Will The Xbox One's Cloud Computing Work In Australia?

Microsoft has been making some big promises regarding the Xbox One's potential for cloud computing and today, at E3, we were shown a demo showing its potential to dramatically increase the amount of calculations the console can make per second. The idea, of course, is that this will be applicable to video games.

But it requires bandwidth which, for Australians, is a troublesome issue given our internet capabilities aren't exactly state of the art.

Which begs a second question? How will Microsoft's grand computing plan work in a country like Australia?

This question was posed to Microsoft engineer Jeff Henshaw. According to him, Microsoft is set up to make cloud computing a viable reality in all countries.

"Microsoft has data centres around the world, so cloud computing isn’t something you should think about on a country by country basis," he explained. "We have deployed our data centres geographically so they can service the load for categories of countries around the world."

"So we have the best of any company on the planet to make sure that the cloud services we offer will be available everywhere." Microsoft has announced plans for a local cloud data centre in Australia, but hasn't yet set a launch date, and hasn't made it clear if this will be used for Xbox as well or if that will continue to come from Singapore.

But even if we were to believe that Microsoft's data centres are uniquely positioned to make cloud computing viable -- what about issues like internet caps?

"We are very respectful of caps," said Jeff. "We want to work with providers to make sure you know how much you are using and when. Our goal is to keep everyone informed and give people the right tools to make the right choices."

Both pretty vague answers to very specific questions, but it's the kind of issue that might be difficult for Microsoft to address at this point. So far none of the games we've seen at E3 use cloud computing for gaming, but at some point that is going to happen and we can only take Microsoft at its word right now. We can only assume that Microsoft is set up for this kind of situation.

And for now, best prepare to upgrade your caps to 'unlimited'.

Thanks to Steve Farrelly from Ausgamers for the question!


Comments

    Microsoft: "Let's not answer a question you just asked us, let's answer a question you didn't ask us."

      Us: "So will we be able to loan or gift downloadable games?"
      MS: "Strawberry, that's my favourite type of jam!"

      Or just tell a half truth, as:
      "Microsoft has data centres around the world, so cloud computing isn’t something you should think about on a country by country basis" actually means:
      "Microsoft has data centres around the world, so cloud computing is something you should think about on a region by region basis"

    am i the only one that thinks this is all bullshit to try and justify DRM? i admit i haven't seen the so called demos of this... it just smells like simcity...

      Suddenly every game will have one or two ways to share screenshots with your friends and they will be labeled MMO's.

      yeah you probably are the only one. i have no doubt that DRM is a contributing factor but its not even close to the main reason. consoles are restricted over time when it comes to hardware upgrades so i think MS is future proofing their console. sim city is a different story, being a PC game their is no reason to offload processing to the cloud when most PCs could deal with it offline.

        I've heard this argument a bit now, and I would like to call bullshit on it.
        The likelihood of this having any impact during the marketable life of the console is probably nill. Worse though is that any game requiring cloud use could be rendered useless by the dropping of the service.
        In five (or maybe a little more) years they'll release a new console, and at that point it is against their best interests to keep the servers running (they will for a while so as to not annoy the current customers, but sooner or later the xbone will become a dvr as you won't be able to play games on it any more)

        Someone using some common sense.

          They say a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters will eventually produce the world's greatest novel.

          I guess somebody using Common Sense on the internet is just as likely.

      It is a justification. Think about it. How many third party games will require cloud computing and are going to be exclusive to Xbox One as a result?

    Doubtlessly, the games using cloud computing just won't be as high quality for a significant percentage of Australian users. They won't hold back on those features just for us, and other territories like us - and nor should they.

    Looking at the example of Forza 5's "driveatar", I don't see why it won't work. It measures our driving style and uploads this to the cloud, which is a couple of hundred k max for the raw metrics. This is processed in the cloud, and compared to other cloud data of a similar skill level. When you log into Xbox Live, you collect cloud data for other driveatars near your skill level and the game translates that info into lifelike AI drivers who will present a closer challenge. I can't see how this would be a problem. It's not streaming back and forth from the cloud in realtime.

      Sounds like a gimmick to justify the always-on DRM then.

        Well, the checking in every 24 hours is the DRM and Microsoft haven't offered any explanation for how they think it will improve our experience (so far their explanation is more akin to "Electrolytes! It's what plants crave!"). The Forza 5 cloud-based "driveatar" is a title-specific feature or "gimmick", one you can probably chose to disable.

    The cloud won't be used for anything that needs high speed anyway- it's not going to, for example, help a game render more zombies on a screen or do its AI. Accessing something from the Internet vs local is like having a piece of paper in front of you vs a book at the local library. It's more about crunching numbers in the background (stats, etc) and letting things be shared more easily from a centralised location. Aside from slower loading times, I can't see any other problems occurring.

