Square Enix’s worldwide technology director, Julien Merceron, has said the next generation of consoles needs to include the facility for cloud storage in order to take advantage of the game changing effects it has.
“When it comes down to future hardware platforms, and official home consoles, I think its going to be instrumental,” he said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. The point he’s making, is that it removes the need for expensive hardware upgrades, which would circumvent issues like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 dashboard update needing more than the original 512MB provided with the memory cards issued with the Arcade edition.
“If you imagine a platform that would basically have cloud computing capabilities, for example, then why would you eventually need to change the hardware? Because actually what you then just do is basically change the back end to be more powerful.”
He didn’t stop there however, suggesting that the cloud could even go as far as to change the way player characters and NPCs interact with one another. “You could potentially have NPCs in your game that play like your friends, or like some of your friends. So I think cloud storage will actually have a huge impact in terms of gameplay, game design, artificial intelligence, etcetera. It’s also going to allow players to play an experience almost on any platform, if they want to, and that’s a big changer both for the business and for the games.”
Cloud computing has so far been used for external storage and for streaming gaming with services like Online. It’s not massively taken off yet and “cloud” has become synonymous with something trying to sound advanced and techy. However, it certainly has some advantages, whether those will be realised in a gaming world still dominated by PC and mobile console gaming – and with the rapidly decreasing size of portable storage – remains to be seen.