Nvidia On Cloud As The Future Of PC Gaming

By Nathan Grayson on May 30th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Cue a series of horror movies set in an evil server farm.

Clouds are fluffy. They can take the shape of just about anything, too: bunnies, cars, lion kings – you name it. Oh, and they block the sun, which has been known to beam horrific, disfiguring burns down from the sky. Yet, in spite of those rather admirable qualities, we hardly ever notice them unless they’re about to open fire (read: water) on our outdoor fun or belch out a couple tornadoes. The same, oddly enough, can be said of cloud gaming. I mean, the potential’s there for a total upheaval in terms of where and when we experience super high-end PC games. But “core” game communities happily ignore all of that until someone whips out their “The End Is Nigh” sign and starts waxing incoherently about how it’ll kill hardware-based gaming forever.

As is typically the case with these things, the truth will – in all likelihood – fall somewhere in the middle. Nvidia recently announced that it’s betting on cloud in a big way with its OnLive and Gaikai-approved GeForce Grid technology, and while that’s not inherently good or bad for PC gaming, it signals the beginning of change – perhaps even a fairly major one. I spoke with Nvidia general manager of cloud gaming Phil Eisler about why he thinks cloud’s set to become the biggest thing in PC gaming within five years – as well as how that stands to be equal parts very good and potentially quite bad.

First, though, Eisler considered the present. After all, fully streamable games are still on the fringes – especially, oddly enough, on their closest thing to a home, the PC. According to Eisler, it all comes down to the little things.

“There’s certainly a gap compared to today’s PC gaming experiences,” he admitted. “One of the things we did at [the GPU Technology Conference] was compare cloud gaming to console gaming. Because consoles have gotten so old, the experience hasn’t improved in the past seven or eight years – whereas on PC, it gets better every year. So when we deliver PC gaming on the cloud, we can put it on a TV with an experience that’s pretty similar to a console gaming experience. It’s not as good as a local PC experience. Typically, we’re 720p. Most gamers are playing 1080p or higher today.”

“So the modern PC gamer is still gonna prefer a PC gaming experience. However, I think he’s going to appreciate that he also has the opportunity to enjoy that experience on other displays. I don’t think it’ll replace his PC gaming experience. It’ll just extend it. He’ll give up a bit of resolution and latency, but I think he’ll appreciate that for the convenience of being able to play on multiple devices.”

Really, though, that’s hardly the only elephant in the room. As Diablo III has all-too-frequently shown us, stability will always be an issue so long as heaps of crucial data is stored server-side. Cloud’s brand of convenience, sadly, comes at the cost of full user control by its very nature, but will it also come at the cost of, er, convenience?

“I think quality of service is an important factor in any service offering,” said Eisler in response to Blizzard’s plight. “It has to be top-notch. And that involves a lot of people. Nvidia’s involved in that. The middleware platform providers like Gaikai are involved in that. The network operators are involved in that. If you’re renting a Netflix movie and it’s not reliable, you get discouraged. So it’s challenging, but they’re solvable problems, and I think the quality of service will get there.”

Further, when frequently accessed servers are in the picture, odds are, a quick game of “Where’s Waldo” will turn up a hacker or 12. Once again, Diablo’s brought the problem back to the forefront, but the danger’s hardly restricted to Blizzard’s debatably hacked  hack ‘n’ slash.

“There’s obviously been publicized hacking of things like the PlayStation Network, and that’s sort of a well-understood problem and something that needs to be guarded against,” Eisler acknowledged. “I think that’s part of what these middleware companies provide. They have to maintain user accounts and they have to maintain their security. That’s paramount. A lot has been learned by having all [these recent hackings], and those lessons are being applied to make it a safe environment. I think those problems are solvable.”

Given, however, that no system’s perfect and malicious sorts will always keep poking and probing for new ways in, any solution – at least, of those in our current arsenal – is temporary at best. That said, while Eisler’s reasoning in regard to security is questionable, his insight into what we’ll actually be playing turned out to be quite a bit more promising.

“What’s been really exciting to me is the reaction from developers,” he enthused. “Almost all of them are wholeheartedly embracing it. They’re coming to Nvidia and saying, ‘We see potential to make cloud gaming better than local gaming.’ We have people coming to us and talking about writing engines specifically for the cloud. So this thing is going to get better and better over the years. I’m really excited about some of these major developments in new cloud engines that we’ll see a couple years from now that’ll, I think, really change the game a lot.”

Which sounds all at once incredibly promising and – at least, for now – highly, highly far-fetched. And then there’s the matter of how such specialized engines might limit the control we have over our games. What, for instance, happens to mods in this scenario? OnLive promised to start supporting them many moons ago, but so far, no re-textured, genre-bending dice. Easy piracy prevention, meanwhile, makes it tempting to use the tech to lock down games even further, and cloud – by Eisler’s own admission – is “the ultimate control over piracy.” However, he thinks there are – buried under those worries – gigantic potential upsides for both PC gamers and PC gaming as a whole.

“The current common wisdom is that, if you want to sell a computer game, you design for the cheapest hardware that was sold in the last five years,” he noted. “That’s quite limiting, as it turns out. With the cloud, you can get this common platform that we view is probably going to be updated annually – kind of like the PC. It’ll get better every year. For the game designer, they can always know what the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 game hardware is going to look like and design for that. So we do think it can definitely raise the bar on the quality of games.”

“What’s also exciting is that you’ve got the supercomputer in these cloud data center with access to all kinds of resources for memory and storage. Games keep getting larger and larger with all the art they put into them, and the downloads are becoming unmanageable. With cloud, you no longer have to download, so you can develop even richer worlds.”

And ultimately, Eisler was sure to emphasize, the cloud won’t mold itself into some horrifying mockery of everything you know and love. It’s looking to kick off quite a growth spurt, yes, but it won’t replace more traditional options – at least, in the foreseeable future.

“To say that it’s going to take over everything would be like saying that Netflix was going to take over all ways of enjoying movies. You know, people still go to theaters. They still rent Blu-rays. They just also watch a lot of Netflix movies. I don’t think we think the other forms of gaming are going to disappear.”

Even so, he fully expects cloud to swell from constantly doubted niche to try-but-don’t-buy majority, and in that respect, perhaps the modern music industry provides a better point of reference.

“I think there’s huge potential when you make something really easy. And, you know, [online streaming services like] Spotify and Pandora make music even easier. You barely have to think about what you want to play. There’s huge potential in cloud to make gaming just as easy. So I think games will become free and easy [to use]. It’s no longer the notion where you have to save up and walk down to the game store with 60 bucks in your pocket, install it, and update it with patches. You just log onto a website and play instantly – probably without even a credit card. It’ll be just like Spotify one day.”

And admittedly, that does – on many levels – sound very nice. But these are games – not songs. Spotify and Pandora have essentially blurred the line between renting and owning music, but games are rooted in our unique experiences or – less esoterically – our incredibly specific stats and 100-hour save files. Things, in other words, that we own. The forecast for this particular sector of gaming, then, looks cloudy in more ways than one.

“I don’t think people are going to stop buying games tomorrow,” Eisler concluded. “What you’re going to see is that cloud gaming will become the fastest-growing area of the game market. And it’ll probably be where the growth in gaming is going to be over the next five years. The other areas aren’t going to stop over night.”

“I don’t see [PC gamers] changing in the short term. That power user is not going to want to give up [anything performance-wise]. I said we can get the latency to be as good as a console, but not a local PC. But those are ten percent of the world’s gamers. There’s another 90 percent that will probably be quite happy with the convenience.”

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230 Comments »

  1. Brun says:

    Cloud gaming is bad because it requires a walled-garden architecture. If I wanted that I would play on a console or an iPhone. Not much more needs to be said.

    • Groove says:

      Between that and connectivity issues, yeah, it’s a pretty brief and solid case against.

    • AmateurScience says:

      I can really see (and I think this guy is hinting at it) cloud gaming replacing what is now console gaming. The cloud has many of the same features as console gaming: a walled garden as you said being one of them, but it eliminates some of the bad parts: no hardware cycle, constant improvements in pixel pushing, a MUCH lower barrier for entry etc.

      If I was a conspiracy theorist I would wager that part of the reason MS and Sony are dragging their feet over the next console gen is that THIS is were it’s at, and they’re not ready for it yet. Especially now that it seems that NVidia have nailed virtualised GPU setups.

      I see onlive &c growing into the space currently occupied by consoles, leaving local hardware-based PC gaming relatively unscathed (perhaps adding to it in a small way).

