back to article WTF is... cloud gaming?

It's 3am, you can't sleep so you switch on the television. Amid the inevitable reruns and chatline ads, an advert comes on for the latest videogame. Inspired to try it out, you switch over, grab a control pad and immediately start to play. No download, no trips to Blockbuster, no waiting for the postman to arrive with a game …

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Anonymous Coward

This shows promise

We'll see.

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It'll never get sanctioned

But PS3 and Xbox apps would be brilliant for this service - or if the respective companies can make their own "me-too" versions.

Xbox Live Gold especially - you already pay the subscription

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Err yeah no thanks

I Hate pay per day services.

The biggest gripe i have with WOW is the payement scheme.

WOW costs 8.99 PM.

Battlefield BC2 cost me £40

1 year of WOW £107.88

1 year of BFBC2 £40

So please if all games were pay per play. How the FUCK does that work out cheaper ?????

This if anything would be the death of gaming for me and many others.

slow broadband = not for you, oh and sorry we dont release any games anymore to the public.

Oh yeah and if they think this will stop pirating. LOL

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Dear me...

Don't get me wrong, but your logic is kinda flawed....Bad Company 2 just got a paid expansion that included less new stuff than the average WoW content patch, and generally there's 2-3 of those per year....you're paying for continual new content, and access to 6 years worth of old content....plus people frequently play WoW many hours per day every day for a long time, lots of people do that on Bad company as well (you can tell, those bastard medics infuriate me with their rank 50 and their killing me for a billion miles away with their stupid LMGs), but it's more common in WoW, and if you want to play WoW for just 1 month it's £5-10 for a starter box, not many new £40 games are worth playing for more than a few days....

also: Read the goddamn article, it states there is a permanent purchase of the game option (less than the high street boxed price) and also an "unlimited access" option that gets you full access to all the games under a catchall price per month, that gets you lots and lots of games for you money per month.

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your right sort of as well

the patch was free (map packs) and the add on content (vietnam) was only £10 and is basically a game in its own right, the only thing missing is a single player aspect.

This is only just above the amount of 1 month in WOW.

this has kept me pretty busy. Steam is saying 699 hours (i am not sure if steam holds this on the cloud otherwise its even more as i formatted a while back). I call that value for money.

17.44 pence per hour. so far and will just keep on getting cheaper the more i play.

If you don't think a game is worth it just pirate it, then buy if you like. Although people still release demo's for you to try.

I did read the article and the "unlimited access" im just going to have to go to the bathroom quickly as i just pissed myself laughing. proof is needed first.

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699 hours

So, based on an 8 hour working day, that's 87 days of your life you just wasted acheiving fuck all.

Well done, keep it up.

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Pint

dont feed the troll

For the record I'm glad you spent 699 hours being thoroughly entertained and engaged at the same time, rather than spending the time doing truly antisocial behaviours.

as for the troll, its nice for you to categorise the time spent as being "wasted in achieving fuck all"

much like your post then, and I'd imagine there are many more like it, which I'm assuming is you providing ample hot air to vent your frustration at the fact that you have no way of controlling how "productive" someone is in a manner of their choosing.

Which nicely sums up your rant....you've wasted it and achieved fuck all.

karma.

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WTF?

@699 hours ( 15:39 )

So you're now the arbiter of how people's time is spent?!

Personally it's doesn't appeal to me, same with TV. I don't have the patience to sit and watch films, I can manage the odd 30 min comedy but films are not for me. I would never begrudge someone else that time spent losing themselves in a bit of escapism. The world is nasty, shitty place, what's the problem with people losing themselves in some fantasy for a little bit?

I game a lot in the evenings, during the Winter months when it's too cold to go outside, but come the Spring I am out most days at the crack of dawn taking photographs. Is that also a waste of time? Wandering for hours in the sunshine, pointing a lens at some odd looking bit of wood or some pattern in a field of corn?

Get back under your bridge!

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Anonymous Coward

Oh yeah?

@ The Fuzzy Wotnot - The world might be a nasty shitty place, but, you ain't going to change that or more importantly, improve your own situation by hiding in a make believe box (ie. grinding away in some game), in fact, by doing that, you achieve precisely - fuck all. Also, I don't put photography in that category, far from it.

@Guido Esperanto - So it's either gaming or anti-social behaviour for everyone is it? You will achieve "fuck all" with that kind of fatalistic mind-set.

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Anonymous Coward

So enlighten us then.

What should we all be doing with our time?

From your rant you can only be justified by saying you spend it helping the less fortunate in this world on a daily basis in places where hunger and suffering is rife....

