More details about Xbox One's video sharing and cloud capabilities

Microsoft's Phil Spencer talks about sharing gameplay videos and cloud computing on Xbox One.

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With the launch of the Xbox One fast-approaching, GameSpot sat down with Microsoft’s Phil Spencer to talk about the importance of cloud gaming and online capabilities in their upcoming hardware.

One of Spencer’s recurring points emphasized how the Xbox will continue to evolve. “Going back to the launch of 360, for those of us that remember, there was the Blade interface and those orange backgrounds. Now you boot your 360 and it feels like it’s almost a brand new console. We’ll see that same level of transition on Xbox One as we integrate more and more technology and features.”

In the Cloud

During the first few months of the Xbox One’s launch, Spencer expects there to be a learning curve as developers acclimate to the new system and get over the initial humps of a system launch. But the cloud infrastructure Microsoft is putting together is something he's excited about. “When you look forward, [developers] can look at how much of the computation they want to keep local versus computation they think they can put into the cloud. Offloading capabilities that take time and resources from your local box will allow it to do more.”

But how far that technology will eventually go remains to be seen. “Watching that evolve over the full life cycle, trying to predict where creators will end up is difficult, but the underpinnings are there for developers that will make use of the technology.”

And the benefits are potentially bigger for indie studios. “Smaller developers, who maybe don’t have the financial resources to build their own server farm...what we’re doing is stepping up as a service and allowing them to use the cloud capabilities behind Xbox One, even for their indie games. It opens up some opportunities, and now they can think about games that aren’t purely local games, but building more service-based games.”

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Microsoft’s support would extend over the entirety of a game’s life, from creation to eventual shutdown. “When [the developer] thinks about offloading and turning off servers, we handle all of that load balancing on our side, opening up capabilities for indie developers to think more broadly about the technology they’d want to employ in our games.”

Going Viral

But you can’t talk about online capabilities without mentioning the prevalence of online gameplay videos. “Sharing game clips and the virality of the clips has become more and more important, not only for the creators but for the players and ‘game celebrities’ as well,” said Spencer. “And the game DVR capability for Project Upload on Xbox One will be a real interesting outlet for many people to share their thoughts or their best moments in games.”

Spencer noted that changes they’ve made to the system’s friends list will affect how you interact with the console. “You still have your friends, but now you have this notion of followers. You and I might play games together, so we’re friends on Xbox Live, but there might be other people who just want to see what you’re doing. They want to follow you.”

Spencer compared that aspect of the system to a social network like Twitter, but for games. “I can start to follow the creators of Destiny and say, ‘What are you guys playing right now?’ I think that’ll create an interesting relationship.”

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