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back to article Will Nvidia 'n' pals pwn future gaming?

With the introduction of VGX and the announcement of Nvidia's GeForce Grid offering, Nvidia and their partners are taking square aim at one of the biggest market opportunities around: gaming. Video games are big business. For example, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 totted up more than a billion in sales after only 16 days on the …

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Silver badge

"Average human response time"

Human response times don't vary very much around the mean. Pro athletes have an advantage in that they are better at anticipating what is going to happen next.

For example a batsman in cricket will read cues from the bowler's body language to determine what the delivery is likely to be. This has been shown in testing of elite cricketers with shutter goggles that blind them at the moment of the ball's release; they are largely still able to defend the delivery based on the information they've acquired up until that point. Among the best bowlers are those able to mask these cues, confusing the batsman.

Anyway the idea that pro gamers and athletes enjoy one quarter of the reaction time of an average human is pretty much nonsense.

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Re: "Average human response time"

Not entirely nonsense. As far as the game (and hence nVidia) is concerned, reaction time doesn't just involve the human processing time, but also the interface through the control device. A seasoned gamer will be much faster at turning their reactions into the appropriate input signals through a mouse/keyboard, joypad, or even a wiimote or kinect. People used to taking dictation don't necessarily have faster reaction times than anyone else, but they'll certainly be able to respond faster in typing words into a computer and correcting mistakes.

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Re: "Average human response time"

You are pretty much nonsense. Trained individuals react MUCH faster than untrained ones, as can be seen EVERYDAY with anything reflex sensitive such as driving, combat flight, FPS or RTS.

The advantage is NOT just anticipation, and that has been widely verified - I personally used to have an untrained (when I used to game a lot) reaction time of about .14s, a mate who was pro player in AoK and EE was around .11 , etc. - that is on a stupid js test that was unrelated to our respective training.

And he was, like all non-Koreans, absolutely no match for these overtrained monsters, some of who no doubt reach 50ms reaction times in the most competitive games.

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Re: "Average human response time"

You could well be right...but, then again, science has never studied my reaction times...which can be measured using a sun dial.

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Anonymous Coward

"Put them on the game grid"

Seriously, not a single Tron reference in the entire article? You're slipping...

; )

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Re: "Put them on the game grid"

Damn it!!! I hate it when I miss something obvious like that!

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Meh

Console monkeys will be getting owned by their keyboard and mouse wielding PC gamer overlords

in the FPS stakes.

But again I ask, what am I supposed to do when my shitty connection goes down.

Anyone for Ker-Plunk?

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Silver badge

Re: Console monkeys will be getting owned by their keyboard and mouse wielding PC gamer overlords

You jumped straight from Ker-Plunk to next-gen consoles? Wow! You've got some catching up to do... : D

But yeah, good point- all this does require good connections. However, that is the situation I'm in. I only play one game, Halo Reach, with a scratched disc (well done MS, remember to include rubber grommits in your optical drives next time!) that refuses to load the single-player campaign- as a result, it is only good for online multiplayer games.

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Trollface

Re: Console monkeys will be getting owned by their keyboard and mouse wielding PC gamer overlords

"You jumped straight from Ker-Plunk to next-gen consoles?"

Well, no, but the Master System is lost way at the back of the cupboard somewhere.

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Silver badge

Sir

Apples and Oranges.

Comparing a console+tv to an online experience without adding the network latency is misleading at best, and duplicitous at worst.

From what I could see from the charts - they are all measurements of processing when related to getting what is happening in the game on to your screen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sir

I would imagine the network latency was accounted for in the 30ms and 75ms segments marked 'Network'...

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Re: Sir

A fair point, thanks for pointing that out.

Having said that, from another look at the graph their system is only better than a console+tv IF you have a 30ms rtt to their servers? Well, that certainly isn't me.

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Re: Sir

There was another slide in the presentation that might clear this up. I'll describe it (briefly) here: Starting at the data center, it shows a latency of 60 ms for four frames processed. Then an additional 30 ms latency (for two frames) labled as the "IP Network". Then client latency of 30-60 ms for these same two frames. Summing it up, there's a total of between 120-150 ms total latency in the chain.

So the chart in the article does include internet latency - not just client and server numbers. Hope that helps clear this up....

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IT Angle

How does Onlive figure into this?

