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Xbox One will get "performance increases over time" via the cloud, says Phil Harrison

Digital evolution is "unstoppable" but user choice is paramount

Microsoft's corporate vice president Phil Harrison has been speaking to a journalist about the Xbox One again. He's incorrigible, that man. In a wide-ranging chat with MCV, Harrison discussed the rise of digital versus the importance of customer choice, and promised that the Xbox One cloud would be used to enhance Xbox One's capabilities after launch.

"The way in which you keep the market fresh is keep the technology fresh and keep the development ecosystem growing so that new and exciting experiences are coming out," Harrison began. "And with Xbox One using the power of cloud we can add features, we can add functionality, we can have performance increases over time. I think that will keep the platform very fresh over a long period of time."


Respawn's efforts with Titanfall and Turn 10's work on Forza 5 aside, how games developers will make use of the Xbox One's cloud servers remains to be seen. Microsoft has suggested that non-time-critical processing tasks can be handled remotely, which means that more of the console's native CPU and GPU power can be used for graphics rendering and the like. Microsoft has a number of "primarily cloud-based" games in the works - perhaps including Frontier's new Zoo Tycoon, which allows you to save and edit your zoo online alongside other players.

Online distribution is the future, Harrison insisted, but disc-based gaming won't die off overnight. "On a macro-global scale, the world is clearly moving in a digital direction. It is, I think, an unstoppable, inexorable momentum. We are going to see the world be truly digital. But with Xbox One we quite correctly give people choice.

"They can consume and play games on disc, and get all the benefits of that. Or they can consume games digitally. Remember our games will launch day-and-date on both digital and physical, so it's up to the user to choose which medium they want and have the benefits of either method."

Rumour has it that Microsoft is road-testing a game streaming service for Xbox One, which may allow the console to "play" Xbox 360 games. How else would you use the cloud, assuming you have any idea what to make of it all?