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Gaming In The Clouds

12 July 2009 One Comment

cloudI thought I would talk about something I never really thought until now or did not realize it until this morning while I sleeping.  That the gaming industry would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the cloud and why do I say that? Well, look at the millions who play online games across the world and the raw power and bandwidth that is used on a daily basis is immeasurable or rather in the petabytes (1000 TB) or exabytes (1000 PB).  So yeah, we are talking millions of dollars being spent on a daily basis to play online games and so after thinking somewhat about it, running online games through the cloud could be a big deal if plan correctly.

Now I can think of many games and consoles that could benefit the use of cloud technology and it would seem that some people and companies are doing such a task.  One company called Onlive is using cloud technology in order to play games through the browser with a simple plug-in or a hardware device called MicroConsole, which has USB input and HDMI outputs.  In other words, it acts like the middleman by providing a web browser specific to this cloud gaming service.  Of course, some big names have taken a liken to this idea as companies such as EA, Take Two, THQ and a few others and so millions is being poured into this concept to get going and see how good it runs.  Right now, the service is in a closed beta with a possible public release this year during the winter season.

As we all know, one of the biggest problems with online gaming is lag, in the last decade or so this has becoming down thanks to faster servers and of course faster internet connections  Yet, with thousands or even millions playing one game at the same time it will eventually slow down the system.  However, with the cloud infrastructure servers running the games, the lag should be impossible to detect or maybe gone.  Another big sponsor to the Cloud gaming concept is AMD with their AMD Fusion Render Cloud, which is a service design to provide movies and games to its subscribers.  As for how AMD will run this cloud service is by rendering the data server side by compressing it and them streaming it in real time to its subscribers.

It would seem that people are thinking big things for gaming through the cloud, but what will be the aftermath if this takes off, especially with the big three console makers?  Well, it would depend on many factors, which includes money and support, especially from the “Big Three” console makers Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.  Now these three companies have spent billions in the last 20 years designing consoles for the gaming industry.  However, if the cloud gaming takes off, the console era could end and could be tragic times for the big three, as hundreds of millions of dollars would be lost if the transition from console to the cloud happens.

Now I could weigh the pros and cons, but most of the cons are coming from the cloud itself and not from the gaming industry.  As one of the biggest issues with cloud infrastructure is the protection and prevention of data and so far, data loss is still high up there in the worried department.  That of course is the key for the console industry because if data protection and data loss prevention is not a sure fire thing, then the consoles will have a long and glorious life.




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