Otherwise STFU :o)

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Go

Interesting challenges ahead

I think this is a really brave move but the road to perfection will have quite a few pot-holes along the way. Here we are, pushing the envelope with significant chunks of data flying around the webz, when a significant portion of the UK still lives on the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway and is still wondering when they are going to get ADSL.

On top of that, if the typical household has several people all wanting to play on-line while one person wants to watch a film or simply check their emails I wonder how well that will work out for them.

I like the idea of cloud gaming but it will be quite a few years before it is available to more than just the privileged minority.

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Prices

I'm sorry but there is no way that prices are "going to plummet" just because there are no retailers in the middle - look at the pricing of books/eBooks in a recent Reg articale, where the price for an eBook was actually higher than a hardback.

The games industry will still want as much profit as they can, hell they'll probably increase the prices due to the user getting the benefit of their super-duper hardware rendering back at the game supplier.

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Stop

Prices

Agreed. When the market is used to paying £30-£35, why on earth would they charge less when there are profits to be made?

It was the same argument with digital deliverable for games. Please see Valve Software's STEAM as an example about how costs saved on boxes/logistics etc. are passed on to the consumer (i.e. they aren't.)

Quite simply, we will pay more for less - their job now is to convince us all that this is a good idea.

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I could see a price drop...

The reason prices for most ebooks are higher than paperbacks is because the publishing company wants to charge that, and people are willing to pay that to read their favorite author(s). If you're going to publish a book, you can go through Amazon or other e-book sellers, but the chances of someone finding your book at all is fairly low - and thus, the chances of you selling any are also fairly low.

I see this as more of the Android or Apple model - if it's easy to write a quick game and sell it for a dollar for a smartphone, then it should be just as easy to write a quick game and sell it for a dollar on a cloud "console". Sure, you're not going to buy Left 4 Dead 4 for $5, but without the box, disc, and manuals, the game company is going to see some savings - and unlike most books, indy games have a real chance of beating major titles. You may not see prices drop on the 'big titles', but prices overall will drop.

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Fixed it for you...

"but without the box, disc, and manuals, the game company is going to see some savings"

should read:

but without the box, disc, and manuals, the game company is going to see some more profit margin

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@fixed it

Agreed. Steam games are not lower priced, they are set by the publisher and are sometimes higher than buying off (say) amazon.

Valve had some excuse for it but can't be bothered to look it up.

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Stop

I think you guys missed my point...

As I noted, current game companies probably won't sell games any cheaper than before. You can spend less money by being able to rent the game on the first day, obviously; but systems like this allow smaller game publishers to release their games more easily. Without the cost of packaging and shipping, a smaller company only has to invest programming time - similar to games for a mobile device, like the iPhone.

I agree with you - bigger game titles will not see a price drop, probably. But is smaller companies can get out there and start making some money, they might be able to muscle the bigger companies out of the way.

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"Console-less gaming on your telly is here, now."

Except that you still need a box plugged into your telly. They just happen to call it an 'adapter' and not a 'console'.

I can see this having some appeal for casual gamers, but the benefits of this over the current XBox/PS3 online services are questionable, especially considering the loss of performance and issues with network infrastructure.

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Stop

not the same

the adaptor won't need an upgrade, as will PS3/XBOX when they decide that you need a new console...

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Anonymous Coward

RE: not the same

Don't kid yourself, they will think of some reason to make you want a new one.

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I like the idea

Part of me likes the idea of OnLive (I've had an eye on it for some time) part of me still clings to the old ways. The notion of running 720p and having about 80MS response time (if I'm lucky, and I do consider it "response time" as it's the time between pressing a button and seeing the repercussions of this button press) is fairly unacceptable for someone who's always put down the money for a really good PC over the last 10 years (if you go for upper mid-range it's not monumentally expensive like it used to be). Maybe when common internet connections get faster this will be a good idea, but really, how much can the latency be lowered by?

People bitch that monitors don't have 8ms response time or better, so is it really likely that up to 150 ms would be acceptable? That's an amount generally considered intolerable in online games nowadays....will we soon be claiming "LAG!!"? in single player?

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Grenade

Trafiic management shenannigins

And how will the service cope with traffic shaping and bandwith throttling? given some of the ludicrous management schemas applied by some of the ISP's in the UK one game should take you into throttling heaven in about an hour? it's a great idea as long as genuine cost benefits are passed on to the consumer but I just can't see that happening. will never replace a pc for things like flight sims and (real) Fps' and I can see most of the games on the platform being....well.....platforms, or yet another movie to game release :( lack of innovation in gaming will kill it off not lack of technology.

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FAIL

Resolution downgrade ...

I never run a game below 1920 x 1200 pixels and that's standard for PC gamers these days, many run at far higher resolutions. Please explain then the attraction of 720p?

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FAIL

Resolution downgrade ...