      • Brun says:

        The console audience isn’t ready for this kind of service yet. Hell, they aren’t even ready for full-scale digital distribution. To your average console gamer, buying a game still means going to Wal-Mart or Target and buying a disk that you then stick in the drive on the front of the box. I think that we have a while to go before Cloud Gaming replaces consoles simply because the notion of getting games without a physical piece of media is completely foreign to most console players.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Part of the whole point of ‘Cloudiness’ is to cut out the resale/lending market. There may be some pushback from the console crowd on that.

        • AmateurScience says:

          Agreed, although it’s definitely something that will get significantly more leverage within the time-frame of a single traditional console cycle, especially as all the while broadband infrastructure is only going to improve and expand into new territories. It’s enough to make someone involved in making consoles (and console hardware dev is expensive almost to the point of being prohibitive) sit up and take serious notice.

        • Groove says:

          As an addition to this, after the huge hacking debacle on xbox live I’m not even willing to give microsoft my credit card details. Their security and customer service will need to improve DRAMATICALLY for even greater integration to work well.

          (I was one of the many people hacked, after knowing it would never happen to me because I knew what I was doing and didn’t do stupid things with my login info)

      • Enso says:

        I definitely agree with all these points. As buying habits move towards more digital purchases and infrastructure improves I can see this taking the place of the console market. I see Cloud/Console and PC similar to any other interest such as cars, musical instruments, art.

        With cars there are people who just buy what takes their fancy. Then there’s the gearheads, the enthusiasts, who modify, customize or build their own.

        With instruments there are people who can spend decades with one instrument, only replacing it when it breaks. Then there are the enthusiasts who modify/build there own.

        With gaming, many people are happy with their consoles. Then there’s the enthusiasts who modify/build their own machines.

        (Those are the extremes. There’s always a variety of people along the scale)

    • newprince says:

      Cloud gaming is bad because it requires a walled-garden architecture
      How so? Sure a service like OnLive might consolidate their choices a bit when it comes to server machines, but they will still be based on non-uniform parts. Games developers wouldn’t have to suddenly design for a closed system, it would resemble PC game development exactly as it is today. Hell, it might even open up the market a bit so we don’t have 2 CPU manufacturers, 2 GPU manufacturers, etc. I find no validity to your statement.

    • jimjam says:

      Brun you nailed it!
      As Diablo3 shows cloud gaming is a step backwards for gamers, as it will turn games into interactive tv with the gamer not being able to chose when they play or what mods to add.
      Unfortunately Game companies see it as a step forwards (GOG /?valve excluded).

  2. weego says:

    Cloud gaming isn’t inherently bad, but Diablo3 is DRM hell because you have to be online to play. Seems like a sensible editorial stance.

    • Trent Hawkins says:

      but you have to be online to play a cloud game. that’s the freaking point.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        Exactly, and Diablo 3 is one of those cloud games. It is the exact same phenomenon.

      • HexagonalBolts says:

        No I think the point he’s making is that you *benefit* by being online, you’re receiving a service by being online because they stream the game for you for, presumably, less cost than purchasing your own high powered computer. In Diablo 3 being online is not a benefit because, for many users, it causes more problems than benefits.

        • Trent Hawkins says:

          we’re at a point where you can get a good rig for way under 1000 dollars(since games now cater to slow ass consoles), you can get it on the go and you don’t have to pay rent to keep it going (and remember, you still need a PC to play on the cloud).

          With the cloud you might get slightly better performance, but you’re stuck on the leash of internet connection and all the issues that come at the whim of the providers.

    • Groove says:

      The difference is that cloud gaming has potential bonuses from being online.

      In Diablo 3 there are potential bonuses from it too. However the issue is that it would have been 100% benefit to customers if they’d just included an option to play offline.

      • Baines says:

        Cloud gaming does have benefits.

        The one thing I liked about OnLive reviews I’ve read is the ability to watch games being played, and to jump right into an existing multiplayer game.

        That brings me back to the feel of arcades, where you could just walk around looking at games, and could just jump into a multiplayer game. Something that the regular home game model does not support, even with instant messaging and systems like Steam or XBox Live listing your online friends and what they are playing.

        That is not to say that I think cloud gaming’s time has come (I don’t think the infrastructure is yet there), and I certainly don’t think it is without problems (added lag, not having a physical copy of a game, losing modding, and various other issues), but it does offer new conveniences that the existing home model does not support. Of course if companies keep pushing for online-required games the way Diablo III does, then we’ll have an increasing number of cloud gaming negatives without even getting the positives.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I think the difference is, Streamed gaming = streamed video. We know it’s limits but they are worth it for the benefits (no waiting to download).
      Where as DRM is more like a DVD that does not play at all if your PC looses connection for a second, then makes you watch the first 30 mins of the film over again. :P

      • Snack says:

        I never really understood this issue, waiting a game to be released for sometimes 3 years will give me enough patience to wait for a download to finish. Now we gonna trade the little freedom left over what we pay for instant play? Hell, we’ve lost the control already with the unskippable adds, I don’t want to imagine what will happen when we won’t be able to doctor the local files to skip those bastards.
        Also worthy of mentioning:
        Dedicated servers – R.I.P
        Free map packs – R.I.P
        Moding Tools – R.I.P
        Offline play – R.I.P
        L.A.N Play – R.I.P
        Probably you guys can add to this list more, but for me these are the most important elements that vanished in the last 10 years making way to “gaming as a service”
        In a nutshell I miss the days of buying a game and owning it. Now a days isn’t clear if I would be able to play the game I bought a year down the road due to the company going bankrupted.
        We should all remember the infamous quote “We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.”
        Dark days are coming.

        • JXPheonix says:

          I hate to be the guy who disproves all your points (well, not all of them), but,

          Dedicated servers – Ever heard of minecraft? Although, Minecraft is the last of a dying kind of multiplayer game. Don’t call it dead yet!
          Free map packs – Um…Hm…Well…Portal 2 did this!
          Moding Tools – Probably the most alive and well of this group! Minecraft will soon be getting a set, and any game that runs on UE has a good (ish) set of modding tools. Not to mention skyrim and steam workshop.
          Offline play – Yeah, developers are trying to kill this one. Unite to save singleplayer mode! Or at least, not require an internet connection.
          L.A.N Play – Dead. Yeah, dead.

          Cloud gaming will speed up the deaths of all these things. And I want to see all of these things live. Except for LAN play which is…already dead…

  3. Napalm Sushi says:

    So I’m not the only one imagining the chorus to Daisy Bell echoing down that corridor?

  4. Cinnamon says:

    In Summary, the future is bleak and depressing. Everything is worse in the future but at least you might be able to cling onto the past for a little longer.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      If the first 30 years of computer gaming have taught us anything it is that gaming was always better in the past :) The future is horrible, take me back to pong!

      • Cinnamon says:

        Things used to only get better constantly before a certain time. Have you really been only on the consumer side of gaming for a steady 30 years?

    • lijenstina says:

      In the long run, we are all dead. Enjoy your life while you can.

    • Continuity says:

      Yep, and the good news there is that there have already been more good games made than I can play in my life time. Worst case scenario I just play those games :) though I do shed a tear for all that might of been and will not be.

      Goodbye modding, goodbye configuration, goodbye high fidelity control and low latency….

  5. nimzy says:

    Bandwidth caps, traffic shaping, quality of service arrangements, peering agreements and much much more would love to disagree with you, Nvidia.

    • Shockeh says:

      Conversely, all these measures listed could be used to gamings’ advantage, if some big brands and some consumer power got behind it.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        Bandwidth caps have about the same shelf-life as charging for text messages

        • FD says:

          Bandwidth caps in some form are probably here to stay. Not just because they offer increased monetization potential but because bandwidth is, over short time scales, a finite resource. Obviously the big monthly bandwidth caps we’re now seeing are pure profit motive choices but given the direction of the technology its very likely that we’ll see peak hours bandwidth caps becoming more and more common.

          • Llewyn says:

            In many cases (in the UK at least) those bandwidth caps are not profit choices at all, they’re survival choices. The situation is improving, thankfully, but there are still plenty of end-user ISPs paying exorbitant bandwidth charges for ADSL circuits.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          That isn’t true because the text messages are relatively evenly distributed amongst the users, the bandwidth usage is not. You can afford to put in caps that annoy the users incurring 40% of your costs if they only represent 1% of the user base. In text messages the usage is just spread more evenly so the situations are not the same.

