Let’s get right into it.
I predicted that Xbox One would not release new hardware. I believed that by using cloud technology the Xbox One would showcase unbelievable strength that is not possible from onsite hardware alone, and that we’d see our onsite Xbox One be capable of 4k gaming. What I didn’t take into consideration is that Microsoft was going to go in a marketing direction that follows the type of gaming narrative consumers actually believe in. From various posts online you can see that gamers had criticized the Xbox One for its “weaker” hardware design. E3 proved that Microsoft needed to manifest into reality the perception of the consumer which was that onsite-hardware is king. This required making a brand new piece of hardware to satisfy that narrative. None of this means that Microsoft is no longer going to use cloud technology in their gaming ecosystem. It simply means more time is needed by developers.
That being said, I was flat out wrong about the Xbox One gaining 4k capabilities, but I do not believe I’m wrong on my original prediction; that is, Xbox One will eventually be able to do things which are not possible on PS4. Backwards compatibility is already one of those things.
When you make predictions you put yourself out there for the risk of being wrong. This is either bold or crazy, and maybe a little of both. But it is not as though my assertion – that Xbox One will improve over time with the cloud – is a crazy idea. This is the narrative that Microsoft was using at the beginning. While they’ve definitely been misunderstood regarding the portrayed relationship between Azure and Xbox, I think they’re going to be on the right side of gaming history.
As Marc Whitten said in 2013:
But other possibilities also come to mind. If developers are able to offload significant chunks of processing power to the cloud—conceivably even fundamental game mechanics like physics engines or collision-detection systems—that frees them to use local processing for even more intensive processes. In other words, the possibilities are limited only by the imaginations of thousands of game programmers. “It’s not like on day one, everyone will have figured out how to take advantage of that power,” Whitten says. “It’s just one of those stakes we’re placing.”
But just in case it takes too long for game developers to figure out how to use cloud technology effectively for development, Microsoft is going to help the wait become easier by creating a stronger, onsite box. I can’t say whether this constitutes a business mistake, but I wonder how many people will simply wait for the newest piece of hardware to come out and not purchase the Xbox One S.
For all of you technology geeks; How can you not find Microsoft’s endeavors in cloud technology virtuous? It may seem that for now Microsoft is pulling away from the narrative of cloud technology perhaps because people are incredulous of its merits. Time will tell whether it will be used heavily with Xbox One. Titanfall has so far been the only game to use this type of technology. (I don’t know of any game on PS4 that has done this, and I’m not saying that maliciously.)
While I was off on the prediction of new hardware that I did not believe Microsoft would release, I am fully confident in my prediction that the Xbox One will get better – not worse – with time, but far beyond its direct competitor.