- "Please explain then the attraction of 720p?"

- And being charged through the nose for blowing your 50GB monthly limit, or face downgrading your broadband to 250kbps, like my ISP, thus ruining your game?

What would happen then, would the game convert to Genesis resolutions, 320 x 224? Thought not.

This fails is so many levels:

1. It requires uber-broadband. Duuuhh. Not everybody can afford that on monthly basis, but one-shot on the wallet and get you a PS3 or Xbox 360 is doable.

2. It would cost monthly fee in all games, regardless they are MMORPGs, multiplayer or not. Ka-ching $$$. No s*it Sherlock.

3. Lag would get you killed in games designed to be played single. Try driving a F1 car at 300 km/h with a 40ms lag, you dimwits. 40ms is the difference between the winner of the race and the 6th place, you morons. You'd be lucky not to become the wall painting outside the next curve.

Do you even know why producers gave up on releasing a sizeable amount of driving games on multiplayer?

Any wild guesses, anyone?????

And I won't even mention flying games where you go Mach 1+.

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Photos at 720p...

...generally look better than cardboard mock-ups at 1920x1200, surely? I can see this being awesome for mmo games. No chance I'd want this to be the future of all games, but that's less resolution and more down to ownership issues.

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what title?

Prices will NEVER plummet. Once a greedy pigopolist, always a greedy pigopolist.

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Never gonna work

It's a nice idea but it's never going to work.

First, most people still have very slow broadband connections and those that don't still have usage caps. This is not gonna change any time soon.

Second, gaming is pretty much always at the cutting edge when it comes to technology in terms of graphics, AI, physics, etc and for that you need a local high end piece of kit if there are a lot of concurrent users, if only to avoid the lag.

The only way I can see this sort of service working is to offer old games to casual gamers (think like those plug into your TV gizmos that you can buy from Argos). It just doesn't appeal to the hardcore market.

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Might be okay for casual gaming..

But it wont fly with hardcore online gamers..

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^This

Questions:

1. Why pipe so much bandwidth when it's clearly unnecessary?

2. Currently I would think there is almost no piracy as far as subscription based games go anyway? (not counting accounts hijacked via social engineering, keylogging etc)

3. Latency... whatever they say, if (1) the game servers are going to also have to work much harder.

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Hmmm...

"The price of games will plummet, as publishers can reach consumers directly without the need for retailers"

Yeah right, that'll happen.

Still, this is an intersting premise. However, the idea of having a physical game you can play years down the line (as I still do with some of the better PS1 titles such as FF7) may disappear. I can't see a service like this storing games online indefinitely. Then of course there are the usual cloud issues (service outages etc) and the fact that the UK broadband network is not yet anywhere near equipped to handle HD game streaming. But if, some years down the line they offer a decent range of new games for a competitive monthly fee, there could be a future for a service such as this.

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Pint

Biggest problem

If my internet connection dies, one of the best things to do is play some games.

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

You could always go for a nice walk, or do a spot of gardening. Maybe read a book?

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Anonymous Coward

Re:Well...

You're not from around here, are you boy...?

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just won't work ...

Until suitable lines are available for the majority of users, i.e. cable or fibre optic AND ISP's provide consistent speed delivery.

and as has already been mentioned, there's no way prices would "plummet" ... although that said, I would imagine prices would drop on less popular titles ... so perhaps thats whats in their thinking, mainstream titles I would expect little change if any

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Anonymous Coward

Latency and bandwidth still problems

Latency of 100ms in a FPS is very noticeable. There's only so much predictive work the server can do. If they can get it to 50ms then they might have a winner.

Needs CDN boxes in the major ISPs datacentres - or at least peered where the transit costs aren't going to force the ISP to throttle the life out of it. In the UK that means BT, Virgin (cable) and a few LLU operators (O2, Sky etc). So in the UK if you're on an ISP that rents from BT then you're probably screwed due to bandwidth costs at the end-user side.

I think they'll struggle to get revenue from anything other than mobile games.

The only people that are going to pay a monthly sub of £18.50 are serious gamers and they won't use it because of the aforementioned problems.

Oh and 1280x720? Who the hell plays on that low a res now?

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RE BT comment

doubt it as BT have a stake in this and will most likely just exclude this service from their fair use policy as they do with BT Vision film streaming

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JDX
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It just seems wrong

In a world where bandwidth is a problem due to exponential increase in use of YouTube and other video sites, people seem set on stressing the networks further... the mentality to put things on The Cloud regardless how useful it is.

If you can stream that much data, downloading a game isn't such a problem. Also, how are they running the games... a huge data-centre of PCs running VMs? Video-intensive games need a whole PC each, unlike running 10 instances on a server.

