With the Xbox One X nearly on our doorstep after Microsoft opened up pre-orders of the limited edition Project Scorpio Edition recently, one thing has been the so-called elephant in the room for many enthusiastic fans. With the move to native 4K gaming becoming a reality, file sizes of games like Forza have skyrocketed as a result, with the aforementioned game having a 100GB download size on the Xbox One X according to reports.
During an interview with GamesRadar at gamescom, Microsoft Corporate Vice-President Mike Ybarra addressed this by pointing to the company's research into using the cloud to limit the impact games would have on a user's storage:
"On the platform side [we're] looking at things like what we call internally 'Intelligent Delivery'. It's basically a way of reducing the footprint a game will have on your storage space. The technology effectively says, 'Hey, here’s the bits you need for this section’ and keep[s] the rest on the Cloud.'"
This would in theory function in a similar way to how a streaming service works; however, the fundamental difference here will be that instead of delivering a video feed like with PlayStation Now, the game or application in question could 'intelligently' decide which assets to download based on upcoming requirements.
Ybarra did point out that gamers, in general, have more storage available than they need, noting that consumers are more comfortable with saying "I’ve [sic] done playing that, let me push that back to the cloud so I’ve got more room there.". Titanfall and Forza have already experimented with implementing some form of cloud-based computation, with both titles utilizing online servers for artificial intelligence among other things. Other cloud-based tasks are, however, not necessarily time critical operations, and having a system that depends on downloading several gigabytes of data before the next level could be loaded, might make for some jarring experiences if your connection becomes unstable.
However, these are still all concepts, and it is encouraging to see Microsoft already working on some solutions to this potential problem. The Xbox One X is launching on November 7, and unsuspecting gamers might have a nasty surprise since the console downloads 4K assets by default.
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