Xbox One cloud updates might reset console during gameplay
6th Nov 2013 | 21:24
Microsoft exec reveals potential problem
We're learning more and more about the Xbox One every day, but it seems not everything we hear is going to be good.
Case in point: the Xbox One can reportedly reboot automatically when it receives an OS update from the cloud, even if you're in the middle of something - including playing a game.
That's what Microsoft's Xbox Live Lead Program Manager John Bruno said November 5 during a GDC Next presentation called "On Demand Compute: Power For Games," according to the site IGameResponsibly.
The details are fuzzy, but what he reportedly said sounds like it could pose potential problems for players, particularly if the cloud is pushing updates to consoles automatically.
Cloudy with a chance of automatic updates
Bruno's statements, while not exactly ambiguous, nevertheless do not appear to paint the full picture.
"Once in a while, rather frequently actually, the host OS will require an update, meaning the physical machine is going to get rebooted, whether your code is running or not," he said.
"That's a problematic thing for a game, and is oftentimes is in the middle of a multiplayer session, we've worked very hard to overcome that, but that's not to say it's going to be a reality in every case."
But he's not clear on how often that will occur, whether a workaround is available, or how widespread the issue might be.
What if the cloud fails?
The highly anticipated game Titanfall, which relies heavily on the Xbox One's cloud services, uses the cloud for a variety of functions, including offloading processes like AI computations and behaviors to the cloud. That frees up the console hardware to do other things.
Titanfall won't function without the cloud, but what about other games that use the cloud to varying degrees?
Bruno was also reportedly asked what would happen if Microsoft's cloud servers failed altogether.
"I can't answer that," he replied. "I don't know what the guys over at Titanfall have built into their game. It's up to the game developer. If they want to rely more on our XBLC service, we're happy to support that. We do provide a platform for them to persist data, but that's up to the developer to utilize that."
That all sounds rather ominous, but it's unclear from Bruno's statements just how widespread or common the issue will be. We've asked Microsoft if it can clarify or explain any more about how the Xbox One will handle OS updates, and will provide an update when we can.
Bruno did however divulge some other tidbits about the Xbox One cloud services.
For example, he said that the cloud-based "Xbox Live Compute" system has been in development for 18 months, and that it was a tough sell for some publishers, in particular Ubisoft.
But Respawn Entertainment, the Titanfall studio helmed by former Call of Duty developers, jumped on board immediately, Bruno said.