The cloud can be scary for many for one reason, outages. Microsoft has been building a name for itself in the cloud space with Azure but one of the most popular cloud services in the consumer space would be Xbox Live. Halo multiplayer may not be as critical as the backend for a healthcare network’s EHR, but gamers expect 100% up time. Peak times such as game launches and major worldwide holidays can lead to outages preventing gamers from accessing core gaming functionality. To further exacerbate the problem, Xbox One has increased the reliance many gamers have on their Xbox Live connection.
Microsoft understands Xbox Live should be rock solid with no outages, but doing so requires investment in infrastructure and personnel. Recent job postings from Microsoft reveal their cloud expansion intentions surrounding gaming. "Do you believe: 'the best outage is the one that you never had?' If you do, and have the detailed orientation, the engineering principles and passion to make this a reality, then read on," states the job posting. Microsoft needs more engineers working on Xbox Live to make it more reliable and dependable for gamers. The job listing continues:
"The Xbox LIVE Service Delivery Core Infrastructure team is looking for an experienced service engineer with superb technical skills and exceptional cross group collaborative skills. The ideal candidate will have several years of experience designing, building, troubleshooting, instrumenting, and managing large scale production services."
Many major title launches suffered from interruptions in online services such as Diablo 3, SimCity, and more recently Halo The Master Chief Collection and with the impending launch of Halo 5 Guardians coming this fall, Microsoft wants Xbox Live to be prepared. While gaming isn’t a major revenue draw for Microsoft, it can be an effective way for Microsoft to test their cloud technology under real stress conditions. Companies looking to move their operations into the cloud could see Xbox Live as evidence of Microsoft’s robust (or not) cloud when making their decision.
The future will surely rely upon cloud services for many different parts of daily life. Improving their gaming network builds confidence in Microsoft as a reliable technology company who can be depended upon. The launch of major titles such as Halo 5 will surely be the evidence consumers and businesses need when evaluating which company they will trust in the cloud. Microsoft can also apply lessons learned from their gaming cloud to other parts of the business to strengthen their offerings across the board.