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Digital Foundry

In Theory: Can Cloud Gaming Replace Console?

Wed 22 Jun 2011 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
OnlineDigital Foundry

Exploring the challenges facing the rise of gameplay over IP

Time is being called on video gaming as we know it. No less an expert than id software's John Carmack claims that consoles will fall to Moore's Law and that realistically, we're looking at two more generations of bespoke gaming machines before the curtain is drawn. The future is the cloud: gameplay over IP. The question is, what exact form will it take?

We have two working systems to mull over in the here and now: OnLive and Gaikai, both based on the principle of beaming your control inputs to a remote server that transmits back gameplay in the form of compressed video. The advantages are numerous: no need for game code on the client meaning no piracy, while loading is kept to a minimum (and masked rather well within OnLive's excellent front-end interface) with no lengthy installs. As the server holds all the game code, the player needs a simple dumb terminal and game controller, which - in theory - will never need to be upgraded. Both Cloud services have been seen deployed on a vast array of devices from iOS to Android, Blu-ray players and even TV. We've even seen Gaikai running on Xbox 360.

Both Cloud services have been seen deployed on a vast array of devices from iOS to Android, Blu-ray players and even TV. We've even seen Gaikai running on Xbox 360.

There's also the matter of convenience and access. Your whole game library is instantly available, you can play your games on multiple devices (anything with a controller input and video decoding facilities, basically) and integration options are mouth-watering: how about organising a multiplayer session within Facebook? Better yet, why not recommend games to your friends by letting them play the actual game within the browser? Both OnLive and Gaikai plan to have you playing real games launched directly from your Facebook feed - a killer concept that Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network would have real issues matching. The potential to expand the audience here is phenomenal.

Of course there are the downsides too. Concerns over lag - the time your controller inputs are reflected by the action on-screen - will never go away completely, but so long as there is a relative amount of consistency, the maths work out that the experience can be eminently playable. In a recent interview with Eurogamer, OnLive's Steve Perlman believes that his system could even outperform console:

"Video games today, when they're built for Xbox 360, PS3 or even PC, they have pre-render queues. In order to get as much realism as they can with the processing hardware they have, they introduce multi-frame lag in games. There is some period of delay before the result hits the screen," he says.

"We're able to compensate for that because we have state of the art servers with very high performance GPUs. A 2005 class Xbox or PS3 game, when you put it on a 2011 class server, we don't have to have that pre-render queue. Instead, we use that time for the network delay. The algorithm keeps getting better and better."

Our analysis of OnLive latency at the US launch using a 25mbps connection showed anything from 150ms to over 200ms depending on the game and the performance level. OnLive claim performance improvements, something we'll be checking out at the UK launch.

It's an interesting argument but the fact is that all games have latency built-in to different extents, and short of extensive re-engineering, the sort of lag Perlman is talking about can only be mitigated by throwing more power at the existing code, and it definitely won't be completely eliminated as he appears to be suggesting. For example, we measured latency on the Xbox 360 version of Bulletstorm running at 30Hz to be in the region of 133ms, without factoring in additional lag from the display. Conversely, the game running on an i7 with a GTX580 at 60Hz comes down to 84ms (with v-sync enabled).

In an environment where the server is running several virtualised game instances, it is unlikely that OnLive servers will be able to allocate the same amount of resources to Bulletstorm as our i7 games set-up - indeed, at GDC2010, Perlman talked about twice the amount of GPU resource per instance as an Xbox 360 - nowhere near our GTX580 set-up - but let's assume that this latency can be matched. This means that OnLive has to compress the video, transmit it and decompress it in just 50ms: a tough task. As it stands right now, we've seen a baseline lag of 150ms on certain OnLive titles - just one frame off Bulletstorm on Xbox 360, but on other games where performance is variable, response is correspondingly less solid, and occasionally downright lousy.

"We don't tune the system by some sort of scientific measurement on latency," Perlman continues. "We tune the game system from a human perceptual point of view to try to make it so the game plays as good as possible."

