Watch Dave Perry Talk Gaikai

By Jim Rossignol on July 15th, 2009 at 8:35 am.


What a terrible name, for a games on demand thinger. Anyway, below there’s 17-minutes of footage of the Shiny-one talking about Gaikai, his latest project, courtesy of all-seeing news-tube VG247. In it he reveals that the service is looking at a launch in California in “the first quarter of 2010″, with a beta test proceeding it. All being profitable at that point, they’ll roll out to “the whole of the US”. No one’s taken up the cloud gaming baton for Europe’s (okay, maybe just the UK, the rest of Europe sounds like some kind of broadband utopia if comments below are to be believed) creaky broadband infrastructure as yet, and I can’t say I blame them.

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34 Comments »

  1. Heliocentric says:

    I like Dave Perry, for a while i was a Dave Perry fanboy, but lately? Cloud gaming, really?

  2. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Dave Perry was one of the first developers I knew by name, and recognised on sight. (Largely thanks to Games Master)

  3. cullnean says:

    EARTHWORM JIM!

  4. Dominic White says:

    While ‘cloud’ gaming does seem more than a tad ambitious, games-on-demand services have been running for ages. Metaboli (Europes biggest) in particular has just upgraded to a more Steam-esque encryption system too, fully installing the game as usual and allowing users to mod and tweak to their hearts content, but the EXE’s are encoded to requite launching from the site to prove that you’re a subscriber.

    I just recently got Street Fighter 4 as part of that sites lineup. I’m rather happy with that.

  5. Dominic White says:

    Street Fighter 4 last week, Tom Clancy’s HAWX today, even. Nifty.

  6. the affront says:

    Input lag, the awesome next-gen innovation providing immersion – to anyone, anywhere, anytime!
    I probably forgot some buzzwords in there…

    This seems marginally less dumb than OnLive, considering it seems to be aimed at publishers wanting to demo their stuff and letting them pay for it instead of trying to make the player pay for the assload of hardware needed to run and compress games/video in the age when €150-200/year in hardware is enough to play any game at high detail, retain modding capability, high uncompressed resolution and suffer zero input lag.
    But – only just marginally less dumb. I can’t really see non-”gamers” who didn’t play anything before in their life getting hooked on it because of this. Especially if they were too uninterested/lazy/stupid to install demos beforehand.

    And, yeah, Gaikai? REALLY? There really are people getting paid to think of names like that? The mind boggles.

  7. Harmen says:

    OK, I’ll bite:
    “Europe’s creaky broadband infrastructure”
    You know the US is 20th on the list of broadband penetration?

    for example:
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/06/us-20th-in-broadband-penetration-trails-s-korea-estonia.ars

  8. Dominic White says:

    Just pointing out that most people wouldn’t notice input lag under 50ms. I say most PEOPLE, not most hardcore gamers who demand a bare minimum of 60fps, because the latter group aren’t anywhere near the target market for services like this – they’ve already got high-end gaming machines anyway.

    It might hurt your reactions on something super-twitchy like Unreal Tournament and its ilk, but most games wouldn’t be noticably affected by a 20th of a second delay.

    The real hurdle is video encryption, more than anything. You’d need some crazy dedicated encoding software if you wanted to stream the bare-minimum 1280×720 image at decent quality.

    As for bandwidth, I recently moved out to France, and the cheap internet package here gets me a 20meg line. From services like Metaboli, I often pull down a solid 2mb a second. That’s way, way more than enough for streaming media, even TV-quality or beyond.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    Harmen: true, but the size of the US audience makes that somewhat moot.

  10. mandrill says:

    @Harmen & @Jim: yes and the places where the US has broadband it is usually fiber based and made of much fatter pipes than we have here in blighty. Its all down to the fact that BT had a monopoly in commincations infrastructure till not that long ago and has been loath to give it up, or spend anything to upgrade it. Even our Gov’t's most abitious ideas are limited to getting 2MB into every home, whereas the technology exists to have speeds of 100MB and above (look at Japan and Korea for example). It is a tad unfair to say that Europe’s Broadband infrastructure is creaky as that tars every country with the same brush. Scandinavia (not technically Europe, I know) is doing pretty well and France seems to want to get blistering speeds to the end user (even though the French state is an invasive and overarching presence that will monitor everything you do with that blistering speed).

    I think its safe to say that we won’t be seeing this in the UK anytime soon, not that that bothers me cos I’m leaving :)

  11. Sparvy says:

    @ Mandrill

    Wait what, Scandinavia isn’t part of Europe now? When did we move?

    @ Jim
    But isn’t the US audience so spread out as to make your point moot in turn?