Is it effectively the same thing, but now we have much more powerful hardware behind things?

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Silver badge

Re: How does Onlive figure into this?

Onlive is probably what was being referred to as '1st gen cloud', I would imagine.

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Trollface

Missing a trick

These companies should also invest in housing and build bunkers around their data centers to house all the online community that want low response times for they're l33t FPS skillz

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Stop

Meh

Still don't see it happening anytime soon for a couple of reasons:

1) If I'm interpreting those latency charts correctly and you're looking at 160ms as your 'ping' then that's way too slow, I'm just a kean amateur FPSer but even I know anything over 100 is bad.

2) Bandwidth - if you're piping all that graphical data to an end user rather than just exchanging a few bits and bytes of positional info you are quickly going to eat up your monthly allowance or exceed your 'fair usage' policy (for 'unlimited' users). The ISPs would have to have a vested interest in providing very fast unlimited connections.

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Re: Meh

Re point 2)

Seems a valid concern to me. However, many ISPs already exclude HD iPlayer from their fair usage policy - ie you can only download, say, 4 GB between 5pm and 9pm, but watch unlimited BBC video... whether this is comparable (do ISPs have their own buffers of popular VOD?) I don't know.

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Meh

Re: Meh

Agreed, I can't see the current (or even near-future) UK networks being able to provide either the bandwidth or low-latency connections for more than 20% of their customers, and even then they'll be charging a fortune for that level of "unlimited" service.

I remember the old days when most people had only 56k modems at home, maybe ISDN if they were fanatical, and many did their gaming in the evenings from their workplace on the company's T1 link. Anyone else remember playing a network game of Doom2 or DN3D over a 56kbps link? Without better networks we'll be back to those days of pretending to the boss you have something you just need to stay a few hours more to finish....

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Bronze badge

Re: Meh

Yep. Remember, latency is not a contractual provision for an ISP. They can up it to 500ms if they want (see traffic management) and you are still stuck in the contract. I don't want to be tied into depending on 2-3 different companies to make sure a simple game works. I already have to make sure my PC + electric works. Why should I have to worry about net connections and third party servers too?!

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Re: Meh

Good points on the latency and bandwidth issues. One of the presenters from GaiKai (a hopefull online game provider) said that when he pitches service providers (like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T in the US), he always asks them "so how much money do you make when customers play with their xBox or PS3 systems?" The answer is, of course, zero. And that's the key. This could give those providers the ability to provide a fast, high bandwidth gaming solution to their customers. If they price it right, it could go a long ways towards keeping people on the cable box and stopping them from going entirely to the net for their in-home entertainment.

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Latency

Is 30ms latency a reasonable expectation for network latency on ADSL nowadays?

Interesting that the NVidia offering has 30ms of network latency, while the 'version 1' offering has 75. Were that 75 included in the NVidia total, i make it as adding up to more than the 200ms average response time.

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Pwnership

The other thing keen gamers might not be happy with is not owning a copy of their games. Personally, I regularly play games I bought 5-15 years ago, on various platforms, using emulators and such; I don't trust companies like nVidia not to go bust or discontinue their services in this timescale. I only buy games on Steam that I'm fairly sure I won't ever want to play again.

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Thumb Up

Re: Pwnership

This. I'll still buy online only games if I really want them and can't get them any other way, but I always have a moment's regret knowing that there will probably come a day when I can't play them any more. I try to avoid it if possible.

It's less of an issue for DRM-free titles, as in cases like the Humble Bundle. And many other games can be cracked. But a more comparable situation might be something like Starcraft 2, where support for multiplayer is entirely dependent on the developer's ongoing service. What if Blizzard went out of business? That would be rather harder to keep playable, and this tech sounds like it would have similar limitations by design.

Also it's nice having something physical on the shelf. Collecting is fun.

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ISP problems

As anyone who has ever had a problem with any of the iSP's will testify, its ok till there's anything wrong.

I spent 3 months paying Virgin 100 quid a month for a 12kb connection (supposed to be up to 50mb,,,)

Before that with the 3mb lines I would get routine 100k from BT

And no amount of complaining or talking to help-desks would help.

This country has a massive issue with the infrastructure and their "relationship" with their paying customers before this sort of thing takes off. As an avid MMO player since Everquest/Asherons Call, I understand the pain of loosing the line for even 30 seconds at 4am on a Tuesday morning.