It's a bit of an odd comment (and Perlman doesn't expand upon how latency can be "tuned") but then cloud gaming is to an extent all about smoke and mirrors - making the experience playable and enjoyable even if the actual input lag is a touch on the high side. Actually being able to discern latency without a precision controller like a mouse is actually quite difficult unless you're comparing side-by-side with the equivalent local experience. To a certain extent, it either feels "right" or "wrong".

Can the lag situation be improved? Well, game developers can certainly improve latency through more efficient code: Guerrilla Games reduced Killzone latency from 150ms down to around 116ms between sequels, and Criterion Games managed to get Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit lag down to 83ms on a 30Hz title (which we believe is a first) and reduced it still further to a phenomenal 50ms on the PC version of the game. The lower the core latency in the game code itself, the less noticeable the encoding/decoding/transmission overhead added by Cloud services will be.

It's also reasonable to assume that infrastructure deals such as the one struck by OnLive with BT Internet will make a difference: cutting out as much of the internet as possible and talking as directly with the server as you can is bound to make a difference.

But what of the fluctuating picture quality? OnLive appears to operate on the same general principle as Gaikai - both systems use the same h.264 video codec as featured in streaming Flash video, but the keyframes, or "intra" frames (reference points from which future frames are derived) are instead replaced with what is called periodic intra refresh. In this situation the frame is split into sections which have reference information updated in sequence, cutting down latencies and improving compression efficiency in an environment where every millisecond counts.

A potential route to improving picture quality may well be to offload the issue of video compression from the cloud service and instead make it part of the actual rendering process in-game.

However, the fact remains that there's only so much bandwidth available. The more detailed an image is and the more motion there is on-screen, the more data needs to be sent to the user in order to sustain the same image quality. The result can be really poor picture quality in the heat of the action and a direct impact on the gameplay experience. Just the basic make-up of a game's visuals can make a huge difference to compression efficiency. A dark, slow-moving game like Alan Wake is eminently suitable for some serious compression, while a game with a lot of detail/noise like Enslaved is far more difficult to compress, even with relatively slow-moving motion.

Constricted bandwidth is always going to be a problem to a certain extent, and short of throwing more bandwidth at the issue, or introducing more efficient coding technologies, not much is going to change that. However, a potential route to improving picture quality may well be to offload the issue of video compression from the Cloud service itself and instead make it part of the actual rendering process in-game. In the here and now, engine architects are dealing with a high def display as their final output and calibrate their outputs towards that, but what if this situation changed? What if they also targeted h.264 output as well?

OnLive internally routes through a multitude of video streams from all its online users - the Arena offers players the chance to check out actual gameplay and add players to their friends lists. It's a very imaginative secondary use for the core technology.

The way things stand, the Gaikai and OnLive compression systems don't have the ability to judge which parts of the image are important and which are not, so bandwidth allocation is based on movement rather than where the player's focus is at any given point. Crytek has already made some fleeting references in its technical presentations to a "points of interest" focus on video compression - where a core part of the engine tech intelligently decides where bandwidth should be utilised in order to maximise image quality where it matters to the player.

Over and above that, there's the basic fact that optimising for a specific target platform - be it console or cloud-based - will almost always produce a better result. Should cloud gaming take off, we may well see the basic make-up of art assets being influenced by how well they will compress, for example. The other element to factor in is the price of bandwidth itself. Right now, OnLive targets 5mbps for its HD "720p60" streaming. Double that data throughput, and many of the issues to do with picture quality would be resolved pretty quickly.

The notion of a cloud-based delivery system doesn't need to be restricted to just video either. John Carmack predicts a day where rendering technology is so powerful, we have a single device that can dock anywhere and provide gameplay in the lounge, on the move, or wherever you like. At this point, the notion of having a far-off server rendering each individual frame and beaming it across the internet could be replaced by a different system, where gameplay assets are streamed instead with rendering and gameplay logic being handled locally. Different cloud-based systems like this wouldn't necessarily compete with the established providers either - there's nothing to stop OnLive repurposing its datacentres for a different kind of traffic, for example.

