Microsoft exec: The cloud won't replace local hardware for next Xbox console

The launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles in November also brought some speculation that they could be the last such consoles released. Many feel that cloud servers that stream games to customers will take over. Indeed, Sony plans to launch its streaming game service, PlayStation Now, sometime in 2014.

But Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer believes that the successor to the Xbox One will still need a lot of local hardware in order to work. In a Twitter exchange with a fan this weekend, who asked if the Xbox One will be the last such console "as we know it", Spencer stated:

He followed up that answer with a couple of other comments, stating that while there will be more cloud services in the future, "local power still increases each gen." On the subject of how bandwidth caps from ISPs could affect cloud gaming development, Spencer stated:

The bottom line: Spencer thinks the Xbox One won't be Microsoft's last dedicated game console and that cloud gaming won't be a replacement for a powerful local processor and graphics chip anytime soon.

Source: Phil Spencer on Twitter via VG247.com

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Just ask OnLive customers how that cloud-based hardware worked out for them.

There is no kind of connectivity that will ever have the latency that will allow for lagless gaming. Our TV's these days add enough lag without the addition of latency lag as we wait for inputs to go from our homes, to the datacenter where your hardware is at, then back to your home.

Cloud has its place with gaming, but not for hardware. The cloud needs to stop at game and file saves and nothing more.

Honestly, we don't even have the technology yet to stream 1080p gaming with no lag. It has just now gotten where the average consumer can stream a compressed 1080p video with no lag, and that doesn't include processing a game fro ma deta center then transmitting it to your home. Hell, we don't even have the technology in place to play games online with no lag, so how in the hell are we going to use the cloud to process our games to our living rooms and bed rooms?

The whole cloud to process our games vision needs to stop. It's okay for emulation purposes, but that's it. In no way in the near future does main stream gaming need to go to cloud-based hardware.

PS Now will fumble and be a bust, but it is a step in the right direction. There will be a point where the gains in graphics quality will offset the latency related issues for some games. maybe latencies will be reduced to a point where most games opt this way. Certainly, there was a time where latencies would make modern fps multiplayer impossible. We've come a long way and now take it for granted even if the render is still local. 10,20,30 years ahead we could be looking at 2014 and wonder how we could exist without cloud rendering.

As far as I can tell, the only way the PlayStation Now streaming service can work, is if it somehow defies the laws of physics, and delivers a low to no latency experience, over typically variable latency Internet connections. Quite simply, Sony's PlayStation Now claims do not add up.

Patmore Douglas said,
As far as I can tell, the only way the PlayStation Now streaming service can work, is if it somehow defies the laws of physics, and delivers a low to no latency experience, over typically variable latency Internet connections. Quite simply, Sony's PlayStation Now claims do not add up.

Well said. I would love for what they're selling here to be possible, but I just don't expect it to work out at all. Instead, they'll be blamed for all of the issues players experience, while having no control over them...

Wait so your telling me the Xbox Games won't just magically appear through the air with molecules and atoms doing the processing for me onto a display with no local computing or processing at all... wow didn't see that.

Anthony Tosie said,
I simply can't imagine wanting to use a cloud service for gaming instead of a local console.

You ain't nevva lied Mr. Tosie.
Bandwith caps, latency, etc... Too many variables right now to make streaming a primary option right now.

I don't think local computing is going anytime soon. It's needed for the most optimized gaming experiences out in the market. However, the cloud is growing and evolving and so is compression technology. Never say never, is what I say.

Agreed. Considering the state of the modern internet in the western world, playing through the cloud in 4K, or hell, 8K, is not going to be feasible for ages.

The next consoles should be pumping out 4K games which would need the hardware in the cloud to be infinitely more powerful to render it, bandwidth requirements would go through the roof and the internet would melt... so of course the hardware is still needed locally

psionicinversion said,
The next consoles should be pumping out 4K games which would need the hardware in the cloud to be infinitely more powerful to render it, bandwidth requirements would go through the roof and the internet would melt... so of course the hardware is still needed locally

HAHA, true.