          • v21 says:

            Text messages aren’t evenly distributed. And the proportion of costs that rise with bandwidth usage is tiny — it’s almost all overhead. (which is much the same with texts)

            What bandwidth caps do do is stop you from having to upgrade your infrastructure to support quite the same number of concurrent users. Which helps a lot.

        • cybrbeast says:

          Indeed bandwidth will always keep on getting cheaper as the infrastructure becomes better. Here in NL we haven’t had bandwidth caps for ages, in part due to the compact nature of our country. I get a 100mbit connection for €40 a month with a 2-5ms ping to the AMS-IX, one of the largest Internet Exchange Points, so a logical place for on of the cloud servers. So if the cloud is quick enough I don’t expect to notice any lag. The only thing the ISP would need to provide is a good 1080p stream, which is already no problem. I can even stream 4K videos from youtube though my monitor can’t display that resolution yet.

          I do see cloud gaming becoming the future once all these issues are ironed out. One of the biggest advantages with respect to owning the hardware is that the GPUs in the cloud will nearly always be loaded whereas the GPU in a gaming rig is probably under load only a few hours a day or less on average. So it’s a much more efficient use of GPU chips. Also potentially is could give much prettier graphics than even the highest end PCs. Maybe even ray-traced games in the near future.

  6. Brashen says:

    This is balls to the wall retarded in more ways that I can think off. This is Blizzards DRM being enacted on a global scale.

    • Continuity says:

      Its the future, lets just hope the promised benefits materialise as well as the obvious downsides.

    • Roshin says:

      “What’s been really exciting to me is the reaction from developers,” he enthused. “Almost all of them are wholeheartedly embracing it.”

      Well, of course they are. What was the reaction from the gamers?

      Twist and turn the words however you like, but this is DRM and nothing else. I am a bit surprised that RPS didn’t bring this up.

  7. AbyssUK says:

    The cloud was always going to be where games end up, and I for one hope it works out for the industry and they make enough money to keep ‘local’ gamers supplied with decent games.

    Let the bilge use streaming, but still let the other 10% still use our own equipment :)

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      I find it rather ironic that Asimov’s concept of a global supercomputer accessed from “dumb” domestic terminals looked so quaint for so long, and is now increasingly becoming reality. Technological progression is a lot more crooked and loopy than most people seem to realise.

  8. Shockeh says:

    As someone who works entirely in this industry for the business side, I’d say it’s moving way faster than most archetypical ‘gamers’ are aware of. We’re already moving delay-sensitive applications ‘To the Cloud’ (Whatever your opinions on that particular term may be) and every year the capability is proceeding way faster than even Moore’s Law would indicate.

    FPS games are probably the widest of the mark; You could migrate most of the other genres available today, and outside of benchmark testing your players simply wouldn’t tell the difference – their local connectivity (and more importantly in the modern world, the load from the other users of that local connectivity!) would dictate the performance far more than the platform or latency to it ever could.

    If you had titles that were designed for this environment, and the traffic flow was architected and controlled correctly, this process could accelerate, but there’s a lot of momentum in the hardware market and the culture to overcome first.

    • Shockeh says:

      Because I’d lose hours of my life, and just end up looking like an antagonist replying to the individual points I’ve seen in just 10 minutes; Just looking at the replies in this story alone shows how little understanding and how much misinformation there already is about the technologies that make this possible.

      There is no reason it can’t support Modding, still.
      (Hell, if done well, it could actually make it much, much simpler)
      There’s no reason why it has to automatically associate with DRM.
      (Though it does provide the ‘industry’ with more purchase control, this is true.)
      It doesn’t necessarily lock your hardware out from having performance impact.
      (Although you could argue whether this is desirable for ANYONE really)
      There’s no reason why it would use more bandwidth in use than downloading for a local installation, if designed & handled correctly.
      (With the obvious caveats around how long you actually play the game for!)
      All those controls on bandwidth we’ve seen creep into the Service Provider industry could actually be turned to our (gamers) advantage as well.

      • Emeraude says:

        There’s no reason why it has to automatically associate with DRM.

        I’ll bite: is this not making our accessing games co-dependent on the goodwill of a third party ? How can it not be automatically associated with DRM thus ?

        • Shockeh says:

          Well, whilst it means we’d need to authenticate to use the game, it doesn’t mean that’s the reason we’d do so. It’s possible to design systems so that, say, should the game disappear off the platform one day (and there’s no genuine reason it should, apart from the usual EA tactic of ‘get you to buy this year’s edition) it can’t be made available, or redistributed into a form that no longer needs that auth, whatever.

          It’s certainly going to create more control, I can’t and won’t argue that; I’m just trying to say it’s not necessarily mandatory, or fair to start getting out our tinfoil hats as the only reason it’s happening as a movement.

          • Emeraude says:

            Fair point, but why should we care about the *reasons* why something is happening rather than the effects it has ?

          • diamondmx says:

            Also, of the few publishers who have to some extent or another been in the position where they had to ‘shut down’ some portion or all of their game – how many of them enabled customers to bypass whatever restrictions made this the case?

            Consider, for example – most MMOs. When they go down, even if the publisher honestly can’t see any way to ressurrect them in future – they keep everything under lock and key. They do this because they may be able to use or sell the IP later, and any uncontrolled use of it would harm the value they could get from it.

            Consider the obvious example of EA – they don’t do it because it’s competing with themselves. Basic basta … err … business sense.

            I’m sure there are many more examples of games that could have been easily made open enough to function without and were not.

            There are a very small number of counter-examples. It is simply not done to spend money on opening up your own IP to consumers. If it could be done for *free*, it might be done. But not if it costs something, and rarely even if free.

            Simply put – I don’t see much historical precedent or any good business reasoning for your guess that should a cloud (or indeed DRM) service fail, that the consumers would be given any more than a cursory ‘sorry’ and told to deal with it.

            When a company is going downhill, you’ll see the following order of reparations: Executives, Shareholders, debtors, employees, customers. The money will run out long before customers, and usually before employees.

      • djbriandamage says:

        Is this not the very embodiment of DRM? The user’s digital right is to possess bits of data. That right is managed when that bit is streamed on demand rather than being permanently housed on your storage media.

        • Shockeh says:

          Not at all. DRM is to protect the creator/publisher, not the consumer. You have absolutely no ‘rights’ to your software, even your installation of OS is not yours, but ‘rented’ from the developer. They’re managing their rights to not let you do with it anything that wasn’t intended by the original.

          But that’s a whole other horrible topic. :)

          • djbriandamage says:

            Oh of course, legally nothing would change. We license software, we don’t own it. Steam’s EULA clearly defines its customers as “Subscribers” even though we pay one-time fees for its products.

            I’m talking about the definition of Digital Rights Management, not the intent. People’s digital rights are inherently limitless – we can possess or copy or delete bits however we wish. The only way to “manage” digital rights is to revoke them by restricting control over them. Streaming negates your ability to possess or copy or delete those bits.

          • Emeraude says:

            Indeed that’s another altogether.

            I’m personally baffled has to how the gaming industry has been mixing both patent and copyright laws.

            You have absolutely no ‘rights’ to your software,

            We hold many rights on the software we buy. If by this you meant we do not own the software, then agreed. But then again, even the software makers do not own it. They do not *rent* it per see. They hold other rights over it though.

            Finally: rights are the products of conflicting parties needing to find a balance. They are negotiated. They can be renegotiated when the need arise.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          People don’t have a “digital right” to anything. You have the rights you agree to when you make the contract with the party you re entering into a business deal with. If applicable you might also have some rights your society enforces more generally (though they rarely are applicable).

          Rights don’t exist out there is some void. They are practical things. People talk about them as though they are metaphysical entities, which is hilarious. Your right to “life liberty and happiness” or whatever ends the second your society stops enforcing it (if it ever did).

          • djbriandamage says:

            You’re talking about legal and moral rights. I’m talking about digital rights, which, as you say, is a ridiculous concept. Computers are dumb tools for copying bits of data, and that’s all they’re good for. DRM is a human concept awkwardly stapled to this purely neutral technology. DRM as a concept makes no sense because all computers do is copy data from the internet to disk to memory to the cpu to storage media.

            IF there were such a thing as digital rights, that right would be to let the computer do what it does, which is to copy data without restriction. The only way to manage these fictional digital rights, which are utterly limitless, is to restrict them.

          • Kresh says:

            “Your right to “life liberty and happiness” or whatever ends the second your society stops enforcing it (if it ever did).”

