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TeliaSonera: OnLive's idealism is to be commended

Wed 28 Apr 2010 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
BusinessOnline

But the reality is different says operator; mass cloud gaming still a year and a half away

Vlad Ihora, the business development manager for Sweden's leading network operator TeliaSonera, has said that services such as OnLive won't work on a broad scale unless their makers can secure all of the points between their servers and the end-user.

"Obviously remote gaming is a very important part of the future," Ihora told GamesIndustry.biz. "Unfortunately it's not necessarily a strong part of the present as yet.

"It's not anything to do with OnLive or other such companies, in terms of their algorithms or service in itself - it has a lot to do with the rest of the components in the value chain."

"From a technical standpoint nothing is impossible - techies love a challenge," he added. "But when you mix the technical with the business, it becomes a question of how the members of the value chain will benefit from allowing these services to exist and prosper.

"The idealism is to be commended, but the reality is slightly different."

Ihora said that, based on their existing network structure, console-quality gaming could probably be streamed in Asia followed by South Korea first and foremost, then Western Europe and the US later on.

"Provided the OnLives will adopt a more local, rather than regional approach, then it could become realistic within one and a half years, shortly after Asia," he said.

He also spoke about emerging regions in the networking business, highlighting Turkey as a country that's been an "interesting success story."

"We've had a lot of companies set up in the social gaming scene - the types of games that work there aren't necessarily the subscription-based models or first person shooters, but more like casual and social gaming, microtransactions, and so on," he said of the country.

"They've got some very interesting ways of charging people via premium SMS systems - not so much on credit or debit cards, but pretty much anything else goes. The question is how on Earth to get into Turkey from a network perspective, because sometimes we have customers come to us telling us they tried... but they traced the traffic and it was going via the US - regardless of how basic the game becomes, it's still a bit of an issue.

"That helped in our case, because of our direct connectivity to Turkey - we ended up developing connections from Germany and Austria, directly into that country."

He added that he expected social networking games to become a lucrative proposition for network providers as they start to develop.

"I think the question comes, as they've already reached the critical mass, they now have to make the games a bit more interesting - and that becomes a bit more exciting for the operators all of a sudden.

"Until now it's been a very low demand kind of area from a connectivity perspective - the most important part has just been keeping it online. If it's there and available, there's no real question of delay or packet loss, but as they start to develop a bit further it starts to get interesting on the applications side."

You can read the full interview with Ihora in which he also discusses the company's new US alliance with Activision Blizzard and the Facebook boom in more depth, here.

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