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not entirely wrong, just a bit

You are mixing pears and apples - the gripe ISPs have with YouTube et al is that it overloads their expensive trunks to the rest of the world.

In comparison, Gaming on demand, just like IPTV, is a solution located at ISP premises, or at a specialized location with separate high bandwidth connection. What's more, it offers a source of revenue for ISPs, unlike bandwidth sucking YouTube.

That said, I do not see how the service can overcome the deadly latency, which makes it entirely unsuitable for action gaming. I imagine quite a bit of the advertised 50ms is spent encoding the H.264 video, and the marketers presume everyone lives in a fiber-connected urban setting. Sadly, for many in Europe, US and the rest of the world, that is not the case.

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I know it's a little odd considering I've embraced Spotify for music

But no thanks. I like my consoles, I like the extra multimedia features they have, and I like buying/collecting games and displaying them on the shelf. I order them from play.com and then look forward to them arriving for a few days, believe it or not.

Also, I get 2 mb/s at best, and I'm not expecting any kind of upgrade round here in the near future, so any service that needs around 5mb/s is no use to me.

Finally, I don't believe the statement that prices will plummet, for the same reasons as others have already stated in this thread. Even so, I don't begrudge paying for games at their current prices anyway, I think you get much more for your money than with other media, especially DVD/Blu-ray.

So, I'll be sticking with the consoles for the foreseeable future.

That's not to say cloud gaming services don't have a place. They do and I'm sure they will be successful eventually. However, I think the author over estimates the impact they are going to have.

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Meh

This may or may not replace consoles, but it certainly isn't going to replace high-end PC gaming unless they add a mouse and keyboard control option.

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Well done

Very valid point !!!

I dont play on consoles as i cant use the controllers to save my life !!!

Never even considered that aspect of it.

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It is available on PC

So you can use your own keyboard and mouse.

I wouldn't, but hey, you could.

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MJI
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Depends on the game

I am a bit useless on FPS with controller, but very good on TPS.

I use motion control for FPS, nearly up to mouse standard but better than keyboard for navigation.

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Bandwidth

I can barely stream regular 240p video in real time. HD gaming over the internet? Ugh years off.

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FAIL

Doomed to fail

Technical problems aside, this is essentially an attempt to shift the business model currently in use by the main console players to something akin to that used by iTunes, and in turn taking away a massive revenue stream from Sony, Nintendo and M$. A bold move, but I don't fancy their chances.

Technically of course, it's doomed to fail. It will always be far better to have the game hosted on a box under (or inside) the telly. The lag is just unacceptable, and would only get worse as the userbase scales. It all seems like a solution without a problem, and a poor one at that.

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Happy

if it's 3AM

and I can't sleep I usually find a quick hand-shandy will do the trick.

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Coat

XBox in the cloud

Microsoft have a great protocol technology called RemoteFX they are currently licensing to TV, STB and monitor manufacturers. I think this will be used to offer a cloud-based XBOX Live service.

If MS give you the ability to play XBOX games "in the cloud" the age of the console under your TV is dead - all your TV needs is the RemoteFX decoder chip, an ethernet port and way to connect the controller (Bluetooth/Wireless?)

Games developers will be released from the physical constraints of the console hardware - their games can scale up, and down as needed and consume as much, or as little, CPU and/or memory as "the cloud" can provide.

Uses won't need to fork out for expensive consoles that are obsolete in a few years, break down, get hacked, develop red rings etc. All you'll need is the TV and a fast broadband link.

It's gonna happen, trust me.

/Mine's the one with the wireless controller in the pocket.

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FAIL

Cynical hat on ....

>>With no downloads and no physical media, what are the file-sharers going to rip? <<

They will be distributing hacked/hijacked accounts instead

>> The price of games will plummet, as publishers can reach consumers directly without the need for retailers - digital or physical. <<

Yeah!! Just like happened with music downloads !!! And e-books !!! And .. and ... oh .....

not to slag it off mind, I signed up for the free trial and played LEGO Batman quite acceptably on my creaky old celeron laptop with a standard 8Mb connection. considering thats based in a US datacenter still thats pretty good. High speed games like FPS might not work as well I suppose...

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Traffic solution

With enough compute power in the cloud you could have your own AI engine play your character for you. You simply pay for an Amazon EC2 engine to run an AI character and pay for the game also running on EC2, it regularly emails you to tell you how many orcs/ninja/gerbils/whatever you have killed and how much fun you are having.

And whats more you have lots of spare time to go out and do something fun instead

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Clouds

The main problem I have with this is the obvious latency issues that would be caused by rain, sleet or snow... no I'm not sorry, that was no crappier than the name 'cloud'.. or that we should all trust the things that matter to us, say photos, to an internet startup that's been around for nearly 5 minutes.

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