Friday Fun: What Happened To The Xbox One Cloud?

There’s a lot of console hardware reports and rumours floating around, from fake Nintendo NX prototypes to the PlayStation 4 ‘Neo‘ that you might as well start saving up for. This week, it’s the turn of the Xbox One and the rumoured Scorpio hardware revision, but JR. made a very interesting comment over in the Scorpio discussion. “Wasn’t the cloud supposed to make the Xbox One more powerful?” he asked

He’s right, Microsoft were all about the cloud in the run up to the Xbox One launch. “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,” explained a Microsoft spokesperson at the time. With unlimited processing power one does have to wonder why there is any need for the rumoured Xbox Scorpio?

The only big game to really trumpet it’s cloud credentials so far Titanfall, which was only on Xbox due to using the cloud. At least that is what they said at the time, but really that boiled down to Microsoft’s Azure cloud for its dedicated servers and EA later admitted it was just because they thought Xbox One would sell more.


The forthcoming Crackdown game could be the first to show off cloud tech and how the cloud allows for huge city-wide destruction looks impressive, but it’s still in development so we’re still waiting for a glimpse of that unlimited processing power the cloud can bring in the real world.

Microsoft’s vision of a cloud-based future hasn’t happened, but let’s relive some of those memories of when that’s what they loved to talk about. Here’s Xbox Director of Product Planning, Albert Penello explaining how one of the principles of the Xbox One is that it is “built for the future.”

Just a very short future, eh Microsoft?

By the way I am very aware this read like an anti-Microsoft post, but I promise you it’s not. I just miss the pre-Xbox One launch days when Microsoft would spout complete and utter rubbish and JR. reminded me of some of their ludicrous claims. I thought we could do with a giggle for Friday.

Written by
News Editor, very inappropriate, probs fancies your dad.


  1. I think the Forza games use it too. It’s certainly about in a few games, but given the backlash every always online game gets I can’t blame then for not relying on it for anything major. If xboxone had released how ms originally envisioned it I’ve no doubt it would’ve been used a lot more.

    • Yes the drivatar data is uploaded to the cloud where it creates an ai profile of you.

      It’s a nice feature to have and makes the racing more interesting as you’re sort of racing against your friends.

      • I thought it was. It does give something extra to racing against the cpu.

  2. I was thinking about this the other day too. It’s great for having a scalable number of dedicated servers and only paying for what you use (no need to build your own server farm). Thing is, Microsoft Azure is available for anyone to use for any purpose. It can be used for PS4 games if developers choose to use it that way, and I imagine it has been. There are other cloud services which do the same thing too, so it was really never a big deal to begin with. Using it for extra processing power in (real-time) games is just going to be too difficult though, and relying on that when you’ve got network connections and possible downtime to worry about would be foolish.

  3. As I understood it, the cloud was to be a developing resource under the condition that games would be always online, so the cloud was always a factor in how the game would run, but no one wanted that mainly due to DRM reasons. There’s no way to provide cloud power if games are going to be available offline. In the instances of Titanfall and Crackdown, the cloud is purely there to fuel the multiplayer, which is a compromise.

    You could see from the old Xbox software just how much of the system revolved around it being online all the time and with a mandatory kinect device attached, and that failed massively because of the DRM argument and because no one really wants kinect. These days there are a few elements of that old infrastructure which shine out. The fact that game clips and images are already uploaded to a cloud service without any apparent stress on the internet connection or console is rather neat, as is automatically updated achievements/profile and the download list being part of the games library.

    Quite why more developers aren’t using any sort of cloud power in games though is a mystery, but clearly there’s a catch somewhere otherwise everyone would nosediving into it.

    • Yup, Microsoft saw the reactions to these things and they pivoted, taking a hell of a lot of stick in the process. As with any system specific feature, it’s difficult to get third parties to come on board, and especially so in the face of someone else being the market leader. So even if Microsoft stuck with the cloud as a computational assistant, it would really only be their first and second party games using it in a meaningful way. That’s been demphasised, but it’s still there in the background for whenever devs want it.

  4. Rumour has it the new Xbox that’s being released is getting its extra power from the cloud

  5. Did Sim City use cloud power or was it just an anti-piracy thing? I often use the cloud for shade and occasionally to wash my wife’s car.

  6. Am I the only one who reads ‘the cloud’ like the Aliens from Toy Story… The clooooud!

    It would be funny if they referred to it this way at big gaming events like E3. Ok guys so here’s a demonstration to show you the true power of The Clooooud *points to the sky*. We think The Clooooud *points to the sky* will make a huge difference the the Xbox gaming experience. We really dig The Clooooud *points to the sky*.

    It does seem odd. They were all about the cloud for a while but I dont think I’ve seen any cloud benefits so far. I think maybe there were extra AI bots in Titanfall or something.

    • Haha, you’re not the only one now!

  7. Without looking at the author’s name I knew it was TC by the 3rd paragraph. Makes me chuckle.

    Nice article.

  8. It seems that people who commented on this post are actually more mature than the retarded who wrote the article and this was supposed to be a “serious game website”. You really do seem like a lot of fanboys out there, completely stupid, who thinks it’s funny when actually you aren’t. Go wank to your PS4 and try next time to be more professional and less moronic.

  9. Forgot about their song and dance about the cloud. Wasn’t it supposed to be a system seller and a core feature thus requiring it to be always online? Wasn’t there also plans for a Mircrosoft glass system that was more or less tablets on steroids?

    Damn, i can’t really recall much of the pre-release X1. Apart from the always online business that recieved a lot of justified backlash. Wasn’t it going to be tied into windows 8?

    Either way, i’m tired, i apparently need to wank to a PS4 i don’t have and must end the comment in mi

  10. It was indeed quite a lot of rubbish MS told at the time, thanks for this funny article.

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