Its an interesting point. They have specifically allocated the resources for the Xbox but not doing so for the ps4 may allow more RAM for gaming but we don't know just how much the base OS and other functions will require at any given time...

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now