  12. Owen says:

    Where you going Mandril? Incidentally does anyone happen to know anything much about Australia’s internet capabilities? ie. cost/speed/market competition

  13. Carra says:

    There is another cloud computing company that plans to set up its servers in the Netherlands. Can’t think of the name of the company. My favorite games magazine had a six page article on Cloud Gaming, looked interesting but does make me wonder how they’ll do it. You need a maximum of 80ms between giving input in your pc and getting a frame back to make it work. In that time they have to receive your message, calculate a new frame and send it back. Sounds too good to be true but we’ll see.

    One of my problems is that we in Belgium have capped limits. Around 20gb a month. And those streaming games media need around 4 mbit to stream at a decent resolution (~1280×720). At that rate I can see my limits in 10 hours of watching on demand tv or playing a game for 10 hours. The only way we can seriously use these services is if they are provided by our ISPs as they do not count towards our limits. Yeah, the only way I can watch an on demand movie is buying it from my ISP… Bloody bastards.

  14. Paul Moloney says:

    I have to sound like a white-bearded luddite, but just sell me the damn game already. There hasn’t been a game I’ve loved that I haven’t modded or tweaked in some way. Gaikai’s main boast is that it allows people with low-end PCs to play games such as WOW, but misses the fact that (a) you can play WOW on a 7-year old laptop (I did – not pretty but I did) and (b) anyone who plays WOW for any length of time ends up modding the interface anyway.

    P.

  15. Jim Rossignol says:

    My connection is uncapped, but heavily over-subscribed. Weekday evenings and Sunday nights everyone in the village gets 100+ pings and less than 50k/s download. I can do over 1mb/s during the day. That kind of thing would render Cloud gaming useless for everyone locally.

  16. Carra says:

    It might not be the perfect method to sell games. But it does have potential. Monthly payments to play the entire catalogue. Quick trying of demos (research shows that half the people lost interest in a game by the time the download has finished). Try outs of games, pay for an hour of gameplay and you can start that very minute, no installs required. And the OnLive system only needs a television and a game pad to play the newest games.

    And most importantly: piracy is impossible. You’re just sending images & sound to the clients. With a system like this, you can get rid of piracy. And for this reason I can see why publishers would want to push these systems.

    But of course, it might work in theory or in the lab but will it work in the field? Or are most people stuck with caps or slow internet during the peaks? And will the developers develop for it? We’ll see.

  17. Tei says:

    1) It will not work because:
    If you have a 80/20 MB broadband conexion good enough to play stream games with youtube quality, bets are you also have a 400 $ notebook.

    2) It will not work because:
    Theres not gain of the “cloud computing” ( Mainframe again) architecture for gamming. Is not a paralelizable / batchable task. Cloud computing is the wrong architecture for gamming.

    3) It will not work because:
    Input lag will make playing with this a torture.

    4) It will not work because:
    Internet temporal shorcuts / problems. Lack of feedback (?).

    5) It will not work because:
    We don’t need more DRM. Trade is based on fairness. Both parties sould be happy after a trade. If one party feel cheated, future trades will stop. DRM is cheating on the buyer.

    What “it will not work” mean here:
    {imho}Is not a revolution. is incrementally better streaming services that may be usefull for some people{/imho}. There are games where just checking the auction house, or the in-game email system is important. but these games can export to a website with ads that part of the game…

  18. Sunjammer says:

    For me it’s all nonsensical anyway because i like actually owning titles. I suppose it only really makes sense for games that are already pay-to-play, mostly because patching becomes completely transparent and the client is worthless without the service anyway. But for a game like ArmA2?

    Also, slight digression; hello latency! Did people forget you existed? Blizzard omitting LAN play from Starcraft 2 sets a pretty astonishing precedent; Are we to be indoctrinated to believe that 100ms+ latency is okay now? One thing is SC2, but for Diablo 3? OnLive in particular is a mindblowingly unrealistic premise, what with 720p 60fps zero latency gaming over a broadband connection. Even if a pc is dedicated to one player at a time, the *local* latency on that pc remains a factor (local controller input does lag), and from there on it just gets worse. Hell, i’d be mighty impressed if they could get Plants vs Zombies (one of the most responsive games i’ve played recently) to play as responsively over OnLive or Gaikai.

    This seems like such a dead-end for gaming, not so much cloud computing (which is space age awesome).

  19. teo says:

    Seems smarter than OnLive. You won’t need HD for something like this. Look at how popular youtube became without HD. I often play videoclips that I have on my computer on youtube instead just because it’s more convenient. I think this could work

  20. The Sombrero Kid says:

    ehh the US’s telecoms sector is in even worse state than the UK’s if you live in LA or NY you could have a decent cable line, but that’s the same as the UK population centres.

    Compared to the 1.5gbps trials in France (which has arguably the second best broadband infastructure in the world) the UK/US is pretty pathetic.

    I feel you’re tarring the rest of Europe with the BT brush which would be like deciding how good trains in Europe are based on England.

  21. deps says:

    Europe got a creaky broadband infrastructure? Europe isn’t just England and France, you know.