This way of utilising the cloud wouldn't have the immediacy of the Gaikai/OnLive experience (games would need to be downloaded) but it would resolve the issues of latency and image quality - the device would still be generating the image, and response would be as instant as a local video game. However, the bandwidth requirement in background-loading gameplay assets would be considerable and making it work convincingly could require a fundamental re-think of the way games are designed.

There's plenty of time for that to happen, of course, and for a whole range of alternative solutions to become apparent. If cloud gaming is to gain traction over two console generations, the transformation we could expect to see in that time period would be quite phenomenal. Quite where the PC would sit within the new eco-structure is an interesting question: OnLive and Gaikai are both based on PC architecture, suggesting a rosy future for hardcore gamers if these systems gain traction. Of course, the real unknown surrounds how the existing major platform holders - Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo - would respond to the challenge in seeing their business models effectively replaced...

35 Comments

Ben Furneaux Designer, Turbulenz Limited

116 55 0.5
Cloud gaming in action feels liberating, it's a real step forward in terms of discoverability and user experience. Right now there are many challenges with cloud gaming and different approaches to solve different issues.

We (Turbulenz) created an HTML5 game engine that streams assets and the game is rendered locally. This allows instant play and negates any latency issues but this solution obviously requires capable hardware.

It'll be interesting to see how the different techniques work in real world scenarios and what consumers/developers gravitate towards. To me it definitely seems as if the next 'console war' will be between high-quality, platform agnostic cloud gaming portals.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,133 1,167 1.0
I stick to my statement of any hardware manufacturer fighting cloud gaming until the bitter end. Because cloud computing also means the relation of hardware per user is min-maxed by the cloud serice. That is definitely bad news for hardware sales. Hardware manufacturers love nothing more than a highly inefficient system wherein everybody has far more computing power availabe 24/7 than he/she actually needs 24/7. Cloud services being a way to dynamically allocate hardware to each user, are the enemy of a system wherein everybody bases his hardware purchasing desicions around his potential maximum hardware hunger.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

302 383 1.3
The problem with this is that iteration of gaming hardware is increasingly less about performance. Things like the Wii and Wii U controllers or the Kinect are more than just an add on controller; it's hard to see how a thin client could keep up in these regards, and going just for "standard" controllers seems like targeting the section of the market more likely to care about lag and image quality?

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Martyn Hughes Managing Director, Staggan Interactive Ltd

10 0 0.0
@Ben... I fail to see how cloud gaming negates latency? Latency is the physical delay in data travelling from point a to point b, even if a game is run in the cloud and rendered locally, you still have latency in the data travelling... and depending on the location of your cloud servers and game players latency could even be worse than a normal game..

Cloud computing could prove extremely useful though for scalability of other areas of games such as chat systems, login etc etc... I don't think as yet multiplayer cloud gaming offers any advantage to players over current options, especially when it comes to dealing with latency.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Kent William Innholt UI Designer, Playdom

1 0 0.0
"This way of utilising the cloud wouldn't have the immediacy of the Gaikai/OnLive experience (games would need to be downloaded) but it would resolve the issues of latency and image quality - the device would still be generating the image, and response would be as instant as a local video game. However, the bandwidth requirement in background-loading gameplay assets would be considerable and making it work convincingly could require a fundamental re-think of the way games are designed."

I think this is what GameTap is doing, and has been doing for many years? At least if the PC counts.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Brian Clair Director of Publishing, Stardock

4 0 0.0
Something everyone always fails to consider are metered bandwidth constraints. Comcast limits users to 250GB a month, AT&T to as little as 10GB a month with various flavors in between. Streaming this stuff off a cloud takes a huge amount of bandwidth as Maximum PC discovered earlier this year when they ran tests with OnLive. How do we think gamers are going to react when they hit their limit of play after only 6 hours a week and then start incurring huge fees?

