There may be something to the power of the cloud after all.
Microsoft’s original promise for the Xbox One centered very heavily on the promise of the cloud. Cloud gaming, we were promised, would be the path to the next generation of video games, it would enable games unlike anything seen before, and it would more than compensate for the Xbox One’s weakness on the specs front relative to the PS4.
But three years into this generation, cloud assisted gaming remains a pipedream. No game so far has meaningfully utilized the cloud, and even Microsoft seems to have given up on the whole rigmarole, outside of the still pending release of Crackdown 3.
A lot of this, it has been suggested, is because cloud gaming was simply unfeasible at the present moment in time. While cloud assisted gaming will definitely be widespread in some nebulous future, in the here and now, it remains impractical to achieve at the moment.
We recently got to sit down with Sampo Lappalainen, COO of Umbra. During our chat, we decided to specifically ask him about cloud gaming and Xbox One, and whether or not he thought cloud gaming on Xbox One remains an unfulfilled promise. The question came in context of him telling us in a previous interview that Umbra would were working on integrating the cloud with Umbra. Since then, Microsoft has showcased the potential of that in a demo, which can be seen here. So does cloud gaming on Xbox remain unviable? Or has there been any progress on that front?
“Our focus on the cloud side has been on the tools side, where we have built a system for building our data very fast,” Sampo said. “Regarding the the game runtime side and cloud our focus is currently in building a system for providing and streaming 3D assets. This will make it possible to reduce load times and to build bigger and more detailed worlds. Cloud gaming on the current generation is not a pipe dream, it’s just a matter of building the technology and tools for making it happen. Amazon is investing a lot of effort into making this happen with their Lumberyard engine. I’m really looking forward to what they are up to!”
Of course, the question about consumer infrastructure necessary to make cloud gaming a reality remains up in the air- but it seems that there is potential in the idea still.