Gamers have been talking about the cloud for years now, and with the Xbox One and PS4 release dates just a few months away, cloud storage is becoming an increasingly hot topic. Microsoft just succeeded in taking that topic to well-beyond boiling temperatures, though, announcing that the company intends to provide unlimited Xbox One cloud storage for all Xbox Live members.
While gamers this weekend have been talking about how much RAM the PS4 OS will consume vs. how much RAM the Xbox One OS will consume, the topic has shifted almost immediately from RAM to hard-drive size. That’s because, in one fell swoop, Microsoft has basically enabled the entire xbox one hard drive to be used for game, entertainment and add-on downloads — and maybe even caching and video storage, if all primary content is slated to be saved in the new Xbox One cloud storage setup.
Logistical details remain scarce at this point, but according to a statement from Microsoft, all Xbox Live members will receive unlimited Xbox One cloud storage. The exact quote, as given to the Examiner at PAX Australia, was “Xbox Live offers Xbox One unlimited storage space in the cloud for all Xbox Live members to store numerous types of Xbox Live content, including your profile, games, Achievements and entertainment. This content is stored and saved in the cloud so you can automatically access it anywhere, anytime, no matter where you are.”
Cloud storage is currently available in a limited quantity (512MB) on the Xbox 360, but things appear to be changing with Xbox One cloud storage. The current model requires Xbox 360 owners to be a paid Xbox Live Gold member in order to save content to the cloud. With just 512MB available, the data being saved is largely individual game-save files rather than full-on game downloads or TV/movie programming.
When the Xbox One releases, however, that model is apparently getting a massive overhaul. According to Microsoft’s statement during PAX Australia, Xbox One cloud storage will be available to all Xbox Live members, whether they be of the free Silver or paid Gold variety.
This is intriguing in part because of the revenue implications: with free cloud storage to even non-paying XBL members, Microsoft’s going to have to make up the server investment via ad dollars. However, it’s also intriguing because of Microsoft’s desire to make members’ content available wherever they wish to access it, which likely underscores a tighter integration between the Xbox property and Microsoft’s Surface tablet and Windows Phone interfaces. Just think: some future all-in-one device may very well have its start in something as simply as Xbox One cloud storage.