I doubt the current crop of rip off ISPs could handle the support nightmare

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Re: ISP problems

really? i pay £85 for 60meg BB, top tv package, unlimited phone and sky sports HD.

exaggerate much? :)

i agree its often over used but i do often get my 60meg speed.

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Silver badge

"I’d assume that the providers would institute some pay-per-use scheme where consumers are micro-charged for every game minute - or millisecond, if they can. I’d argue that this would encourage people to try new games and new types of games"

I'd argue that will encourage most gamers to never go near them. Have a look at the MMO market these days, most of them are free to play. Yes they have micro transaction stores but they have found that in most cases people do not want to pay a monthly fee to play and I think a per second fee would be even less attractive.

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Yes, I agree with what you're saying...but....I think that much of the success will be based on how they price it. If they get the pricing right, it will carve off a chunk of casual gamers. But if it's the actual broadband suppliers who host and run the service, they'll have plenty of pricing flexibility. If the per-minute fees are low enough, it'll be kind of like the insidious app market - where some people (few) actually spend less, but most tend to pay more over time - but in tiny bits, but getting much more convenience out of it.

Regardless, this isn't aimed at the devoted gamer - at least not initially. It'll make inroads with more casual gamers first.

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The gaming industry will reprice itself to make that $28bn via the gaming grid. Does anyone seriously believe that an industry this big will allow it's golden goose to be smelted?

Plus: On the same game, a decently configured PC will run rings around a console.

Yeah, if you spend about 10 times the cost of a console on it.

And let's be honest here - the fanbois & l33t types that spend more on a graphics card than a PS3 costs aren't going to stop looking for a new equivalent way to wave their willies around.

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Anonymous Coward

Not really.

I have a graphics card that costs more than a PS3, but that's because I like to get the best out of my gaming experience, and I can afford it. I have no animosity towards console gamers. Oh, and I don't even have a willie.

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Willy Waving!

Hmm, strange that you think people pay more. Only the people wanting current gen pay more. But they usually have the money or are pro's.

Wait till a couple of generations of new cards go past then buy an older one. Less than a PS3 but still much much better.

There you can now scrap the PS3 :)

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Anonymous Coward

Not likely

Considering Kepler has more defects than Obama... it ain't likely that Nvidia will be doing much but damage control for the next five years, only a few years after their last defective product fiasco.

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Anonymous Coward

You can spec and build a decent gaming PC for little over twice as much as a current console. You can upgrade an existing PC for less.

Granted, you can go out and buy a £500 graphics card if you want.

Console prices are subsidised anyway - they get their money back from the game purchases, so you can't simply compare the price of a console to that of a PC.

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Bronze badge
Flame

Paying for it

"providers would institute some pay-per-use scheme where consumers are micro-charged for every game minute"

Ummmmm, no. Either sell/license the titles individually or sell me an all encompassing "unlimited subscription" package. Charging per-unit is rarely designed to be in the best interests of the customer.

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Anonymous Coward

Words...

I find the author's usage of "performant" and "assumedly" most cromulent.

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Re: Words...

Nice one! Had to google 'cromulent' to see if I remember correctly where I first heard it. Yep, it was The Simpsons. Great reference, cracked me up...thanks for that! I'm going to file it away for later use.

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Facepalm

Get facts instead of specualtion! It's just a click away!

For all those wondering about the gaming experience, there is a much simpler way to find out than sitting around here and trying to figure it out from various interpretations of the latency numbers. Go to gaikai.com and click a free FPS-type game demo! Get first-hand data, instead of speculating on second-hand numbers! It's trivial to do and only takes a few seconds! Jeez!

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Mushroom

What does this do to the democracy of computing?

One of the main selling points of computing power to the masses has always been gaming. It seems to me that cloud services like Gaikai and Onlive will change that. We will end up gaming on handheld devices or cheap "decoder-consoles" hooked up to a TV. That means that the computing power owned by individual citizens will actually drop! From a democracy point-of-view, it concerns me... Even if you will still be able to buy a proper rig for a few more years, eventually the masses will have moved to low powered cloud computing video-decoders, and the only market for real computing power will be in machines that require the infrastructure of a server-room to function. Once all computing power has been centralized, it will be in the hands of a small number of very powerful individuals...

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