The lights are on
Online matchmaking is one place where Microsoft saw potential to do something new with the Xbox One. The console has been designed for multitasking, and the team wanted to find a way to reduce the tedium that can surround online matches. If it works, you may not be spending much more of your time in lobbies.
Chad Gibson, principal group manager of Xbox Live breaks down the current state of matchmaking. "In many cases, it involves a user going to a lobby and entering a matchmaking experience in a game," he says. "Because of the way that Xbox 360 works, you typically sit in a lobby waiting for the players to start your session. That leads to things like player limits on sessions, limited filters, figuring out the right people to put together."
Gibson says the new capabilities of Xbox Live and its hardware architecture will allow for a greater degree of flexibility.
Mike Lavin, Microsoft's senior product manager brings up a great example of a current problem. He likes to play the Xbox Live Arcade game Poker Smash, a hybrid match-three/poker game that came out five years ago. As you might expect from a game that came out five years ago, there's not exactly a thriving online community surrounding the game. That doesn't mean that there aren't people who wouldn't want to play, however. With the Xbox One, players can enter a game's multiplayer mode, enter the parameters for whatever kind of game they'd like to play, and then go do something else – whether that's watching a movie on Netflix or even playing another game. When the match is ready, a message will pop up.
Considering the fickle nature of online gamers and the relatively short lifespan for online multiplayer games, this is good news. While Poker Smash isn't going to benefit from this kind of matchmaking, it bodes well for developers of smaller games that don't have the worlds "of Duty" in their names.
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