The future of Xbox Live is in the cloud, former Microsoft man Brian Price has been telling Game Developers Conference (GDC) China 2011.
While apparently unable to say too much, he said that the the Xbox gaming platform would be gaining some more cloud functionality - though he didn't specify if this was something that would be brought to the current Xbox 360, or if it would be limited to the next generation of the console, allegedly codenamed 'Loop'. However, he did say that some elements were already being implemented - which at least hints at the 360 being part of these future plans.
Price praised Microsoft's Azure SDK, which he said could handle some of the things he believes will be added to the Xbox system. Though no word whether this is what would be used, or if an 360/Loop specific system would be developed.
Cloud computing is already in use on some other platforms. Valve's Steam game ditribution service, for instance, uses the cloud for 'saved game' storage, in the same way that the PS3 does for certain titles, but it's far from widespread yet.
Price did also mention some current cloud services, including OnLive and Gaikai. "These are really gaming platforms as a service," he said. "There are some limitations here, but I really do think this is the distant future of gaming in the cloud."
Gaming news site Gamasutra highlighted a few issues Price felt needed to be addressed by the current cloud-based gaming platforms, too.
The first was that these offerings ocused too heavily on AAA titles. With the growth of casual and social gaming, he says, these services miss out on a massive market of gamers by targeting only the hardcore.
Another stumbling block, Price explained, would be limitations in internet access. "Your gamers need high speed internet access," he said. "That's fine if you live in a city - but most of America doesn't live in a city, for example."