I am an 11 year veteran of Xbox Live and a big fan of the platform but when I hear these marketing terms slung around it I feel I must clarify a few things.
Please join me as I try to explain how some of the things that we have been promised are in fact much less glamorous than they seem.
This is a nasty bit of noise that takes time to debunk but lets just go through a short list of things credited to the cloud that it doesn’t really do.
Automatic system and game updates
There is a reason steam never called this a cloud feature and that’s because it isn’t its a file server feature. While new to console gamers, PC games have done this for years because it’s simple. Check the version you have on your PC with a constant application like Steam, and then pushing new files using the universal patching service that Steam (or similar) offers in-order to update your game or application. (in short windows update doesn’t run on the cloud so why would this)
Your games and entertainment are stored and saved in the cloud
You mean when I buy something via download you can check my account and let me download them again. Why not since iTunes, Amazon Video, divX, Steam, etc, has this service ever been available thanks for doing something that even the Xbox 360 has done in the past.
Start a game or movie on one console and finish [from where you left off] on another
Ok that’s not actually a cloud related service but kudos for doing this, it’s actually kinda cool.
Multiplayer Games, stream [entertainment] and enjoy community and social features of Xbox Live
Technically only the multiplayer is cloud computing and even then only if the game uses just server cluster configurations for more in-depth online interactions, as for the rest well I never knew Facebook and YouTube where considered cloud computing.
The basic problem I’m trying to outline is that “Cloud Computing” is really just a marketing phrase for Internet Connectivity. It’s not that the concept of the cloud (IE many, internet connected, computers working as one) can’t help you do more, It’s just Microsoft’s lofty statements stretch the “The Cloud” almost beyond breaking.