One of the big features Microsoft is pushing with Xbox One is support for "the cloud." Or, as they like to call it with Xbox One: Xbox Live Compute. Forza Motorsport 5 uses the cloud to create adaptive "Drivatars" that learn from your driving behavior. Titanfall uses the cloud to offer dedicated servers at a fraction of the cost.
While we knew Xbox Live Compute would be cheaper than running dedicated servers, Microsoft revealed today that access to their cloud services will be free for developers. "In fact, we even give them the cloud computing power for FREE so they can more easily transition to building games on Xbox One for the cloud," Xbox Live lead programming manager John Bruno said on Xbox Wire.
By making cloud services free on Xbox One, Microsoft expects more small teams work on online-enabled games. "I do think that will be advantages to the smaller game shops that had previously been spooked about getting into the server development because of the financial obstacle or the development obstacle there," Bruno told GI.biz. "That was one of the big intents, to take this barrier to entry of server development away and let these developers really explore what they could do with the cloud without having to worry about allocating financial resources or server developers to the problem."
Even more exciting: server closures could be a thing of the past. "We've even heard stories where the developers have had that and wanted to shut down games and servers over time and that really does disrupt their communities," Bruno said. However, "one of the big advantages of our service is that it's completely on demand, so that as games wax and wane in popularity so do the resources that get applied to it from Compute."