Microsoft: Cloud makes Xbox One four times more powerful

Microsoft: Cloud makes Xbox One four times more powerful
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

May 28th 2013 at 4:30PM

But tech experts question validity of claims in face of latency and bandwidth restrictions

The cloud will provide Xbox One developers with the CPU and storage equivalent of three extra consoles, claims Xbox incubation and prototyping group manager Jeff Henshaw.

Speaking to OXM, Henshaw said it was telling developers to assume that they would have roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game in the cloud.

He added that this would help devs create bigger, persistent worlds.

"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," said Henshaw.

"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."

A spokesperson for Xbox Australia went on to reiterate the claims to Stevivor, and stated that the Xbox One would effectively be “40 times greater than the Xbox 360 in terms of processing capabilities” using the cloud.

“If you look to the cloud as something that is no doubt going to evolve and grow over time, it really spells out that there's no limit to where the processing power of Xbox One can go," said the spokesperson.

The Digital Foundry has questioned Microsoft’s lofty claims of the power of the cloud and its use of 300,000 servers for Xbox Live however, which if true would potentially make the Xbox One two-and-a-half times more powerful than the PS4.

It explained that while it is possible developers could send computational requests to servers to access extra processing power, the console would be held back by latency and bandwidth.

“The quarterly Akamai state-of-the-internet report keeps us up to date on bandwidth available on the real-world internet,” it read.

“Average broadband speeds in the developed world struggle to reach over 8mbps as of Q3 last year - that's only one megabyte per second. This means that whatever cloud computing power is available, consoles will have available to them an average of 1MB/s a second of processed data. If we compare that to the sort of bandwidth consoles are used to, the DDR3 of Xbox One is rated at around 68,000MB/s, and even that wasn't enough for the console and had to be augmented with the ESRAM.”

The claims come after EA’s chief technology officer stated that the Xbox One and PS4 “have adopted electronics and an integrated systems-on-a -chip (soc) architecture that unleashes magnitudes more compute and graphics power than the current generation of console”.

He went on to say that these architectures were “a generation ahead of the highest-end PC on the market today”, and the publisher’s benchmarks on video and audio performance put them eight-to-ten times more superior than current gen hardware.

These claims have since been called out by a number of industry professionals and developers however, including the likes of Mark Rein and Brian Fargo, who have expressed their doubts and in some cases completely dismissed the statements.