Microsoft’s Phil Spencer Talks About the Advantages of the Cloud with Xbox One

Head of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer has always been a big proponent of the “power of the cloud” that has costed Microsoft a pretty penny to buy hundreds of thousands of servers, and should pay dividends with the Xbox One.

Today Spencer talked about what he feels is an important advantage provided by the cloud’s infrastructure in an interview on AV Watch.

I think you have different levels with the cloud. Large studios have a lot of experience and resources for multiplayer development. Think Infinity Ward making a game of the Call of Duty series. While creating their online features those studios would not need our support. However, when utilizing the cloud they will be able to remove from the picture the investment necessary for the server hardware to host the game. Not only they save on the costs, but also on maintenance, and they gain in stability.

On the other hand small indie developers don’t have the resources to make large investments on the servers. We can, without forcing the burden of the costs on them, give them the means to take advantage of our server infrastructure. Then, by making the game based on our servers, it can be created in a small office, with a small back end, by a small team.

From our perspective, in terms of the work of those small indie developers, games made taking advantage of a similar infrastructure to Call of Duty will be definitely enjoyable. Very interesting games will come from that. I look forward to it.

On that, we received a very positive response from developers.

While I’m still a little doubtful on the real effect of the “power of the cloud” for computing and other complex tasks especially since studios can’t count too much on the internet connectivity being spotless, it’s hard not to see Spencer’s point on this.

Having the servers available for free is a great advantage for developers big and small alike. We’ll have to see how it pans out, but the positives are pretty evident here.


Join the Discussion

  • Jim Lee

    Yeah keep talking up the cloud nonsense there Phil……good distraction

    • Izzy Bozz

      you mad, bro?

      • Jim Lee


        • Izzy Bozz

          About MS having one of the biggest and most technically advanced clouds? Let’s face it. You don’t know if the Xbox cloud is BS. You just wanted to be unsuccessful. Why? I have no idea.

    • corvusmd

      Why is it nonsense? Cause you haven’t used it? That’s rather short-sighted and ignorant of you. What happens if you’re wrong, and they have been telling the truth the whole time….and you were just a trolling fanboy that has no facts, but just wants to believe that it sucks because you want PS4 to win? All that will happen in the real world is that we will all see that your opinion was always worth nothing, and that if we want to play games we like with a great internet service….go to XBL. SOOOO why stick your neck out for a company that isn’t paying you, and doesn’t give a crap about you? Do you really sell your soul that easily? Fine, miss out on the greatest internet experience to date…with your ignorance it sounds like XBL will be better without you. Have fun with your free old crappy games from the $5 bin

      • Jim Lee

        Nice my real reply got modded. Listen captain Douche in short.

        What will you do monkey ball washer when you over paid for inferior tech and a force camera that you use because your too lazy to get up and change a channel or use a controller.

      • extermin8or2

        It’s nonsense because it’s scientifically impossible with current technology to get anywhere near the speeds necessary for what they say they can do to be possible and work. The tech that gets around the bandwidth and latency issues would be bigger news than the xb1 having it within it and it’d costs a fortune.

    • X1ultimateGamer


      • Jim Lee

        Well thought out reply there guy, maybe next time you can have a good thought.

  • Shwaa

    This “power of the cloud” talk is such a load of crap lol… When people actually listen and believe them I can’t decide if I should laugh or cry..

    • corvusmd

      The article is right above you….how have you not read it? He doesn’t even talk about the cloud at all…the author does, but not him. However…I will believe someone that has actually used and seen it over some trolling fanboy.

      • Jim Lee

        “However, when utilizing the cloud they will be able to remove from the picture the investment necessary for the server hardware to host the game. Not only they save on the costs, but also on maintenance, and they gain in stability.” ,– did this come from then?

    • X1ultimateGamer

      STFU you fool and go troll somewhere else

    • Ilovegoogleglass


  • Junior

    XBox 1 turn on my PS4!!

  • foureyes oni

    honestly microsoft should have used some type of tech demo/trailer to show us what the cloud is capable of doing instead of all this talk about how the cloud is so wonderful. 2 months away from the console release and i still have no idea what the cloud is suppose to do for gaming.

    • john

      They did show a demo with the cloud about a month or so back. They used real time info from NASA to draw up asteroids. I can’t remember all the details about it though.

      • foureyes oni

        if thats the case then they should have maybe done a little bit more demoing of its uses or hyped up the nasa demo, cause i never heard a peep about this asteroid thing.

  • Jake W.

    I’m so ready for the xbox one!

  • Mark Lenz

    “Having the servers available for free is a great advantage for developers big and small alike.”

    LOL that’s really funny. There’s no such thing as free. Micro$oft gets this money back from the licensing fees developers pay when they produce a game for the system.

    • Remnant

      Of course is not free.
      They would have full control on when to shut down a game server.
      They could track players habits to better suit targeted advertisement.
      I’m sure this also means exclusivity since Microsoft is handling the majority of the server cost.

      Which brings me to the next point. This in theory only works on exclusives. Which means not a whole lot of games will be using it. Eventually you want to spread across all consoles and maybe Steam. So why give Microsoft rights to your game server and ruin the chances of that happening?

      Look at Limbo, Castle Crashers, Minecraft, Bioshock, Mass Effect, so on…

      The power of the cloud is just a sales pitch. I hope people who buy Xbox One get to benefit from it. I won’t be one obviously.

      Everyone should all stop being fanboys. Is not helping anyone “convert” to your cause. In the end is about what you hope to enjoy. Grow up people.

  • Rocco

    Great Advice for all !

  • ratchet426

    So Microsoft’s “Power of the Cloud” is, in reality, just multi-player server hosting, a’la Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Teramark, and MS’s own Azure. Nothing new or revolutionary there – just a clever way to sell their Azure server hosting business to developers.

    Before I get flamed, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. MS is utilzing their existing Azure virtual server hosting platform to expand the XOne’s multiplayer infrastructure, just like Sony will be doing with Gaikai to stream PS3 games to the PS4. (I’m sure Gaikai will also be used to improve Sony’s multi-player server capabilities as well)

    BUT…This is in no way, shape, or form the “600% performance boosting” Power of the Cloud bulls**t that MS was peddling back in May. There is NO POSSIBILITY, given current (and near future) internet-based virtual server hosting technology to be able to offload graphics and compute processing tasks “to the cloud” in anything CLOSE to real-time. It is a complete marketing fabrication by MS to suggest that the Cloud(tm) will magically improve the compute/graphics processing of the XboxOne in any way. But at least they’ve started to come clean and admit the Power of the Cloud is little more that the power of Azure server hosting.

    • Robert Jones

      I guess the reason they talk about server infrastructure and not how it affects game is because people cant SEE how it affects games.

      Forza: drivatars! people go ghosting already in games big deal. Yet, forza is running 1080p 60 fps and looks pretty good. Just maybe, offloading AI into “the cloud” can help improve the power of the machine since it does not have to worry about AI.

      titanfall: we put AI in the cloud and use it for dedicated servers! people oh its just for dedicated servers. big deal. Bring to PS4!

      They tried to point out what you can do with currently with cloud processing (AI and latency tolerant processes), but people refused to believe. In addition, since they cannot guarentee everyone has internet connection, they cannot talk about it in the way of processing since developers can no longer depend on people having an internet connection.

      I am sure second gen games like halo, fable might take advantage of cloud features.

  • Dedicated Multiplayer Servers – Nuff said

  • Jeremiah Enrile

    Not a mention of “cloud improving graphics” early on in their PR. goes to show it really is BS. just like many devs have said. cloud can do A.I. and server improvements. but not visual improvement.