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Matjaz Puhar Associate Producer, Ubisoft Bulgaria

2 0 0.0
@Brian Clair; I totally get your point but it's mostly relevant only for the US market. In EU, a vast majority of providers charges only bandwidth and doesn't have a cap in place (talking mostly about home users, not mobile). In fact, seeing that one of the Scandinavian countries even included the "right to internet" into their constitution, we probably won't follow in AT&T's steps.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Sean Rogan Freelance Journalist

7 0 0.0
@ Matjaz Puhar:

Not just the US market. Australia/NZ is the same, and so are many other countries.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,133 1,167 1.0
@Brian

Posted:3 years ago

#9
Is it me or does the end of the arictle imply that things are going to go full circle?

It suggests that all of our devices will become so fast that they can do the rendering locally, so the game assets will be downloaded to the devices before you can play... That's How I play games right now. The only difference is that with this implied system, my control input would be beamed off across the interweb to some central server, and then all the way back before I see the results. From there it just makes sense that the device's power would increase to the point where it can run the entire game locally.

Also the idea of requiring a (100% functional at all times) web connection to play single player games makes me cry.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
Don't forget about controllers. I've gotta imagine all the new types of controller inputs only complicate matters for cloud gaming services, especially with cameras like the Kinnect

Posted:3 years ago

#11
It's a bit fanciful to think that the Cloud will somehow displace the device right in front of you. It hasn't done so with normal computing (I have a lot of cloud presence, I'm still typing this on my laptop). The cloud provides a number of benefits surely, but it's an accretive or augmentative effect (and provides other unique capabilities such as the ability to continue playing in a transitory across different devices ... and yes, if I find myself on a thinner client, I can play there too ... but probably with some diminished capabilities due to issues such as latency, etc.).

Moore's Law doesn't imply that devices will go away. As Christopher noted in his comments, it just means the devices will get smaller, faster and cheaper (and Gilder's Law dictates that last mile bandwidth will just get faster which will just make those experiences that much better). I wrote this (http://blogs.oracle.com/brewin/entry/the... 5 years ago as it applied to my (then) business ... it applies equally in gaming today.

There are, of course, examples where the average consumer has accepted tradeoffs in latency and visual experiences for server-side security and scaling, but that's mostly on the web itself (and it didn't last long ... hence Silverlight, Flash, etc.,). Gaming and gamers are a bit pickier when it comes to accepting such tradeoffs (and the client technology is good enough today that they don't have to), so I don't believe this is an either/or ... it's an evolving environment where we get the best of both ... better, smaller, faster clients and a more performant, scalable and more connected network

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Chris Olson Director, Online Business, SEGA of America

3 0 0.0
While it's obviously impossible to precisely predict what the next 5-10 years will look like, I think it's pretty clear that there are some disruptive technologies coming into maturation. Much of the hedging I see in these comments boils down to "that's not the way I want to play games." To me, this is not much different than people once scoffing at the notion that people would pay for consoles in order to play games at home, when there were far superior experiences available in the arcades.

Of course there are technical issues to be considered, but these barriers tend to erode over time.

Also, consider that the target audience isn't necessarily hardcore gamers. The potential audience for gaming is larger than it ever has been and grows with each sale of smartphone and tablet. Games are becoming truly mass market and I think cloud gaming could definitely be a big part of the future. Is it perfect? No. Can it evolve into "good enough for the vast majority?" Absolutely.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
This is interesting... yet problematic for any number of reasons. Security being first, speed being second (reversed in some US markets). As the PSN and other past/recent hacks suggest, people don't like being cut off from their games even for a minute and when it's due to outside forces, it's a total nightmare.

Just how secure is this cloud at the end of the day in an age where some are determined to show what they can do to disrupt services just because they can? If it's under 100%, for me, that's not acceptable. Also, I like having access to my single player game content OFFLINE, period.

As for social life... why is it SO damn urgent and important to too many people these days? Aren't there some games you'd rather play alone or hell, NOT let people know you like? I personally don't give a shit about telling friends what I'm now playing nor do I care to find out what they're playing or watching if I do go online. Hell, I can always call or email them and discuss that or make a blog post if I felt the need to inform more folks about something other than the usual AAA game getting the same plugs everywhere else.

I guess I'm a firm believer in an anti-social network where applicable - sometimes you don't need to nor want to share EVERY damn thing about yourself... which is indeed a paradox, I suppose if one is trying to get more writing work, ha ha...

