The Xbox One may "effectively over time ... get more powerful" thanks to cloud-based computing, according to Boyd Multerer, director of development on Microsoft's next-gen console.
Multerer said that the Xbox One's architecture and ability to tap into a "variable number of transistors in the cloud" — as opposed to the fixed processing power on the console itself — may free up power to the console as the system evolves. Lower priority computational loads, he said, will eventually move to the cloud to free up local resources.
Xbox One developers will also have access to a reliable, dedicated amount of processing for games and entertainment, separate from supporting applications like Twitter, Facebook and SmartGlass, which were added to the Xbox 360 well after the console's launch. Multerer spoke of a dedicated partition of the Xbox One operating system aimed at "one game at a time," running alongside other virtual machines that handle other tasks.
"The last one, the box was fixed," Multerer said, but that Xbox One will have access to "a growing number of transistors that are not that far away" that will allow "for bigger worlds, and take some of the things that are normally done locally and push them out."
Xbox One will push growth, he said, while "still maintaining the stability of a developer's needs."
Turn 10 Studios creative director Dan Greenawalt said those cloud-based computations will also help in the development and evolution of games. Greenawalt talked about being directly involved in designing an evolving world, based on the way players interact with their games. He envisioned observing the "meta level" of the way people play, taking that data and inserting that feedback into the game.
For example, he said, a game like Skyrim could have added an achievement for "taking an arrow to the knee" to the game after the phrase was popularized as a meme and well after the game was released on Xbox 360.