Could the next Xbox be an Azure Cloud-Box?


Xbox meets cloud computing.  Well, that’s hardly a stretch as it’s already happening on today’s Xbox.   The Xbox is already a cloud-enabled device by virtue of having Xbox Live users able to cloud-upload their saved games for access from any Xbox 360 console.  However, a quick look at some strategic factors appears to point to a more, better, always cloud enablement for a next generation Xbox.

Cloud-based gaming is relatively new on the scene of course, and there are a number of examples such as OnLive, Sony (Gaikai), and even Gamestop stepping in and rolling out their own services sometime next year.   A cloud-based Xbox offering would be a strategic boon, for a number of reasons. The Xbox has been keen on service and portal based strategy for some time.  The thought of applying virtualization technologies such as resource allocation based user load, game type, and network conditions can make this a very scalable and robust system.  Ultimately, how these things all connect remain to be seen, but there are a number of quite open but somewhat neglected indicators that point to something big.

Some of the elements that come into play when contemplating this kind of shift really take a step back in perspective on the state of technology.  For one, bandwidth has long been the bane of server-based computing.  New mobile network and broadband capabilities have closed that gap considerably in the last few years.  The Azure platform certainly comes to mind as another valuable property in this picture.  The IaaS infrastructure service from Microsoft already is host to a number of the company’s service offerings.  How that infrastructure relates to the Xbox will be an interesting thing to observe.

Another advantage point brings to mind long heard statistics of the losses that Microsoft has endured in subsidizing the hardware and technology in the Xbox.  A cloud-based Xbox could alleviate the demands of hardware.  But it gets more interesting than that and we are diving in to bring you how these things might be aligning in the market and for Microsoft as it continues to evolve its Xbox properties.