Anyway, the US still has areas with terrible or zero broadband access, so that adds to the mess. Unless service providers plan to unify and extend into these territories or simply ignore that small but vocal chunk of their current user base while screwing the rest over with crazy fees once they pass their bandwidth caps, there's going to be a battle brewing.

Of course, we're in that lazy age where I see these cloud gaming rates popping up as mandatory in major areas and people complaining for six months before accepting shitty service and higher fees as normal. Yes, I can see some of the sheep collapsing once a few half-assed freebies are tossed their way (FREE Games if you sign up! FREE gaming nights on Wednesday! Play [up to] 3 hours a month at NO charge! FREE controller if you upgrade! FREE Pizza if you bend over a pipe for our 3-year plan!)... grrrr...

Yeah, I can see that being the draw for the less-informed out there... just wait... ;^P

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Justin King Creative Digital Producer, mattel

8 0 0.0
well, given the data caps being imposed by the ISPs here in the USA, i cant see most 'cloud' initiatives working unless those caps come off.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Max Priddy

64 12 0.2
As someone who much prefers owning physical media (at least I can save/backup my steam games to my hard drive) I really hope this isn't so. I mean I like cloud gaming in some respects that you can keep your save data handy for if you need to swap systems with more ease than copying/pasting from a USB pen drive, but the whole idea of cloud-based streaming etc. I really don't like. It's probably because my PC can handle modern games with ease but I'd rather the processing be done my side of the screen really, not to mention those servers with all their processing power could be put to much better use.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer

237 97 0.4
I already don't like digital downloads due to outages of servers or even just stopping providing the specified download or the service just goes belly up. I still like to game without the need for online access. Yes for a multiplayeronline game I can see much benefits in cloudgaming (as everyone will have practically the same (dis)advantages, compared to all the different clienthardware).. But if you do have 24/7 high throughput broadband internet then it might be a great solution..

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Steve Sawyer Editor In Chief, GameGavel.com

6 0 0.0
"Anyway, the US still has areas with terrible or zero broadband access, so that adds to the mess. Unless service providers plan to unify and extend into these territories or simply ignore that small but vocal chunk of their current user base while screwing the rest over with crazy fees once they pass their bandwidth caps, there's going to be a battle brewing. "

Yes yes yes, a million times yes. I have friends that live in the midwest that are still on dial-up connections... In fact, a buddy of mine said that high speed access was so limited in his area, that a local game store that happened to have a high speed connection was making money by offering a service where you could leave your consoles overnight, and they would update your console and all your games for you. Internet access in the United States is still a giant boondoggle at best, and with OnLive requiring at least a 3MB connection to play anything, there's an obvious infrastructure hurdle to jump.

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
I'm going to state this with the most simple answer possible in hopes that logic, reason and some general knowledge of the subject ensure I don't need to elaborate further.



NO.

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Jeffrey Kesselman CTO, Nphos

112 0 0.0
In theory anything is possible.

Reality is far more constricting.

The reality is that "cloud gaming" still requires either a console or a PC to deliver the experience to the user , and the experience it delivers is lower fidelity for high operating costs.

There's a reason why OnLive has suddenly turn 70 degrees and is trying to push themselves as a way to get hrad core cotnent onto facebook. (A pointless exercise if there ever was one. An uneeded service for an uninterested market.)

Posted:3 years ago

#20

Jeffrey Kesselman CTO, Nphos

112 0 0.0
I also note that you use John Carmack's name but neither give us the actual quote nor give us a reference where it can be found. This is called an "appeal to authority" in propaganda terms. Its also beyond sloppy journalism.. calling it ANY kind of journalism is an insult to journalists anywhere.

My guess is you totally misunderstood what ever it was he said.

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 170 0.4
So why is it 99% of us cant even VNC (or equivalent) game video over lan to our laptops and play, but there are people out there trying to do it over the internet.

What happened to one step at a time?