            Welcome to the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That right there is the reason it’s there, for when “society” decides that you are a meaningless ant, you can say otherwise. Of course, that makes me an evil right-wing nutjob because I don’t support being taken away in the night, but I’m used to being called crazy for not wanting to live in a totalitarian nightmare.

            As to the article, cloud computing/ gaming could be AWESOME unless it’s used as a giant DRM fence. Tell me Origin (or hell, any big-name publisher) wouldn’t cream their jeans over the ability to have you pay $60 for a game then lock you out and force you to buy a new license when they release the next version. “Hey Mass Effect 7 is out! Uh-oh, too bad your Mass Effect 6 multiplayer co-op won’t work now until you “upgrade” to ME7.” Easy to do and, based upon the DRM kerfluffles, easy to see happening.

            I’ll stave off judgement until I see what they actually do with it. It’s like any “neat” technology; it’ll be cool until somebody decides to use it to try and attempt to direct the behavior of their “customers.”

      • pizza65 says:

        Modding required access to game files. You’re telling me that cloud gaming providers will allow me to poke around and make changes like that? Changes that could impact performance and stability? How about if someone makes a dubiously legal star wars TC in a game you like, you reckon onLive will allow it on their servers?

        There’s no reason why it would use more bandwidth in use than downloading for a local installation, if designed & handled correctly.

        Er, what? This is surely only true if you don’t play it much. Streaming 20 hours of a game at 1080p could consume vastly more bandwidth than having a local copy. This might not always be the case though, I’ll grant you.

        • djbriandamage says:

          I think modding could still be possible. It’s not necessary to replace files in order to apply a mod; you just need pointers to the new files that must take priority over the old files.

          All that’s necessary is to prove that modding improves sales and the industry will find a way to make it happen.

          • pizza65 says:

            You still need access to those files if only to know what they are; you can’t develop blind. And anything you can read, you can copy. There is absolutely no way that a major publisher will allow that sort of hole in otherwise near-impenetrable DRM.

          • djbriandamage says:

            They could put out modding tools or an SDK. It’s too early to say whether something is impossible. Like I say elsewhere, if someone can prove that games with mods sell better than games without, then the industry will create the technology to make modding cloud games possible.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I have been trying to tell the people here this for a while, but they just don’t want to listen. Too many people from tiny studio XYZ saying “oh that is not what we are doing”, despite the fact that what tiny studio XYZ is doing has nothing to do with what the industry is doing as a whole.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Too many moving parts.

      I live in an area (of a large city to boot) that has exactly one broadband choice. The monopoly position means that there is little leverage for customers in response to problems. Other areas near here have the same issues, with their ISPs being even less responsive than Time Warner. And TW has been historically bad about upgrading their infrastructure and overselling their capacity.

      Doesn’t matter how good the cloud services are when they are totally dependent on the pipe the information must traverse.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        The poor regulatory handling of our major information infrastructure is a major problem in the US. You might think Comcast is in the business of providing internet and cable, but mostly they are in the business of lobbying government to relax restrictions on monopolies and buying up the competition.

        Not really sure what the solution is though as the US government barely functions anymore when it comes to fixing economic problems caused by corporations.

        • Arglebargle says:

          I can agree with that. Also, just having the companies that run the ISPs also be content providers throws another monkey wrench into the mix.

        • Ragnar says:

          And here I thought Comcast was in the business of adding equipment that I never rented to my account – after I cancelled my service and confirmed that everything was settled – and then reporting me to collections companies for not returning the equipment that I never had. Because they’ve done this to me EVERY TIME I’ve moved from one state to another.

          Every time we go through this process where I close my account, settle up, confirm that we’re all good, then get a call from a collections company a month later. Then I call Comcast, get the runaround, eventually stumble upon a rep with a brain cell who confirms that it’s Comcast’s mistake, and sends an email to the billing department to correct it. They don’t, collection company calls me, I call Comcast, I’m not allowed to speak to someone at Billing, but they’ll send them another email. Collection company calls me again, I write a letter to Comcast senior management, I get an apology letter in response saying they’ve resolved the problem. I move to a new state, and the cycle repeats again.

          #@$% Comcast.

    • nil says:

      “Beware of he who would control your access to computation, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”

    • FD says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by increasing at a greater capacity then Moore’s Law predicts. Power considerations are about to or already have begun to, overwhelm Moore’s Law because of leakage power. Cloud computing could have worked pretty well during the 2000s when we leapfrogged performance with extreme regularity but now we’re starting to hit out limits. Unless someone comes along and fundamentally reshapes how we design microprocessors we aren’t going to see the performance increases we saw during the 2000s going forward.

      For a detailed treatment the dark silicon paper.
      http://www.cs.utexas.edu/ftp/dburger/papers/ISCA11.pdf

    • TechnicalBen says:

      “their local connectivity (and more importantly in the modern world, the load from the other users of that local connectivity!) would dictate the performance far more than the platform or latency to it ever could.”

      I don’t think anyone really has that as an argument though. We all know in theory we can send a message around the world 8 times in one second. However, in practice all those problems do appear. Load and local connectivity is a very real problem for people. Up until recently, it was for the majority of internet users as well.

      I don’t like adding layers of complexity to a system. It adds more points of failure. I like my 1 PC, running on 1 utility (electric). I don’t want that same pc dependent on 2 local utilities, and then another 2 or more at the servers end. I’m at least doubling my points of failure. :P

    • Ernesto says:

      I don’t see the advantage of having huge server farms instead of a computer per household. It’s a waste of bandwidth and the temptation to have the power to decide what is going to get played and what not.

  9. Werthead says:

    Are downloads becoming unmanageable? MAX PAYNE 3 is going to be a 28GB download on Steam, but even that shouldn’t take more than a few hours. As downloads speeds continue to increase, even a doubling in size of game files shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the near future.

    • Frosty840 says:

      28GB? I can download 18GB a day if I’m absolutely maxing out my connection for the whole 24 hours, and 12GB of those come out of my monthly cap.

      Fucking hell.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        If you want first world gaming you have to live in an area with first world infrastructure. Sorry but thems the brakes. I don’t complain that my cabin doesn’t having running water when I am 200km out in the woods at it.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Unrealistic view of actual infrastructure quality, imo.

          • Brun says:

            This. Infrastructure is not where it needs to be for this to work well. Twenty years from now, maybe. But an analogy to plumbing is far from apt as even the so-called “first world” infrastructure fails to even approach both electricity and running water in both market penetration and uptime/reliability.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            All that matters is whether the consumers they lose due to poor infrastructure are made up for by:

            A) New users who before didn’t have the hardware or technical know how
            B) An increased ability to monetize the games (either through better user experience, better DRM, simpler development, et cetera).

          • Aedrill says:

            No, that’s not all that matters. Can we finally agree to put some fucking label on this guy? This is a gaming site. For gamers. I, as a gamer, don’t give a flying toss about publisher’s money. I want service that suits me and is the best for me. I really don’t care about monetizing, control or piracy. I care about good games and all the goodies that come with them. Like mods. This model has been working nearly flawlessly for long, long time. The only reason it’s changing is that publishers want to earn more spending less, it has nothing to do with enhancing my experience or making the game better. Better game might be a co-product but nobody in the publisher’s office cares about that. That’s exactly why I don’t care about their business.

            Your arguments are misplaced, mate. You keep trying to convince us that publisher’s good should be our focus, while it’s obvious bullshit. It’s other way round. And please, don’t go with your “that’s where we’re gonna be in 10 years!” bollocks. Firstly, you don’t know, what’s going to happen tomorrow, not ot mention 10 years from now. Secondly, we’ll end up in this shithole only if we let them do that – do things like Always On DRM, games as a service, or replacing offline gaming with streaming. It’s up to us, and we should be considering our point of view only.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            I think it is funny you say the model has been “working flawlessly for a long time”, and yet the people here were just as angry when this site started, and people exactly like them were just as angry 10 years ago. Except then they were angry about other forms of DRM, and other changes in the medium.

            I know you want to pretend this whole industry exists solely for your benefit, but it does not. And your ability to understand and deal with the gaming world will improve when you realize that.

          • Brun says:

            The reason things are changing is because publishers have failed to exercise control over their own costs and they are now ballooning wildly. All of the things that “ail” the gaming industry these days stem directly from those rapidly increasing costs, which drive the publishers toward more and more aggressive monetization.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            I am not trying to convince you the publishers good should be your focus. I am trying to convince you it is THEIR FOCUS. You understand the difference. You are like a 4 year old screaming “mine mine mine”, with no awareness or knowledge that their are other people in the world who don’t share your exact every want and need.

