The lights are on
We giggle a little bit every time someone says "infinite power of the cloud," because it sounds so mysterious and, yeah, phony. According to Titanfall developers Respawn Entertainment though, it's a very real thing that is going to level the playing field and drastically improve the multiplayer experience.
In a detailed post on the company's website, engineer Jon Shiring deconstructs the different ways we play online today. He steps through the hierarchy of experiences.
Player-hosted matches are susceptible to greater incidents of cheating, balance issues due to lag, and the visual and performance compromises made to operate in this environment. Next are dedicated servers.
This is a great solution, but it's an expensive one. "A developer like Respawn doesn’t have the kind of weight to get a huge price cut from places like Amazon or Rackspace," Shiring admits. "And we don’t have the manpower to manage literally hundreds-of-thousands of servers ourselves."
Managing those servers would take a great deal of overhead expense. Enter: "the cloud."
Shiring lists off a number of benefits, including offloading certain processes to Azure, scalability to ensure that servers are up to the task of launch day traffic, and reasonable cost and management that allows studios like Respawn to focus on creating their game.
Interestingly, Forza 5's learning processes are mentioned, which should prove interesting as that title offers single player content. Shiring's writeup is a very educational read that helps demystify some of what Microsoft is hoping to do with the Xbox One. How the cloud could be leveraged for single-player gaming though, is still something we've yet to hear much about.