Microsoft says that every Xbox One console will be backed by the equivalent power of three more Xbox Ones “in the cloud.”
It is a time of chaos. The great console powers have unsheathed their latest and most powerful weapons, brandishing them at the cowed masses and vowing scarlet tides of great woe and furious wrath for those who fail to bow before them. And yet, from somewhere amidst the sea of grey faces and downcast eyes, a voice calls out:
“What does this mean?“
That voice should get a little louder in the wake of comments by Jeff Henshaw, the group manager of Xbox Incubation and Prototyping, who claimed that the power of the cloud will effectively give every XBox One console four times its built-in processing and storage capabilities.
“We’re provisioning for developers for every physical Xbox One we build, we’re provisioning the CPU and storage equivalent of three Xbox Ones on the cloud,” he told OXM. “We’re doing that flat out so that any game developer can assume that there’s roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game, so they can build bigger, persistent levels that are more inclusive for players. They can do that out of the gate.”
Very interesting – but what does it mean? First and foremost, it’s pure marketing, promising big things while remaining uselessly vague. And even if we take him at his word – Xbox One here, Xbox One Cubed there – the obvious implication is that some games will be out of the reach of anyone who can’t get on the cloud, or if the cloud just happens to float away for awhile for one reason or another. That leads inevitably to another two-tier scenario, similar to that created by the Xbox 360 Core (and later the Arcade), in which Microsoft can claim that a persistent internet connection isn’t required – something, for the record, it has already done – but woe betide anyone who tries to use it that way.