            I certainly don’t want the same things as publishers. In fact many of the things they do upset me. In fact I feel the same way you do about many of these issues, but you (and many people here) always seem dumbfounded by their decisions because you seem to think they wake up (or should wake up) in the morning thinking “How can I best please Aedrill?” Which is just ridiculous.

            Do you wake up in the morning thinking how can I best please EA? No you do not.

          • InternetBatman says:

            @Northey
            Technical prowess would be inconsequential among either of the two technologies since it would be in consoles as well. Also, games don’t require nearly the configuring that they used to.

            How many monetization benefits are there really, and how many people will be able to take advantage of them? What substantially changes in this model, and how widespread is the distribution of the benefits from those changes?

          • DrGonzo says:

            I think you are having an argument with nobody here. We all understand why the publishers do the things they do. He was just saying stop attempting to justify it, as that’s what your posts come across as.

            This whole thing is great from one point of view. I can do multiplayer with the girlfriend and not have to buy two expensive computers so that we can play a game once a month or something.

            But on the other hand, in the very long run if this works it would be awful if none of us have any real computers and everything we do is on a server somewhere being tracked and monitored etc. But my mind always jumps to Big Brother.

          • Aedrill says:

            “I think it is funny you say the model has been “working flawlessly for a long time””

            Well, I didn’t say that. I said NEARLY flawlessly. Obviously, DRM is a flaw both from consumer’s and developer’s/publisher’s point of view. The Witcher 2 and entire GOG.com should be proof enough. DRM stopped being about piracy ages ago. Now it’s only about control over the game and forcing further purchasing.

            “I know you want to pretend this whole industry exists solely for your benefit, but it does not.”
            Of course it does. If I benefit from the game in terms of gameplay/fun, they will benefit from me in terms of my money/my recommendation. Frozen Synapse, The Witcher 1/2, DoW2, ArmA2 are only few games of many that have few extra copies sold thanks to me telling my friends about them.

            “And your ability to understand and deal with the gaming world will improve when you realize that.”
            How so? In what way giving up my own interest will improve my “ability to deal with the gaming world”?

            ” I am trying to convince you it is THEIR FOCUS.”
            And I’m trying to explain to you that THEIR FOCUS is not MY BUSINESS. I care about games, and what publishers do now will harm gaming in the long run. If you focus on squeezing the money out of a customer by making his experience painful you will lose this customer eventually. Best example – Diablo 3. Right now it’s a real pain in the arse to find some good high-level loot because whole game is designed around RMAH. That’s wrong. I know, that is the best business move, but I don’t care. I, as a gamer, care about having good time with the game. If I have to spend real money just to be able to enjoy playing game, what’s the difference between D3 and Farmville? And this is my point – if we won’t do something, if we won’t be loud and convincing, that’s the future we’re facing – tons of GhostReconVilles, DiabloVilles, WhateverVilles. And I don’t want that, and you shouldn’t also, if you’re a gamer.

            “but you (and many people here) always seem dumbfounded by their decisions because you seem to think they wake up (or should wake up) in the morning thinking “How can I best please Aedrill?” Which is just ridiculous.”
            No. I want them to wake up, and think “How can I make my game as enjoyable as possible?”. That’s enough for me.

            “Do you wake up in the morning thinking how can I best please EA? No you do not.”
            No, I’m more concerned about pleasing companies like CDProjekt RED, Paradox, Bohemia Interactive, or Mode 7. I just bought DLC for Frozen Synapse mostly to support the company, to show them, I appreciate their efforts. These companies, and many others, are focusing on making great games, on ensuring that player’s experience will be awesome. Sometimes they fail, sometimes not. But they will have my money as long as they carry on doing that. With the big publishers, and great titles, I’m usually waiting for the steam sale. I bought the first Batman for 3.50, and I intend to do the same with Arkham City. I know it’s a good game but I won’t pay more than 5 quid for something with Games for Windows Live in it. Back to the topic. We, gamers, should be supporting those who love games, and forget those who are here just for money. The former will always strive to give us the best experience, while the latter will eventually destroy this industry just like they destroyed Hollywood.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      The same Werthead as from readandfindout.com?

    • djbriandamage says:

      Think of the incredible opportunities cloud gaming could have to this effect. Sure 28GB is huge by today’s standards for what I hear is a 10-hour game, but with cloud-hosted storage the sky’s the limit. (sorry)

      We could have terabyte games with hours and hours of high resolution video. Instead of 3D models we could have high definition video of actors running, jumping, turning, swinging, doing every action imaginable at every possible angle. Gigs and gigs and gigs of video files, streamed to us instantly at a few megabits per second.

      Storage is only one of the back-end benefits. The same goes for rendering hardware. On a $50 device you could run a game at full detail and full frame rate just like a $2000 PC.

      • InternetBatman says:

        How many publishers would want to develop such a game? If you think it’s risk-based now, imagine the risk involved making such a game.

        $2000 PCs just aren’t necessary anymore anyways.

        The market has pretty firmly decided against ever increasing graphics. The wii killed the other consoles this generation. Minecraft beat most AAA games in sales pretty firmly. COD did better than MOH. Not that many people care about graphics, we’ve reached the point where artstyle is more important.

        Finally, I don’t think streaming implies higher quality at all. Most people prefer to watch netflix on their wii, even when they have other consoles attached. Similarly, most youtube videos are very low quality even if it does offer to stream HD.

        • Brun says:

          The Wii beat the rest of the consoles this generation because its target audience was different from those other consoles – and graphics preference wasn’t the primary differentiator between those audiences. The Wii tapped a new market in which it faced literally no competition for several years, allowing it to suck up almost all of that market.

          There have been plenty of grumblings from the Xbox 360 and PS3 world about how graphics have stagnated and that a hardware refresh is necessary. I agree that the rate at which graphics will improve in the future will be substantially reduced relative to the advances over generations 5-7.

        • DrGonzo says:

          The Wii really didn’t win out this generation. Microsoft really won this generation.

          • Emeraude says:

            Depends on how you look at it. Sony clearly lost. Depending on whether you’re addressing who had the more lasting, profound impact, or who made the more money will totally change the answer to “who won ?” though.

          • Brun says:

            The Wii certainly won the hardware battle. Wii console sales were crushing Xbox 360 and PS3 for at least 4 years. They’ve only been trending down (steeply) now because no one wants to buy a Wii when the Wii U is right around the corner.

            The story you don’t usually hear about the Wii, though, is that some ridiculously high percentage of Wii owners never bought a single software title – they only played the Wii Sports that came in the box. In this regard I think Microsoft clearly won since its platform had more games with huge sales numbers like COD and Halo.

            I agree, though, that the clear loser in this generation was Sony. And I think that the reason for that is that when developers realized that traditional “hardcore” games (like FPS) couldn’t succeed on the Wii (due to the aforementioned low software sales and Nintendo’s screening policies), the hardcore console gaming market quickly became a battle between the PS3 and the Xbox 360. There was little to differentiate the two consoles at a high level other than which games they could play. And I think most would argue that the Xbox 360 had better games, and more of them. There were some PS3 exclusives but the good ones were relatively rare (Uncharted, MGS).

      • DrGonzo says:

        We will have terrabyte games anyway.

        Max Payne 1 was 700 megs if I remember rightly, and it got a similar response to MP3 being 28gigs.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Do you realize you could end up using the same 28GB on streaming? And still have no game to show for it on your HDD. :P

      • Auldreekie says:

        Quite right.
        People who think that streaming on netflix in so called HD is anything comparable to the amount of data required to stream 1080p gaming to your screen (neglecting of course the user input). Most 1080p film encodes are above 30gb WITHOUT ANY SOUND! Those films are of course 90 minutes long, stretch that out over an 8 hour campaign.

  10. Mr. Mister says:

    Touche, we always forget we are just the 10%. Oh well.

  11. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I think he might be on to something about delivering higher quality games to those who are used to consoles, but this stuff about the hypothetical PC gamer getting games on more screens? That’s just silly. It’s already an option locally anyway.

    I don’t really care what this cloud stuff can offer. I want to tinker with hardware and ini files and stuff. It’s more fun than half my games.

  12. diamondmx says:

    Cloud and the modding scene are incompatible.
    I know that I prefer mods more.
    Cloud can sod off.

    Cloud is basically just a console that you access over the internet – no control, no user modification – just a box of content that you consume *Exactly As You Are Told To*

    Side by side, Cloud is good for some people, but it’s concerning just how much Cloud fits with DRM/Console-type business plans.

