Why Microsoft's Phil Harrison was "actually really happy" at the reaction to the Xbox One

Microsoft’s corporate vice president on the passion of gamers, what the Xbox One's cloud computing will mean for games, and why Titanfall is a “defining moment” for the next generation of consoles

How does the Xbox One’s cloud processing work?

Think of it as dedicated CPU performance that is available to games over the internet. So, in Call of Duty: Ghosts, a dedicated server means that the multiplayer experience will be faster and it’ll have more performance and less interruptions, so it’ll feel like a better game as a result.

Forza Motorsport 5

The other thing it does is it allows for things like the Driveatar in Forza 5. Basically, the game that you play on your console at home trains an artificial intelligence in the cloud. So, when you’re not playing Forza, your friends can still play against a version of you: the way you drive, the way you play the game, will persist online. We’re doing a similar thing in Kinect Sports Rivals, so even when you’re not online, your friends will be able to see a version of you in the game.

Slightly longer-term, but still completely feasible with this architecture, is being able to have real changes made to games by the server. So it could update a game with better lighting, better graphics, more sophisticated physics or audio. Those will get unlocked over time, but we do have some things in development that are going to demonstrate that relatively soon.

More after the break...

What kind of bandwidth is all this going to be using?

Surprisingly little, because the programme sits in the cloud, and the data that’s shuttled between the Xbox One and the server is relatively small. 

Were you disappointed by gamers’ reactions to the Xbox One when it launched?

You may be surpised to hear me say this, but I was actually really happy at the passion of our fans and players. It demonstrates that they care deeply about the way we build our platform, and we quite rightly made some adjustments to give players a choice between games on physical discs and games delivered digitally.

We got the feedback, we made some changes. It doesn’t change our strategy long-term, which is to build the 21st century entertainment platform, but I think it allows us to keep our fans committed, and to keep them part of our story.

You have to login or register to comment.