Cloud games to play key role in future - Hartmann

2K boss happy that OnLive will overcome technical hurdles as it commits MLB and BioShock to service

2K Games founder and president, Christoph Hartmann, has told that he believes server-based games will play an important role in the future of the videogames business, and is happy with his company's support for the hotly-debated OnLive technology.

"What we think the future will be is the market will shift to more server-based games - similar to the movie business where most people just rent instead of view films in the cinema," said Hartmann at the recent MI6 conference.

"We're looking into that. But given that we're a boutique powerhouse and really only focus on one thing at a time, we're not going to do it like other big people and place five bets. We're going to pick the right opportunity and go after it. The whole market is shifting online and it's the direction that we want to take."

2K is currently planning on placing its Major League Baseball (MLB) and BioShock franchises on the OnLive service, and Hartmann believes it's a "great idea" - but also believes that it will face competition with "other players coming into that market".

But specifically regarding 2K's involvement with OnLive, Hartmann was confident that the technology will live up to its billing.

"First of all, there are a lot of people behind OnLive that have incredible track records - you're always betting on people to some degree, especially in the software world - and we felt also as the market is changing you have to give new people a chance," he said.

"While we have to help in some form on the product development side, it's not like we have to put USD 20 million behind [the platform] and then design a completely new game. It's kind of a calculated bet we could take. We want to support people with new ideas that could take the industry in a different direction.

"I have [seen the technology myself]. It was two years ago in New York that I saw it running, and it was already impressive then. I'm not an engineer, so I can not run you through the technical hurdles. I'm sure they're going to overcome them. Many of the things people predicted weren't going to work, [OnLive] has overcome.

"At the moment, it is the [service] that has the clearest concept of all of them when it comes to server-based gaming and really supporting mature content and any traditional big huge game. Technically, I can't judge it, but once they figure it out I'm sure other players will come into the market and it's unpredictable how many there will ultimately be. Overall it's the right step for our industry because it's what people want."

The full interview with Christoph Hartmann, in which he also talks about community-based games and the closure of Venom, is available now.

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Latest comments (1)

Eric Preisz CEO, GarageGames10 years ago
"What we think the future will be is the market will shift to more server-based games - similar to the movie business where most people just rent instead of view films in the cinema"

I agree with his sentiment, but I think this analogy does not correlate to the controversial point. While I agree that there is a trend of success in media that is more accessible, the controversy lies in the technical hurdles and the business model. Everyone agrees this service would be great to have –there’s no argument there.

I’ve been a naysayer on this type of technology for quite some time and the internet will be my “virtual egg on my face” if I’m wrong; I just don’t see how OnLive can solve latency issues we've been working around since the 60’s (well, the issue has been around forever really). Chip manufactures have overcome latency by doing speculative memory/instruction fetching. This works since instruction and memory fetching has a fairly predictable pattern. User input doesn’t -and therefore you are stuck with the round trip latency.

I hope someone can address this for me. I want to believe in thin clients. Maybe the answer is “don’t play games that aren’t affected by round trip latency”.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Preisz on 20th April 2009 5:05pm

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