    • RaveTurned says:

      “Cloud is basically just a console that you access over the internet – no control, no user modification – just a box of content that you consume *Exactly As You Are Told To*”

      This. There’s a good chance that Cloud will eventually replace console gaming. PC gamers play PC games for a handful of reasons – either we enjoy the higher fidelity offered, we enjoy the ability to mod the games, or simply because the games we enjoy aren’t available on other systems. Perhaps Cloud gaming will support a more diverse range of games than the current consoles do, but it won’t beat local gaming in the other two areas.

      But if Cloud services do prosper over consoles, effect does that have on PC gaming? If anything with a screen and an internet connection can access Cloud games, will mainstream publishers see the need to release locally playable versions? Versions that potentially could be pirated? The end result could be a lot of the AAA titles simply won’t reach PC any more, because we’ll be able to play them on our TVs.

      • djbriandamage says:

        I see it as the opposite – if consoles become streaming terminals then we should be able to play both local as well as streamed games on our PCs.

    • Soon says:

      It appeals to me only because it could be the seed that grows into the classic cyberspace as a virtual world concept. Some way off, perhaps.

  13. JerreyRough says:

    Such a horribly inefficient means of playing games, not to mention energy costs. If you like a game, you’ll play it a lot. And it won’t take long before you’ve downloaded more than the size of the game IMO.

    The only way I’d use this service is for game demos. Pay a buck or something for a 15 minute/1 hour demo; or make it free and have ads in the buildings in-game or something. But a full fledged game? Nah.

    • djbriandamage says:

      How is this inefficient from an energy standpoint? Isn’t it exponentially more efficient to have 100 people play off a single powered, cooled server than for each of those people to own their own parts requiring power and cooling? It’s like riding the bus versus gridlock.

  14. HisMastersVoice says:

    Lots of bullshit being peddled, not much real info on the technical aspects. Business as usual.

    • Fearzone says:

      Yeah it is hard to comment without seeing the technology in action. If cloud-based gaming can deliver a fun, playable game then okay. But if always-online DRM stresses a system, then cloud-based gaming would cause a melt-down.

  15. DK says:

    It’s yet another fucking americanocentric company acting as though the world was exactly like the US. Net Infrastructure is completely different all over the world and the fact that they’re using PANDORA as an example of a service that works shows they have absolutely no clue about anything whatsoever. PANDORA can’t even be accessed from outside the US.

    Latency, upload/download differences on a per country basis, bandwidth caps and bandwidth shaping, the fact that people BOUGHT THEIR COMPUTERS AND THEN CANT ACTUALLY USE THEM if Cloud was a thing all say scew you Cloud Gaming.

  16. misterT0AST says:

    Why would they need to fill a corridor with drink fridges with stacks of DVD players in them?

  17. db1331 says:

    I’m going to add a wiki to my blog about this exciting new cloud paradigm. Computers.

  18. djbriandamage says:

    I’m completely torn on this topic.

    I hate it for selfish reasons – streaming media is of lower fidelity than on-premises rendering, network latency causes input lag, and I can’t poke my purchase with my finger.

    I love it for practical reasons – publishers will provide the expensive hardware so all I need is a dumb terminal, centralized computing has enormous ecological benefits, I can play games immediately with no installation, and I can play any game on any platform of any size and resume my PC playthrough on my phone on the bus.

    But it’s laggy, looks blocky, and if the servers go down I can’t use my purchase.

    Still, this is absolutely inevitable. A centrally-hosted game cannot be pirated, and customers are relegated to subscribers. What this would mean for modding, cheating, and hacking, I don’t know. But it’s inevitable. Unnecessarily-always-online games like Diablo 3 and Ubisoft Series J Sequel 14: The Pandering are proof of publishers’ desire to wrest control from customers. Streaming is their golden ticket. All that stands in their way is broadband penetration and the prevalence of restrictive download caps.

  19. motherpuncher says:

    I fear that things like cloud gaming could put a stop to DayZ like experiences. I also don’t like the freedom it takes away from me. I enjoy having control of my files and being able to mess with INI files.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      How exactly would it stop Day-Z? I am confused.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Day Z is a fan made mod of a locaslied ARMA 2 client. If ARMA 2 had been released on the cloud, Day Z would not exist.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          Actually it is a mod made by one of the developers, and would most certainly exist still.

          And epople could still make fan made mods for cloud games anyway. That technology already exists (Civ5 is a poorly implemented, but working example).

          • Aedrill says:

            And the reason that Civ5 is the only game in cloud with mods is…? If it’s not a problem people should be doing it all the time. Modders love challenge, they love novelty, they love to learn new stuff. So how come there’s so few mods in cloud gaming?

            Also, how do the dedicated servers work on the cloud? Because without them DayZ wouldn’t exist for sure. Can you set up and fully configure your own server in the cloud game?

          • Vorphalack says:

            Fact check, they hired Dean Hall after he had been working on Day Z as an independent modder for some time. If ARMA 2 had been a cloud release, you can bet your ass that the Day Z project would never have gotten started.

  20. Vorphalack says:

    ”He’ll give up a bit of resolution and latency, but I think he’ll appreciate that for the convenience of being able to play on multiple devices.”

    No he bloody wont, Nvidia. No he bloody wont.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Of course he will. He always does. Instead of attending concerts he opted to buy albums. Why? It sounds worse and is less personal but it’s more convenient. Ditto for TV versus stage productions, supermarkets versus bow and arrow, McDonalds versus oven, and DVD versus movie theatre.

      “He” isn’t an enthusiast, he’s just an average consumer representative of the greatest profits. The lowest common denominator is always pandered to.

      • Vorphalack says:

        In that case, you might want to consider that ”he” already owns a console.

        This system is aimed at replacing the PC. No sane PC user is going to significantly lower the quality of their own gaming experience for the sole convenience of not moving to another room.

        • djbriandamage says:

          The cloud is designed to replace all local computing, not just the desktop PC platform. It will replace console, smartphone, smartfridge, and every other CPU as well. The intent is to turn consumer devices into dumb receiver terminals. It’s inexpensive but restrictive.

          • Vorphalack says:

            …and it provides a service that PC owners don’t want and console owners don’t need. Evidence, consoles exist and PCs are better suited to gaming. Not only are they going to have to scuttle Microsoft and Sony, they are going to have to do it amidst a popular consumer backlash.

      • Emeraude says:

        My music professor friend tells me music isn’t meant to be played, it’s meant to be read. Concerts just being there for those not invested enough in the art to experience it, but offering a bastardized rendition at best.

        *I* personally argue that recordings are more interesting than either because they deliver a perfectly defined sonic object. As a fan of sampling and sound texturing I have little interest in live shows. I want to hear things, and I don’t want to hear them tainted by musicians and the rest of the audience.

        “Personal” hardly seems like a quality of sound/music in itself, but rather a meta quality from social context.

        All that to say: we all have our preferences. None is more valid than the others. If people *do* invest themselves in cloud gaming, it doesn’t make them or the reasons why they do so inherently stupid and wrong.

        • djbriandamage says:

          I absolutely agree with you. My point was that people will gravitate toward the solution that best meets their needs, and the solution that meets the most people’s needs will be the most profitable, thus the most readily available.

          And I agree with both you (about sound) and your music professor (about composition), but given the choice I’d much rather hear music than read it.

          • Emeraude says:

            My apologies for reading implications that weren’t in your comment.

            Ultimately, the three written, recorded, live music should – and do – all exist alongside to be enjoyed by those who do.

            One can only hope the development of gaming will prove to be in the same way satisfying to all the potential audiences.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Your professor friend sounds like an ivory tower ijit to me. Music has existed for tens of thousands of years longer as a performance art than the few hundreds of years of the written form. It is the native form.

          I can understand the preference for sonic purity that comes with the constrained enviornment of the studio. I tend to like the more ‘emotional’ context of live music, recorded or in person. Each does have its own strengths though. My prererences may lie that way due to almost all of my recording experiance being of live, and improvised, music.

          • Emeraude says:

            To be fair, its being “native”, says nothing about the inherent value of a thing. Many things native can and have been enhanced through experimentation and transformation.

            Also, just picture my friend telling this with the wry smile musicians have when telling one another bassist jokes… should help contextualize the exchange.

          • djbriandamage says:

            Hijacking this already off-topic thread because you mentioned musician jokes.