    (At least, that's my understanding of the situation. If they are promising the cloud will double the xboxes abilities or something, well then I look forward to seeing it)

    Last edited 12/06/13 3:32 pm

      I think there's a few more things - eg, titanfall, the heavier-physics is rendered in cloud with the server, but the data sent/recieved from the console should be a linear increase in size over what we see now with normal multiplayer data being sent around. Could do AI in the same fashion - it's more about being smart on what to offload to the datacenter because 30ms and a few kb's doesn't hurt.

      But you're right - it wont render fo'sh*t

        See this is where the bullshit comes out, they say the console won't require an always online connection but what happens when the majority of games are using the cloud for calculations and such and the games won't run without it.

        Doesn't that kinda make the console pretty much always online?

          If you're worried about internet at all then get a sony.

            Already pre-ordered a PS4 on Amazon, but that's not the point, they say the console isn't always online which is true but then they keep talking about the cloud being used in games which is online, so if most games use the cloud and they don't work without it then isn't it a mostly online console.

            We will have to wait and see how things turn out.

              You obviously haven't been keeping up with the news. The console can go offline but requires a 24 hour check. It also does any updates in this time as well so that you are a lot less likely to turn your console on and then find you have to wait to play your game because it needs to update.
              Microsoft said it's not an always online console, but you're right it is a "mostly online console". If you don't have internet or whatever then by what's been said so far, you may as well just go to a different console.

              Talking about the cloud, I'm excited to see what they can do with it. More human-like AI sounds great, offloading certain things in the game to enable better content elsewhere also sounds fantastic.

                You don't get it, if it requires cloud to compute physics or whatever it is that it offloads to the cloud then you will need a stable internet connection to play that game. You can't go offline since you have no access to the cloud when you are offline. So what chobi77 says is right, you basically have to be online always if the game is dependent on the cloud.

    why are MS sounding like politicians atm?

    Works well on SimCity (when the servers are online) so if the game code if written well don't see any issues...

    MS has some high speed access here so should be fine one would think assuming you have a normal internet connection (not one which dropps off every hour)

      yeah but simcity does fuck all in the cloud... it was proved by that guy who hacked the game... its perfectly playable offline

        there is a crack on the priate bay for simcity

      there is a crack on the priate bay for simcity permanent offline

      It certainly does not work well with Simcity. I’ve given up now after the umpteenth time of losing my city or it deciding it didn’t want to save anything I did for the last 3 hours despite having a perfectly fine internet connection at the time. Serves me right I guess.

    As if the data uploaded will be a lot or take up massive bandwidth anyway.
    Data plans and caps have increased dramatically in Australia.
    NBN is being rolled out.
    It is not as if everyone in American has unlimited fibre plans either. The average American has little better internet than an Aussie.
    Less drama and more facts.

      No drama. I even said I think we should take them at their word on this.

      NBN is dead after September. So ... anyone who doesn't have it now is screwed.

        Is this a fact or an assumption based on the possibility that Liberals will will the federal election and scrap it in favour of their proposed crapnet? I've been seeing a lot of scuttlebutt about this and I'm wondering where it's coming from.

          The latter.

          FTTN will be little better than what we have, and once they realise it'll cost heaps more for more nodes and the state of existing copper, I reckon all bets are off. Cloud here? For minor stuff maybe, but heavy use of cloud (especially if consoles rely on it that heavily) will make it a pretty awful end user experience.

    it will work for aobut 10% of the country, the rest of you ahve crap inet or are on Dial Up, your all screwed

    probably because they actually are working with the NSA and the PRISM thing.

      Haha! Your Xbone will require internet connection and Kinect so the NSA... I mean our cloud partner can process your requests.

      But then you will get double the megahertz, Triple the super flops and ten times the amount of graphics.

        Im gonna have to pull out an old DM screen to cover various paraphernalia on my coffe table...

        I can get super floating point operations per second? Flops isn't made up techno babble FYI.

    what do you mean none of the games?

    Forza 5 uses it for the driveatars and another game said it used it, cant remember which one though.

    Maybe new games will now come with "Offline Passes" that will allow you to play your games offline but if you sell them then the next person has to buy an Offline Pass on the Live Marketplace.

    That is not what "begs the question" means. You wanted raises the question.

    This just in... "Microsoft to challenge the Labor and Liberal Parties at September's election!"

    Last edited 12/06/13 5:20 pm

    A Sydney and a Melbourne Azure datacentre has me very excited. Kudos to them for having geo-redundant datacentres and focusing on the two most populate cities in Aus.

    Honestly go look at how much investment goes into these Azure datacentres and tell me you aren't happy with this sort of investment in Australia and for Xbox One gaming/movies/music/apps.

    It's going to be the best dedicated servers configuration, as long as the datacentres are ready for launch or Halo on X1.

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