EDIT: And for the record, I am against this idea, but then again, I am against the MMO-isation of most IP and prefer single player games with immersive stories to most multiplayer online games (Halo being the exception due to its compelling universe) so you might have expected that.

Also, this is just paving the way for rent-a-game business models and the cessation of games being owned by the end user. I didn't park my Steam account when I went offline for a year and when I came back all my games were gone, so the whole idea can go dive in a pond for all I care.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Ihegbu on 23rd June 2011 12:41am

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Paul Taylor Deputy Editor, OPS, Citrus Media

6 0 0.0
This article raised a point towards the end that was on the back of my mind most of the way through:

"Quite where the PC would sit within the new eco-structure is an interesting question: OnLive and Gaikai are both based on PC architecture, suggesting a rosy future for hardcore gamers if these systems gain traction"

I think that if OnLive takes off you'll see less and less PC games being released. What would be the point for a dev to bother releasing and optimising dedicated PC code when they're rolling in cash off these set top boxes? The majority of their audience is playing games over the internet, and I just don't believe that devs will see a significant ratio of PC gamers out there worth accommodating for. Plus, you want to cut out piracy? Forget about releasing it on a platform where piracy is rife.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Taylor on 23rd June 2011 1:09am

Posted:3 years ago

#23

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
@Jeffrey
[link url=http://www.industrygamers.com/news/better-know-john-carmack/
]http://www.industrygamers.com/news/bette...[/link]
[link url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-06-16-john-carmack-the-future-now-interview?page=2
]http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-0...[/link]
I believe they are the original sources I have seen quoted. Other places seem to have cut them up in a way which makes other parts of the interviews sound like he was talking about the cloud still, ignoring the fact that he said he was going out on a limb or that he couldn't guess on uptake, on the VG one, and that the Moores law comment on the Develop one seems unrelated to his cloud comments.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 23rd June 2011 6:55am

Posted:3 years ago

#24

G Hayen IT

4 0 0.0
@Ben Furneaux; you render games on local clients using a proprietary HTML5 tool? Then you aren't really working in the cloud are you?

In theory; absolutely.
The architecture behind cloud technology is however still in its infancy.
Your backend servers might be top of the line monsters, if the consumer has a limited connection; it will not work. The weakest link determines the quality of the service and in this day and age the weakest link is still people's internet connections.
I have followed OnLive since its inception and although the concept has tremendous potential, I believe it still is too premature to become a staggering succes.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by G Hayen on 23rd June 2011 8:25am

Posted:3 years ago

#25

Richard Westmoreland Game Desginer, Exient Ltd

138 90 0.7
The first thing this service has to worry about is the appalling state of the UK Broadband infrastructure. The fastest download speed I can get in my current house is 150K, which is this day and age is disgraceful. There seems to be no plans to fix this too, the government 'plan' to have at least 2Mbit in all homes by 2015 (previously 2012) isn't ambitious at all. 2Mbit still isn't fast enough to drive services like this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Westmoreland on 23rd June 2011 9:48am

Posted:3 years ago

#26

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

302 383 1.3
@Richard - and whilst peak download speed is the headline number that gets the government attention, it's not the only issue - cloud gaming could also be affected by latency, upload speed, contention ratios, and reliability.

Posted:3 years ago

#27

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

480 451 0.9
There may be space for cloud-based systems such as OnLive and Gaikai in the long run (although whether it's big enough and profitable enough to support all their investment at this point is still debatable), and I can definitely see the potential for cloud-based services on traditional PC / console systems (like Steam Cloud or PlayStation Plus). But I'd certainly hope that server-side cloud gaming wasn't the sole future of gaming.

A lot of places still don't have fast, reliable, low contention internet connections, and even if you do have a fast broadband connection, your wireless network at home may introduce more latency and drop-outs. And how do these services handle contention rates on the server end - what happens if a big new game comes out and everyone tries to play it at once?

Also, when PSN went down for a month, it was an inconvenience, but we could still play most games offline. If a cloud-based service goes down, your set top box is completely bricked until they're back online. Not to mention what happens if / when the service shuts down. People complained when Microsoft pulled the plug on Xbox Live servers for decade old Xbox 1 games. Imagine what happens when a cloud service shuts down and entire games cease to exist in any playable form.

