During Gamescom 2015, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) gave a presentation on its upcoming exclusive game in the Crackdown series, providing an in-depth look at the world of Crackdown 3 powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud network.
David Jones, creative director of Crackdown 3, showed the demo on-stage and took the audience through a display of some physical destruction to demonstrate what Microsoft’s Azure is capable of. Mr. Jones fired at a concrete wall in the game, showing how the impact creates holes in the structure and showers debris on the ground. A pistol and rifle will react differently given their different bullet types. Players can actually pass through obstacles, or in this case, by creating a big enough hole in the concrete wall. If that wasn’t impressive enough, destruction of two full-sized buildings followed suit. Everything happened in real-time.
So how does this work? How can a video-game console achieve such massive computational power? The answer is simple: Power of the cloud. The term had long been jested around for being a marketing gimmick. Sure, AI calculation had been done before in Titanfall through the same methods, but calculating physical destruction in real-time is a massive task that requires a lot of power.
Cloud computing works by offloading the computational tasks from your system, computing them, and returning the output. This computational synergy over the network allows your $399 console to become far more powerful, through accessing a network of powerful servers that are built on Microsoft’s vision to create the best cloud infrastructure on the planet. Microsoft has spent a significant amount on creating its Azure network, an infrastructure of data centers scattered throughout the globe.
The level of destruction shown in the demo is only restricted to multiplayer, and is not available in single-player mode. Still, it will be a mighty achievement if Microsoft delivers. It will also be an advantage over Sony Corp.’s (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4, which does not have the same level of cloud infrastructure.
Crackdown 3 is scheduled to release in 2016 on Xbox One.