            What’s the difference between a DJ and a large pizza?
            The pizza can feed a family of four.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Ah! In that context, pretty amusing. Reminds me of the old joke, ‘What’s the definition of an optimist? A trombonist with a pager.’ And yes, it was told to me by a trombone player.

            Everything in its place, but that’d be too cerebral for me, I think. Though it can enhance things: We were analyzing some JSBach in class one day, and there were all these passing tones in the piece, that when mapped out, turned out to be jazz chords. This is Bach, you know he heard them and understood the relationships. There was just no context in the theory of the time for them. It did change how I listened to him.

            Trying to bring this back to cloud gaming, the cloud motif seems to lack headroom. For gaming it adds unneeded (usually) constraints, but if you are just after popcorn, or a light snack, and not a full meal, it will probably suffice for the time. The main advantages seem to accrue to the publishers, and thus it will be pushed.

            Oh, Emeraude got any web audio available to peruse? You too, DJ?

          • djbriandamage says:

            Cloud gaming has big consumer benefits like running sophisticated games on low-powered devices and instant access to vast libraries to name a couple. More benefits will reveal themselves over time, no doubt, thanks to creative developers. I admire those hacked-together choose your own adventure Youtube games made with onscreen annotations, for example.

            As for my music, they’re old and I made some mistakes but here’s a couple of my mixes:
            http://soundcloud.com/djbriandamage

          • Emeraude says:

            @djbriandamage:

            Nice old-school d’n'b vibe to it. Reminds me of Omni Trio in some ways.

            @Arglebargle:

            Not in long while. Still have do some mix-tapes and mash-ups for personal use, but work and life have conspired against me making music.

            I guess they’re not fans of Alva Noto style noise.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Maybe some interesting things can come of Cloud stuff, if it’s not all the big players. Underground Cloud setups could possibly be interesting. I still think the timing is off for decent implementation, presently.

            Audio; electronic punk jazz, beatnik, Afro-reggae jam, and … other compiled stuff…
            http://soundcloud.com/pugilistas

          • djbriandamage says:

            @Emeraude
            Nice one, yo. I believe I did play an Omni Trio track on that jungle mix. I’m big into oldskool English jungle. Good ear.

          • Arglebargle says:

            djbd, enjoyed the techno one best. Though beatwise, my tastes run to afro-latin. Still struggling to get my frankenstein music computer setup to ‘play right’, so not much new from me.

            This makes me want to again check out how ‘cloud computing’ is developing in audio collaboration. Or other fields where ‘Cloud’ may be working well…

  21. Rattlepiece says:

    Lots of PR technobabble, as usual.

    I for one sure as hell will not give up resolution and latency.

  22. Mungrul says:

    They gonna put old games on these cloud services?
    Or are they going to remove titles when they’re considered “Out of date”?

    The great thing about my physical library of games is that they’ll always be there barring real-world catastrophe.

    I can really see these cloud gaming services contributing in a negative way to older games becoming increasingly hard to get a hold of.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Old games will absolutely be deleted to make way for new ones, just as online features are inevitably terminated in current games. Publishers will need to maintain operating costs. This is detrimental to historical preservation.

      • Salix says:

        Definitely one of the biggest problems I have with this sort of technology becoming widespread. I seriously think larger companies need to be kicked into helping with preservation, otherwise we’re going to end up losing far too much gaming history.

  23. Jamesworkshop says:

    Online gaming in this matter is more intensive due to constant user feedback than simply a streaming movie but eventually it will become second nature, faster connections are only going to increase in speed and ubiquity, today I think nothing of watching a streaming 4k youtube video which I would never have dreamt of doing back in 2005 when the xbox 360 was released, now if your video is low quality i’ll consider it a waste of time to even view it.

    240p we meet again.

    2005

    cloud gaming what’s that
    ipad what’s that
    4G network what’s that
    Android smartphone what’s that
    Nvidia 3d-vision-surround what’s that
    Farmville what’s that

    The future is nothing if not surprising

    * One more

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-05-28-satellites-to-use-kinect-in-orbital-docking-system

  24. djbriandamage says:

    By streaming, of course. MP3 is a format designed to sacrifice quality for size so that it can be transmitted easily over the internet. Services like OnLife and Gaikai stream audio, video, and input in real time at about 1MB\s or less (1-2GB\hour).

    The whole benefit is that you don’t need to install anything – just click and play, regardless of whether you’re on a PC or Xbox or iPad or phone. The size of the game is absolutely irrelevant. The stream would be 1MB\s regardless of whether you’re playing Crysis or Pacman.

    • Shooop says:

      Did the point mess up your hair when it flew over your head at mach 2?

      Streaming doesn’t work for extremely large files. That’s why Pandora only streams 128kb encodes, because they’re small enough to send pieces of and still be reassembled for the end users fast enough that the process appears seamless. How do you plan on streaming a game which uses much, much, MUCH more data just for pieces of it like the voices, the static backgrounds, the physics, etc?

      You’ll spend more time waiting for the data to render your next frame to be streamed than actually playing the game.

      • djbriandamage says:

        Please at least get your facts straight before flinging insults. Or better yet, learn to converse without being a jerk.

        Are you under the impression that if you play the whole game, all the game files will have been streamed to your PC? That’s not how it works at all. They stream a live video and audio feed to you, and you stream your input to them. Whether you’re playing Crysis or Dragon’s Lair or Pong or Minesweeper the stream bandwidth will pretty much be identical. You can play a game that takes up 64KB of diskspace but it will still consume 2GB\hour of bandwidth to play it streaming off servers like those described in the article.

        You did read the article, of course?

        Now I’m off to sharpen my point.

  25. MythArcana says:

    It’s just yet another lame and tired excuse to keep your computer anchored to the Internet so that Big Brother can control your ass. Give me portable, local, low resource gaming any day before I buy into this crap.

    You can assemble a fast quad core computer for $700 or less (cheaper than your iPhones) and play just about anything you like with no problems…so why do we need “them”? The answer is…you don’t.

    • djbriandamage says:

      The One Laptop Per Child project is aiming to make a $50 tablet. With streaming games you could play Crysis, GTA4, run Maya and Pro Tools, run Windows and OSX and Linux, all loading instantly with a single click, all with a bargain basement CPU and no onboard storage whatsoever. Streaming could be a huge boon to the poor who would only have to make a minimum capital investment.

      • bear912 says:

        Not without a damn good internet connection, they’re not.

      • MythArcana says:

        And what is the price of freedom worth then?

        ‘Cause you won’t be free with this system, I can assure you of that. Once this solidifies, like the bevy of other bad marketing trends we’ve been seeing, there will be no going back.

        I am NOT an IP NUMBER, I am a FREE MAN!

      • InternetBatman says:

        Would it really? How are the one laptop per child people supposed to pay for the streaming service? With their credit cards?

      • djbriandamage says:

        I didn’t mean to say that starving kids in Crappsylvania will suddenly be able to start making the next Jurassic Park on a wristwatch. The point I didn’t sufficiently articulate was that $700 is a lot of money for some people, and cloud computing allows us to participate with only a minimal capital investment. The rest would be operating expenses like monthly subscriptions. It just lowers the barrier for entry – it doesn’t necessarily make the services equally accessible to people in every circumstance.

  26. MistyMike says:

    The worst thing about this cloud gaming is that their employees tune in to you playing and they laugh at your inept flailing! They mock! They call their buddies ‘hey come have a look at this looser’. They give users mocking nicknames based on their disadvantages! I CAN’T STAND THIS!

  27. alundra says:

    You guys are overestimating this PR statement coming from a company with a very limited future. Right now Nvidia is looking to diversify, they aren’t making processors, they aren’t making motherboards anymore and GPU’s are becoming a tool on other areas of computing other than gaming.

    Obviously industry shills are going to say that only 10% of the gamer base is serious about it and that the casual other 90% is happily accept anything they throw at them, and of course, “it’s moving faster than you can imagine”.

    It’s the same bullshit pulled by blizvis before, “nobody has crappy internet connections anymore” “everyone is connected to the internet 100% of the time”

    And by now we all know what the end result was.

    Maybe in 10 years this will take off, for casual gamers, that’s all nothing more will happen. And if it does, well, there’s a world out there worth living on.

  28. drewski says:

    I’d agree it’s inevitable, but the technology has a long way to go. Eventually I suspect all models of content delivery will be online only, subscription based. Just too advantageous for content owners to have it any other way. When the technology is there to turn on your terminal and access any written, audio, visual or interactive content streaming in HD in real time, people will be baffled that they ever put up with physical media, or even local storage of digital media.

