Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin has spoken about the long-running process behind bringing dedicated servers to the Call of Duty franchise.
Speaking to GameSpot at Gamescom 2013, Rubin confirmed that dedicated servers would be coming to the Xbox One and PC for Call of Duty: Ghosts, though Infinity Ward is still finalising the details for dedicated servers on the PC. He also explained that the sheer volume of server space required to host dedicated servers for something the size of Call of Duty was one of the main challenges in incorporating the frequently requested feature into the shooter.
"One of the problems with our game, in a sense, is that we have so many players," said Rubin. "I remember that we looked into dedicated servers on console when we were developing Call of Duty 4, and the problem was that we could only fit four [multiplayer] games onto each server. So, you times that by how many games were being played, and it was going to come out to be more servers than every data center in the United States. It would have been impossible to do."
Server technology has improved greatly since Call of Duty 4 was released in 2007, explains Rubin, and the dedicated servers on Call of Duty: Ghosts will be powered by Microsoft's Xbox cloud. "Obviously the power of the servers grew, and we can fit more and more instances per server, which has helped a bit, and the fact now that Microsoft is supporting this huge cloud initiative, dedicated servers make a ton more sense. We'll have scalability, and we're not having to run data centers which we're not necessarily equipped to do. Having Microsoft do that is fantastic."
Rubin says that it is "fantastic" that Microsoft is investing in the Xbox Cloud, and adds that he believes the service will develop dramatically over time. "I think they're figuring [the cloud] out too," he said.
"[Microsoft] has phenomenally good intentions with what they want to do with it. If you look at Call of Duty 2 when we first launched on the Xbox 360, or Call of Duty 4 which was a massive leap forward compared to CoD 2, there's a learning curve for all of us as developers, and for Xbox themselves. There's going to be a learning curve as the console comes out. It's totally expected, and something we're excited about. Knowing that they're just going to get better--for me, that's a great thing to look forward to."
Rubin also spoke about the rise in reliable Internet connections and the effect it's had on creating "a massive shift towards multiplayer gaming."
"When people didn't have Internet on a regular basis, or when it was 28k baud modems, or even worse like 24 and 300, you couldn't really do a lot multiplayer wise. So everybody was focusing on single-player game experiences. Multiplayer, especially for stuff like Call of Duty, has taken off so much that we've become a major user of Internet traffic and space."
"So the infrastructure, the internet service producers, have all realised that and are starting to formulate their strategies for how they run their business around multiplayer social gaming. I remember on Call of Duty 4 we have problems in Europe because some of the ISPs here were bandwidth limiting video game traffic. We fought and fought with those guys, and literally sent people to those companies trying to explain what's going on, and fortunately today I think it's a significantly improved environment."
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC on November 5. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will be available at launch.