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Crytek: Streaming games service viable in 2013

Yerli reveals studio had researched similar tech being used by OnLive and Gaikai

Developer Crytek has revealed to GamesIndustry.biz that it has researched the viability of a streaming videogame service similar to those currently being touted by OnLive and Gaikai.

However, the Crysis studio concluded that such a service would not be possible until around 2013 at the earliest.

"We had our research in 2005 on this subject but we stopped around 2007 because we had doubts about economics of scale. But that was at a time when bandwidth was more expensive," said CEO Cevat Yerli.

"We saw that by 2013 - 2015 with the development of bandwidths and household connections worldwide that it might become more viable then."

Yerli said that the main barrier would be relying on the technology of broadband providers to ensure a smooth connection and gameplay experience.

"It doesn't take a lot to make a video-based renderer, but what you need is the right infrastructure that is beyond the technology we have, it's more like cable net providers and communication networks.

"They have to provide fast bandwidths and connectivity in order to allow such technology to excel. So as it was dependent on somebody else, we decided to wait," he detailed.

Yerli also clarified that Crytek is not currently involved with Steve Perlman's OnLive service, despite the company using Crysis in tech demos.

Electronic Arts, which publishes Crysis Warhead – one of the titles listed by OnLive as coming soon to the cloud gaming service – is one of the publishing partners, but Yerli himself has not seen the technology up close.

"We're not involved, we just allowed Crysis to be tested on it," he said. "It will be interesting to see how it happens under millions of users. Let's say more than a few hundred users, how it will behave.

"I want to see it myself. I don't want to say it's either 'top or flop'. I hope it works for them because it could improve gamers lives. The technology of video-based rendering is not actually a very new concept but they do some things that others didn't do before so it will be interesting to see," he added.

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Latest comments (4)

Franck Sauer Creative / Tech Art Director, Fresh3d7 years ago
I keep hearing about this bandwidth is not high enough right now thing and I wonder. I mean I've been on 24Mbps for about six month now and before that I had been on 4Mbps for several years. For what I know, it's not like if belgium was leading the pack in term of technology so I was wondering what the situation in other countries is? Anyone can give some figures? I know France is pretty well served, but what about the rest?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Franck Sauer on 2nd April 2009 1:05pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
The US lags (sorry about the pun) behind most of Eastern Europe and Asia because of its lack of density. Some major cities can get fiber optic connections but only in the dense cores and corridors.

Much of America was built after the automobile was introduced which allowed people to sprawl outward providing more space per person. Unfortunately it's a deterrent to the telecommunications industry because it's very expensive to lay down miles of OC-768 capable fiber with few potential customers.

I live in a US city of 1.5 million people in the metro area but the fastest access I can get is 12 MB/s for $70 per month. I am told by my ISP that upgrades are underway that might add a few more MB/s but there is no timetable given for this roll out or what cities are even getting it.

Europe and Asia's higher density ensures that for a far shorter length of fiber you can tap a far higher number of customers making the investment in higher bandwidth much more worth while.
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Julio Gorgé Managing Director, Lemon Team7 years ago
In Spain 3-6 Mbps is standard (depending on availability), though you can get 20Mbps on most big cities for a very small price premium.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Julio Gorgé on 2nd April 2009 8:45pm

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Chris Hunter-Brown IT / Games specialist, BBFC7 years ago
The average broadband connection in the UK is said to be 2Mbps, I think I saw a couple of weeks ago.

I have an excellent connection from Be There which can go up to 24Mbps but I can typically get around 15-16Mbps given my distance from the exchange. It isn't the theoretical peak bandwidth that is the problem for services like OnLive though, it's the latency & quality of service. To get a good experience it needs to be able to pipe down 5Mbps consistently with a response time no more than 16-17 milliseconds.

Unless they work quite extensively with ISP's on these issues and square away the not insignificant costs involved between them, I don't see how current broadband infrastructure is up to it. VOD is not a proof of concept, you can't buffer the streaming of a game to smooth it out like you can a video.
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