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Crytek: Is the industry ready for cloud gaming?

Thu 15 Sep 2011 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
Development

Carl Jones thinks server costs and pricing could stall the cloud gaming revolution

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz at GDCE, Carl Jones, director of global business development for Crytek, voiced his concerns over the current enthusiasm for cloud gaming.

"It's maybe that the concept has come before we were ready for it as an industry," he said in an interview published today.

"We're just trying to throw things at it right now and I'm not sure if that's going to make people money. And whether or not the consumer needs it."

He agreed that OnLive and Gaikai were doing great things, but identified one very practical issue at the heart of the cloud gaming problem.

"You talk to anyone whose been in the online gaming business for the last five years and they'll tell you that server costs have not gone down," he argues.

You talk to anyone whose been in the online gaming business for the last five years and they'll tell you that server costs have not gone down.

Carl Jones, Crytek

"Because if you just take Crysis or Crysis 2, run it on the cloud, every extra gamer you add in needs a lot more processing power and that costs a lot of money."

He was hopeful for the future though, predicting games being distributed to multiple devices via the cloud, and designers coming up with new ways to use the service.

"I think what's going to happen now is that we're going to start seeing people designing games for the cloud, designing technology for the cloud and making the best use of it."

The full interview, which also features input from Crytek founder Avni Yerli, can be read here.

12 Comments

Peter Dwyer software engineer, openbet

24 0 0.0
Given that I have second thoughts about buying from Steam every time I want to trade in a game for a newer one. I don't think I'm yet ready to trust my hard earned money to the cloud.

Posted:3 years ago

#1
Maybe cloud for backup, but I'm not ready to run games off aether. Network connections are just not advanced as a standard across UK. ranging from ok to woeful to non existent

Posted:3 years ago

#2

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
While server costs have not gone down in 5 years, the amount of power that a sngle server has, has gone up.
A good high end Intel based server blade with 8 cores can do so much more than a quad or dual core blade can.

Do you do get more bang for the buck.
Even then if you add in the hybrid servers that pair upCPU and GPU setups you have some serious power at hand to deliver alot of content to people.

Yes the setup coats are very high but if you can make it work so are the rewards.
WOW anyone?

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Richard Gardner Artist, Crytek

123 32 0.3
I'm lucky if I even get 500kb/s from my BT 20mb connection, the average speed in the UK is around 2/3mb when they advertise speeds of 20/30mb. meaning the majority of people have download speeds of 100-300kb/s. Until they sort out the network infrastructure to the majority of the audience I wouldn't even begin to worry about buying servers. It just feels to early and I don't think consumer mentality is ready.

Posted:3 years ago

#4
uif we survive 2012 *hehe* maybe they are ready in 2-3 years time in UK. just maybe - but I wouldnt hold my breath. Chances of industrial wide action are more likely to happen than wishin on a cloud for now

Posted:3 years ago

#5
Gdce was 1 month ago. I love moldy interviews.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Bernard Parker Studying game design, Full Sail University

23 4 0.2
Were talking the cost of servers vs the cost of manufacturing and distribution here... I would like to see this argument in terms of dollars and cents. Great read btw.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Bernard, its hard to truly cost the datacenter as its more than just the server blades.
You have to factor in your networking needs, storage and storage speed as well as the actual server.

Even then, pressing a disk and packing it for retail is a one off, a server based system can handle multiple titles for the same setup costs.

The accounting is not black and white here, what is actually going to be the real driving factor is the ROI when compared against a physical release VS the online/cloud/DD model.

You might be better building a content delivery system ala Steam or the link and working that in to a cloud based network as the markets evolve.

I do see why people can be worried about latency and network throughput. In my day job latency is a huge deal as is throughput and the money spend on efficent code and networks is staggering but then the driving factor is efficency so the same gains can be made in cloud solutions for gaming if the code is designed from day one to be shoved down a network connection instead of a dedicated system under your TV.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Hakki Sahinkaya

43 32 0.7
Just so it's out there that not all of UK is in stone ages, I'm with Virgin fibre optic 50MB and have speeds of around 5.5MB down and 3MB up.

Virgin also started rolling out their 100MB fire optic in many areas now (I don't work for or care for Virgn btw but their fibre optics internet is awesome).

Not to mention the loveable Mr Clegg (:p) has announced plans to upgrade broadband across UK will still go ahead.


As for cloud gaming, nah. I hate the idea of constantly having to be 'on'[line]. Like when PSN went down, games that required activation or whatever to play wouldn't work, even if they had SP elements, which sucked bad.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Bruce Kennedy BAhons Creative Director, Kennedy Monk Limited

13 0 0.0
I belive most of the modern world is poised for its 'second' broadband upgrade (ie: fibre) just as soon as they can get their hands on it. And with that in place, Cloud gaming is gonna explode in the next year. Maybe not straight away for die-hards who are still invested in their 360 or PS3, but the less hardcore, more impulse buying Wii playing, netbook owning types will see the oportunity to try out next gen games at low cost and low hardware commitment.

Personally I've been enjoying playing about with Onlive (on Mac) for months. Now with recently upgraded fibre internet connection, it's smooth as silk. Now I'm even considering getting one of their boxes.

And finally, if Onlive can (officially) come to the iPad that would be huge.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bruce Kennedy BAhons on 16th September 2011 1:05am

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
I'm with Chee for this one, Cloud saving sure.

But full on Cloud gaming I think is way off.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Kevin Patterson musician

187 103 0.6
Onlive is a well designed service and it really is amazing at what it does.
I love the idea of cloud gaming as an option, but i wouldn't want it to be my default way of gaming right now.
With ISP's trying to impose caps, If they succeed i don't see cloud gaming as a great idea.

I wish that MS/Sony/Nintendo would find a way to have Onlive's brag clips and Arena. I enjoy logging into onlive and watching others play games from time to time.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

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