For years now Microsoft and Xbox have been promoting this idea that cloud-based computing could potentially be used to make your Xbox One significantly more powerful. The lack of details or specific direction with this announcement led to great skepticism in the gaming community and quickly became a running joke critics could use to downplay the potential of the console. After a long silence, Microsoft used Gamescom and the Crackdown 3 gameplay reveal to prove once and for all that “the cloud” is real and it’s going to change the way we game forever.
Ten minutes may seem like a long time, but I seriously recommend you watch this demonstration in its entirety. I’ve watched the video three times now and every replay gives me a greater appreciation for the complexity of this physics engine. This must be the vision Microsoft had in mind when they originally declared their plans for an “online-only” future.
It’s a little hard to imagine you and up to 98 friends free-roaming in a 100% destructible city and it’s even harder to imagine that every single particle and piece of rubble or debris will stay in this world until the multiplayer session is shut down. Every chuck of concrete, every steel pylon, every pane of shattered glass, and anything else you and your friends demolish will remain visible in it’s original location, long after you leave the area. During this demo our presenter makes the remark that the demo is currently using 9 times the processing power of the Xbox One. He goes on to mention they’ve seen that number even reach 13 times the total processing power.
Crackdown 3 is shaping up to be one of the most demanding games of all time, but how exactly does a console run a game requiring 13 times its processing power? Well according to this presentation, it involves a series of online game servers. Where the average game uses a single server, or in some cases, shared servers, Crackdown 3 utilizes a mind-boggling number. The amount of destruction is so extreme that in some instances a server will be dedicated to a single building to keep the gameplay experience running smooth for all players. When things get crazy, 15 or more servers can be used to run a single game session, essentially making your Xbox One 20 times more powerful. Praise the processing power of PS4 all you want, but it will never be able to handle the multiplayer of Crackdown 3.
I was incredibly happy to see Microsoft brush aside some of the basic details of Crackdown 3 to stress the insane potential of cloud-computing. We may have a wee bit of an Xbox bias, but a demonstration this impressive should silence any non-believers. All hail “The Cloud.”