Jonathan Blow Criticizes Microsoft’s Claim of Increasing Servers to 300K, Calls It A Lie

The Xbox One drama continues.

Game designer of Braid and now The Witness, Jonathan Blow is not very happy with the direction Microsoft is taking with the Xbox One.

During the Xbox One reveal earlier this week, Microsoft had announced that they will be backing the new console with 300,000 servers. When the original Xbox was launched back in 2001  it had 500 servers which later on grew to 3000 servers with the Xbox 360. Currently they have 15,000 servers that are powering the modern Xbox Live experience.

There was a report last week where Microsoft claimed that the Xbox One will become more powerful with the use of cloud services. Blow thinks this is bullshit and in a series of tweets he criticizes Microsoft’s business strategy for the Xbox One.

In another tweet he questions the business strategy for Xbox One and he does not like when companies lie contemptuously.

He further claims that each of the servers are actually virtual and he himself can can make 10,000 servers per host. Apparently, he thinks this is all a lie. (For your information: In Virtual Servers, multiple customers are hosted together on a single server and each of them share the total resources. This is unlike the dedicated server where each customer is allocated a set number of resources which is normally more compared to a Virtual server).

However, there is no confirmation on whether Microsoft will be using virtual servers, so we have to go by what Blow says above.

He does make sense in many ways though. What if your internet connection goes off and you are disconnected to the cloud? Will the Xbox One be able to render advance physics or other complex simulations in such a scenario? Many such confusing questions remain. Let’s hope that Microsoft clears the dust at E3.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


  • dirkradke

    The information about the servers numbers – claiming something like this with no way to prove it somebody might want to call him on his b*llsh*t. As for whether Microsoft plans 15k, 30k, or 300k servers we will just wait and see. Although the 300k number does seem high since Google only has something like 50k servers worldwide.

    • wiz7191

      But I think Microsoft can pull 300,000 servers, they have the resources to do so. Microsoft basically has the bank to practically do just about anything.

    • dirkradke

      I agree. However it is unlikely that they would need that many even if they could do it. You will note however that I never said they couldn’t do it in the first place.

    • hwangeruk

      again, another person who has an opinion but no facts.
      Google has easily in excess of 1 million servers these days you plank:

      http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/08/01/report-google-uses-about-900000-servers/

      Honestly, where do you people come from? You know absolutely zero about this subject but sit there throwing random numbers about like you know something. At least Google first you sap.

    • dirkradke

      Don’t have a problem with being wrong. Like you just did I thought I read it somewhere in an article.

  • ahlun

    He has a good point there, never thought of virtual servers.

  • ahlun

    If games are making use of the servers to do computational tasks, you will not be able to play offline game if your internet is broken.

  • Ben

    Well if they are including Virtual Servers, which obviously they are as 300k footprint would be a huge rack footprint just for Xbox Live. So technically they are not lying as virtual server is still a server, housed on a more traditional physical server using VM infrastructure

    • Jimmy Tex

      Erm, no. A standard rack server can contain up to about 500 different processors (server) these days and they’re only the height of a person. Jonathan Blow is being a pauperdouchebag because he gets special treatment from Sony, because they are desperate now, and not from MS.

    • Ben

      Sorry for late reply Jimmy, I don’t really see why your arguing with me? I know they are Jimmy, I look after 9 datacentres. A server isn’t a processor, a processor is a processor.

      In VMware when you allocate a processor to a VM you are not literally allocating one physical processors resources as they a thinly provisioned by VMware using processor cycles and a queuing system priority dependent on how many processors one single VM has. When a processor does a cycle the hypervisor then translates it to a free cycle on one of the physical processors then returns to the source VM. The same goes for memory and hashing.

      uk.linkedin.com/pub/ben-miles/27/66a/b23/

  • nerdbasher

    The guy developing a game for the PS4 is attacking the Xbox One? Crazy talk!

    This guy comes off as a sour posturer.

  • Joe_HTH

    ROTFLMAO! This knuckle-dragging douche bag doesn’t have a damn clue how many servers Microsoft has. I also can’t help but laugh at someone who thinks a virtualized server is somehow less than a physical one.

  • jgaryone

    I’m going to comment on Microsoft’s “Cloud Processing” and how it’ll be utilized to enhance games going forward. It isn’t just a marketing ploy to make the box itself appear feature rich with buzzwords. Instead it will have actual use to enhance gaming graphics which will be unique to Xbox One.

    This is performed on a per-function basis for developers to utilize, and right now it is still in-progress yet impressive as it is. For now its use is mostly physics based which can help offload the GPU significantly.

    The quick and dirty explanation is that developers can send data to the server, have it run and process the data, and return the animation code back to the console for the GPU to render the output. It is done dynamically.

    If the sever does not return the data back on time to keep frame rates consistent, then the Xbox One will render the animation itself for that instance, but it will only be a static process and is not nearly as impressive, but will be on par with non-cloud rendering devices such as PS4.

    To lay out an example here in a game: You shoot a rocket at a building, and the building takes “massive damage”. As expected in most games, the building will show some cosmetic damage, but for the most part it will remain standing and will almost never collapse unless it was pre-determined to do so. Without the cloud, this will remain the case for most games still. This include both One and PS4.

    The advantage One (cloud) has in this case is utilizing the cloud to process the physics required to animate the collapsing building realistically and dynamically. If a developer utilizes this feature, they would for example have data in relation to when the weapon was fired, which object is going to be impacted, and what to do with this impacted object.

    This data is sent to MS the moment the weapon is fired. During the points of firing the weapon and projectile impact, the resulting animation data is returned to the console to render completely offloading these calculations to the cloud. And as stated before, if the data is not returned on time, the One will calculate the physics data but at a much lower process.

    The more servers used for this function, the better the output will be. This is what some would call the “secret sauce” of Xbox One, and something “Jonathan Blow” hasn’t had the pleasure of working with (yet). Right now it’s being tested by MS and MS 3rd party partners.

    This also raises an interesting idea being toyed around. Can multiple Xbox One’s in a household act as a local cloud for this same level of processing? MS will have more to talk about at E3.

  • slims_post

    Azure has an almost infinite amount of servers, I liked Braid but this guy should think before he opens his mouth because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  • Nipplesourus

    Let’s have a real war here,
    POP TARTS vs TOASTER STRUDEL

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