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  1. ccs-1-0-80180200-1382577428_thumb.jpg

    Microsoft's network of servers will be available for free for all game developers.

    "One of the benefits of publishing games on Xbox One," Microsoft director of Xbox product planning Albert Penello wrote yesterday on the NeoGAF gaming message board, "ALL game developers get Dedicated Servers, Cloud Processing, and 'storage' (for save games) free."

    Good. For the price of xbox live, dedicated servers should be a standard for all games that require them.

    The potential impact of cloud computing and dedicated servers on Xbox One games became more clear when the creators of the EA-backed, Respawn-developed Titanfall began talking in June about the benefits they were getting from Microsoft's tech:

    "That’s a 7 on 7 game but it felt huge because there’s [extra] AI [soldiers] in there that brings the world to life," Respawn boss Vince Zampella says, referring to the Titanfall bout I'd just seen.

    The AI for the grunts is designed to run off of Microsoft's cloud servers, a service that the Xbox One maker is offering to all game creators on the new console. ...

    With Zampella there, I sense I can get some answers on whether this cloud stuff is really just hype. I mention I'd seen plenty of games that don't use the cloud rendering tons of characters on screen, though maybe not in multiplayer. "It’s better to do it on the cloud," Zampella said. "It’s more secure. It’s a better experience. It also lets us focus on the experience we’re giving to you, the rendering experience, all that power. The more we can offload the better, because then we can do more locally on your box." In other words, if they calculate the grunt AI remotely, the Xbox One can spend more processing on graphics.

    It's not just that.

    The cloud servers, Zampalla said, are "dedicated servers so there’s no host advantage. The game spins up fast." No host system has to be bogged down with that grunt AI. "When that’s handled on the cloud, now it’s the same experience, it’s not lagging for you. If I’m the host, and I’m calculating AI on my box or if we’re both calculating AI on our boxes and we have different things..." That wouldn't be good. The cloud helps. To Titanfall's busy multiplayer design, perhaps it's essential.

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