Posted:3 years ago

#28

Mike Kennedy Founder | CEO, GameGavel.com

20 2 0.1
I, for one, would hate to see the death of physical games. Maybe this is just the old school gamer in me, but I know the majority feel this way as I have read countless comments praising physical games to stories just like this one over the years regarding anything from digital downloads to cloud gaming. I admit that cloud gaming will have its place, but hope and feel it will be years before that is the only option for gamers to get that core console gaming fix. And if that does ever happen, it will be a very sad day! I am devoting my companies to preserving and promoting home consoles & physical games, past, present and future! Stay Tuned!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Mike Kennedy on 23rd June 2011 5:17pm

Posted:3 years ago

#29

Paul Baker Game Designer, Ubisoft

13 0 0.0
This will be more expensive (internet provider caps and charges, and if they dont now, they will, this is a gold mine for them), you wont own the games, simply have the ability to use the service to play the game, so when the company folds, or the internet is down, tough luck), the lag is too much for me and for many types of games (I will stick to my 30ms lag, and play against you with 150ms lag in a shooter, and clean your clock), the lag will get worse as more people use it, you can`t sell the game you buy, so we are well on our way to destroying the used game industry, and thus limiting access to games, the visuals and experience will be degraded and inconsistant, etc...

Sure, sounds great, count me in!

Posted:3 years ago

#30

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
This would be my last console generation because of university and other things in my life.

But if consoles are replaced by cloud gaming and if I can't buy anymore games from the retailer then I would consider myself being a retro gamer for life, and not a current gamer if I can't buy my games either by Japanese imports or if I can't buy the traditional way of going into a shop and buying a game.

Posted:3 years ago

#31

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
Remember, another security hack like the SONY one earlier this year and the cloud gaming could be on hold, thus the industry would crumble if it had all their assets on cloud gaming.

Posted:3 years ago

#32
Good article! Another article on Cloud gaming by Gamasutra has the fellows over at Gaiki seeming both more intelligent about lag and business concerns, as well as far less of a tendency to throw out ridiculous, unspecified, and just downright physically impossible claims like Perlman and OnLive do.

Meanwhile the eventual rise of some revolutionary new transistor technology, a very active area of research in labs (if most of the results have so far turned up commercially unviable), this will eventually lead to exactly what Carmack says. A little device, maybe phone size, you just take with you. At that point there's no need for cloud gaming, just as there's no need for processing your word processor off in the cloud.

Footnote: there is no, and never will be, a need to stream assets. If bandwidth is that available then you'll just download the game.

Posted:3 years ago

#33

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Absolutly NOT. its like saying casual gaming is the future of gaming. I really hate statements like that. I just see it as a new venue for games. Its niether the future or something that will replace what is already established. Like online gaming, it can be used to broaden and expand on how we interact with games.

The idea of streaming game content online is not better then just downloading it locally. bandwith issues are a concern. I know many places in the United States that lack the infrastructure for high bandwith internet, and as games keep evolving, bandwith will always be a concern, since games are always becoming bigger and requiring more assets to run high end graphics, AI and physics engines.

Consoles benefit that they can be updated with the latest technology quicker, they can process all the assets of a game locally and use online or streaming technology in how we interact with other gamers. I for one think cloud computing can do alot for advertisments in games.

Evolving an entire network requires many years. Much like the transition from 3G to 4G networks. These upgrades require billions on behalf of the companies to then sell the service to the consumer and start making money.

CONSOLE gaming is here to stay.

-R-

Posted:3 years ago

#34

Sean Warren Inspector

34 0 0.0
I have no problem following rick, as I share the sentiment... woe is he who iw with out the internet, let alone broadband. But then, that isn't the demographic the industry worry's its self with these days, is it?
Uhh guys and galls, pssst... we are the industry...

Anyway, thanks, this is exactly the thing I have been looking for and forward to reading, since I have the internet... for now.
;D

Posted:3 years ago

#35

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