Wired reports that the Xbox One will offer game developers the ability to tap Azure for all kinds of things. Developers won’t be forced to use Azure, but Microsoft will push for them to do so.
The Xbox One will not have to be always connected to play games, but it does generally require a connection to the Internet. And if developers do decide to tap Azure’s cloud computing platform to boost the power of a game, a web connection will be required to play that game.
Microsoft has been building out Azure’s cloud computing capabilities for a long while. Azure has been mostly known as a platform-as-a-service that (primarily .NET) developers use to make the process of app development easier.
Microsoft opened up Azure so it could be used for pure cloud infrastructure in June 2012. It now competes head to head with top dogs like Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, and Google Compute Engine.
Steven Martin, the general manager of Azure’s operations team, told us this past October that Azure users are consuming more compute capacity than the entire world used in 1998. As of December, Azure’s cloud storage holds more than 4 trillion objects. It also handles an average of 270,000 requests processed per second, with a peak of 880,000 requests per second.
Azure applications in gaming
Now, let’s see what you could do with all that power.
The first and most obvious application of Azure on Xbox One will be making Xbox Live more powerful and useful. All your downloaded games and achievements will be synced and available wherever you are. You’ll also have dedicated servers for every multiplayer game you participate in. Multiplayer matches will be able to host up to 128 gamers in a single session.
Xbox Live currently runs on 15,000 servers, but it will soon move to a stunning 300,000 servers later this year for the Xbox One launch. That’s a lot of power dedicated to making Xbox Live better than ever.
Second (and this is a bit more crazy), developers can offload computational tasks to the cloud instead of relying on physical hardware to do the heavy lifting. Necessary game computations for physics, rendering, and the like could be immensely enhanced with a connection to powerful virtual servers in the cloud.
“It’s not like on day one, everyone will have figured out how to take advantage of that power,” Microsoft interactive entertainment CMO Marc Whitten told Wired. “It’s just one of those stakes we’re placing.”
GamesBeat 2013 is our fifth annual conference on disruption in the video game market. You'll get 360-degree perspectives from top gaming executives, developers, and analysts on what’s to come in the industry. Our theme this year is “The Battle Royal.” Check out full event details here, and grab your early-bird tickets here!