  22. Marar says:

    Romania here, with 10$ per month I get a 1.2 MB/s (not Mbps mind you) universal download, 128+ something Kb/s upload and unlimited bandwith, and that’s just a basic cable connection, nothing fancy. So… yeah, pretty good speeds here in Europe.

  23. Zaphid says:

    When they stop talking and show us something that works, tell me.

    OnLive was interesting because it was first, this service is completely uninteresting to almost anyone who has their own decent PC and is sitting on a line decent enough to DL steam titles anywhere, anytime.

  24. Fat says:

    I have the same problem as Jim.

    I’m in the UK with Virgin Media. 20mb cable connection. I seem to get less than a quarter of my speed during evenings and most of the weekend… often lag spikes joining the party too.

    Apparently it will be fixed by the end of the year once their new 50mb service boxes are in place. Still no sign of that happening so far, but fingers crossed. It’s been messed up like this since January. But they decided it’s not cost effective to fix, rather upgrade it a year later. :/

  25. Persus-9 says:

    I like the sound of this one, it sounds like a good service to me and one I’d be interested in if I were a publisher.

    Especially regarding growing the market thing. I can’t recall any specific figures or references off the top of my head (perhaps someone can help me out) but as I remember the figures for the number of people playing any sort of game from solitaire up is huge compared to those who play what most of us think of as mainstream games. If they can put demos in web pages so that no download or install procedure is required then I think it’ll grow the market quite massively because as simple as those things seem to us they are major barriers to a lot of people. The number of people I’ve seen almost quake in fear and take minutes to answer the questions asked during an install procedure is pretty similar to the number of non-gamers I’ve seen install anything.

    I don’t think OnLive will ever be a commercial success because I don’t think they’ll be able to deliver the service people want at the costs people are willing to pay but I reckon in a couple of years Gaikai might well become as normal a part of the web as embedded videos are now.

    For me? Well I don’t think this is really for me, like you I’m one of the hardcore who already spends far too much money games as it is, I don’t think we’re the target audience. That’s ok for Gaikai because we’re also a tiny minority of the potential market.

  26. sigma83 says:

    Jim: Under 50kbps? I’m lucky if I get 50 kbps!

  27. plowshares says:

    can’t skip around in that video

    what a terrible implementation of the flash player

  28. Skalpadda says:

    100/100 fibre here, which is slowly becoming the standard (along with 25-50Mbit cable) in the more densely populated areas in Sweden.

    The problem as I see it here (assuming the tech works in the first place) is that most people who are interested can afford a decent PC to play games on and a pretty large part of the population don’t live in urbanized areas, and are limited to either pretty bad DSL connections or mobile internet connections, both with acceptable bandwidths, but pretty horrible latency issues.

    There’s also a pretty big difference between what people have available to them and what they actually use and are willing to pay for.

  29. Clovus says:

    I’ve pretty much ignored info on these type of systems because of the obvious lag issues, but I never thought about it in terms of demos. If I could click a link and be playing a demo quickly I think I would overlook the lag issues. That would be a nice way to try stuff out and I would use the service. If I like the demo I would be downloading the full game though.

  30. D says:

    But.. hmm.. if you have the bandwidth to play the demo steamed, wouldn’t it take less than 30 seconds to download? Sorry, I’ll should go watch the video first :/ (Horrible flash player doesn’t even say how long it is..)

  31. MehEnthusiasm says:

    Dave Perry will be relevant again when he starts developing Sacrifice 2.

  32. no says:

    I’m sorry, but this is a TERRIBLE idea in the current bandwidth environment. Some people play games a LOT. Maybe eight hours a day. Let’s say you have two people in the household that do that. And instead of just streaming game code to you, it’s essentially streaming full high quality video.

    As he said, easily 2 megabits. Times eight hours a day. Times two people. That’s 2 megabits for 16 hours a day. That’s almost 450gb of bandwidth a month. That’s 200 gigabytes over the limit with comcast. Assuming you don’t do ANYTHING ELSE online EVER. And for the people with other plans that only have 5gb or 30gb a month? Wow…

    So, with a 250gb monthly transfer limit, that would give you a total of 8.9 hours of play per day split among all people on your network and assuming you do NOTHING ELSE EVER ON THE INTERNET.

    So unless ISPs change their attitudes VERY SOON… or unless these services do special deals with ISPs (goodbye net neutrality!), this is going to take a long time to be terribly viable in a lot of situations. And again, that’s using his base mentioned amount of 2mbps.

  33. no says:

    “But isn’t the US audience so spread out as to make your point moot in turn?”

    Most of the American population lives in very dense city or outlying environments. If you live way out in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to have problems — but those areas have limited portions of the overall population.

    Geographically, it’s a very large country spread far apart. But for the most part it’s big cities and urban/suburban environments with large spans of nothing in-between.

  34. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    @no:
    well, they MIGHT get deals, I hear Valve has already some deals with a few ISPs, so the Steam traffic doesn’t count…