    But that level of service and redundancy is decades away, not years. I think nVidia are possibly getting ahead of themselves here, just like OnLive did.

    • djbriandamage says:

      I agree that this is inevitable and will be gloriously convenient with high fidelity in the not-too-distant future. It’s sure gonna be a tough sell until then.

      I think OnLive is amazing, though, and I have huge respect for its founder Steve Perlman. His goal was to solve the hardest technological problem first, which was to make games work with this technology. He achieved that goal very very well, and now his other ambitions (like streaming Windows desktops to iPad) can easily fall into place. The real challenge now is sales and partnerships.

      • DK says:

        I’m played FTL on OnLive, and even that, a freely pausable pseudo-turnbased game is a pure chore to play on it. It simply isn’t responsive, doesn’t look consistently good (every little connection hickup makes it look like a Youtube video from years ago) and feels horrible to play.

        Something that requires responsiveness to actually perform well like an FPS, Racing Game, RTS, etc. is impossible instead of simply frustrating to the point of don’t-bother.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Yep. I did not try it myself, but I saw the dev say they got lots of “bug reports” on unresponsiveness. :(

          PS, so instead I opted for the “local” copy when it’s released. :)

        • djbriandamage says:

          I tried World of Goo on OnLive and the mouse control was laggy and floaty. It was so annoying it made me angry, to be honest. This is just a technological hurdle, though. Bandwidth gets exponentially faster every few years. Residents of South Korea have faster bandwidth than entry level routers can even handle.

          The highest hurdle was getting this technology working at all. As soon as bandwidth catches up it will be much better.

          • alseT says:

            Bigger bandwidth won’t help input lag!!! There is a minimum of lag due to distance(unacceptable to me). So it will never be instant or even tolerable for me.

          • drewski says:

            You get input lag on all devices already, it’s just more with on demand services.

            In two decades, you’ll have adjusted and forgotten it was ever a problem.

  29. Ateius says:

    As someone living in a country where all the major ISPs enforce highly limiting monthly bandwidth caps, I can say that cloud gaming holds no appeal for me.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Well said. This type of comment makes so much more sense then “this will never work because people don’t have good enough connections”, which is wishful thinking at best and just completely misunderstanding how these decisions are made at worst.

  30. Morlock says:

    This is *not* like Spotify because I can listen to music outside the Spotify system, since I have the hardware that plays it. Onlive is more like an old radio – I can only listen to what is offered.

    • Shooop says:

      But if Spotify doesn’t offer it anywhere on their database you couldn’t listen to it from them. You’d need either a different service that does or the music itself on disc or file. So it does work as a comparison.

  31. Beef says:

    Peeling away all the buzzwords, technical hurdles and market arguments, I’m still left with a mixed feeling.

    +) Gives developers a rather specific platform to work with, similar to how console devs can tune the shit out of a game. Additionally, there are a metric fuckton more of computing resources available; one can only dream of decent AI, if not graphics.

    -) Computer games excel at ‘spacial interaction’ games, which are the kind of games that the suffer most from any kind of delay between “push butan” and “move mans on screen”. A lot of games probably already have to design around this because of the gigantic delay caused by current TV screens. Maybe adding the network delay to that can be designed around, maybe not. Network delay is currently mitigated by running the ‘simulation’ on both client and server side, hiding much of the lag artificially. I for one do not look forward to gaming with what amounts to quake-world-like lag again. (who remembers sniping in TFC pre- vs post- 1.5 patch?)

    • Cognitect says:

      Network delay is going to become an even bigger problem once HMDs (head mounted displays) with head tracking start becoming common. Some latency can be compensated for using predictive algorithms, but humans are very sensitive to lag and get motion sick if there’s a delay between head motions and resulting image updates.

  32. Emeraude says:

    The way I see it, this is the next logical step from Steam: people wanted to turn PC gaming into console gaming; they finally found the way.

    Not a big fan of it myself. But as always: as long as it only remains an alternative in the ecosystem, and in no way mandatory, then I have no problem with it.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Steam is already a console. You can’t play Steam games without the launcher (with rare exceptions).

      • Emeraude says:

        Steam still bears some attributes of PC gaming – modding, if anything. Cloud gaming seems to me like it’s going further down the rabbit hole.

        • djbriandamage says:

          You’re absolutely right. I hope both Steam and cloud streaming will be available to us when the time comes so that we can make the choice that best appeals to us.

  33. freduardo says:

    Bowdlerized content, reality tv show level writing, older games being destroyed with no chance of recovery because you never owned the original game data in the first place, stagnation of gameplay creativity because of the massive market for ‘I want to be able to press a button and make some huge dude shoot somebody in the balls RIGHT NOW’ above a desire for anything else. This is the future of the cloud as far as we are concerned.

    Nothing about cloud gaming is good for a consumer who cares a lick about video games themselves. That being said, the industry is worth enough money that the big boys have pushed out almost everybody who had any interests aside from taking the most money out of everybody’s wallet possible.

    So…bleak future is basically what I’m saying. But what else is new? Since when has the future looked to be anything like a place with more artistic freedom, more meaningful social contact and a greater respect for consumers than the past?

  34. Inzimus says:

    not being completely educated on the subject, but I dare say that this is quite the opposite future as to what has been foreseen by others:

    http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/spectrum-crunch

  35. Emeraude says:

    Nothing about cloud gaming is good for a consumer who cares a lick about video games themselves.

    You just hit the problem on the head: we, the people who *care* about gaming, in majority won’t benefit from this. The ones who don’t ? Who see gaming the way they see music or cinema – just another entertainment commodity to be consumed and discarded ? They will have no problem with it.

    They are the target audience here. Video game is finally really getting mainstream. Or trying so at least.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Because the people making and selling the games don’t care about gaming? Do you realize how silly you sound?

      And yes gaming is just another form of entertainment media. That is the truth. Even the DRM free indie gaming world will be larger in 10 years than the whole PC gaming world was 10 years ago, so it is not as though you will have to live through some insufferable dessert of no games. You can either play the big budget games on the terms they are available or not and play indies.

      • Emeraude says:

        I was talking of the audience only here.

        Some of the people working in the industry do care about gaming an some won’t. This seems obvious, and I shouldn’t have to address that debate going on in your own head – probably born from reading other comments around here, to be fair.

        Re-read my posts on this thread.

        I personally have been advocating for the going mainstream of games for more than ten years. AS I’ve kept telling: I’m going to hate every minute of it, but we need it – gaming needs it.

      • alundra says:

        Because the people making and selling the games don’t care about gaming? Do you realize how silly you sound?

        Do you realize how silly you sound?? You are trying to paint a gaming enterprise as if it was a Santa’s workshop in the North pole. The people making them, most of the time, care about their product, the people selling them, don’t, they give a flying fuck about it, all they care about is millions of units sold.

        And yes gaming is just another form of entertainment media. That is the truth.

        Totally defeats the argument that games are a form of art and therefore should be exempt from every other cultural paradigm, including consumer rights.

        Games as (mass) entertainment media is your truth Joshua, Kotick’s truth, not ours.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          I am confused as to why you then want to engage with and change the “mass entertainment” part of the gaming industry.

          A) You won’t be able to.
          B) If you are interested in games as fine art there is still plenty of that going on.

          So why piss into the wind about the decisions Blizzard/Valve/EA is making if you are only interested in games as fine art. If that is all you are interested in Blizzard/Valve/EA doesn’t have a whole lot to do with you.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          I am certainly not trying to paint it as Santa’s workshop on the North pole. Have you read anything I have been posting? But gamers themselves are hardly virtuous little elves either.

    • djbriandamage says:

      I disagree with this. Caring about gaming is different from caring about fidelity. Grannies who play Farmville and Bejeweled may care about gaming but are content to play them on a 12 year old PC with a 14″ monitor. This granny won’t care whether the game is being rendered locally or remotely because all she cares about is playing the game.

      • Emeraude says:

        I’m not too keen on technical – graphical or otherwise – prowess myself. What I mostly had in mind is freedom of access. Long term survival of games/infrastructures. Modding*. Efficiency of control if anything technical has to be invoked.

        I get that there could still be ways to mod games with Cloud computing… I think the modders needing to give the product of their work to the publishers rather than the community will prove a huge hindrance at best though.

  36. Loz says:

    The biggest problem with the PC industry right now is that fact that most publishers are behaving like dicks towards gamers. DRM, permanent connection required, no rights to sell your own games, EA and Valve banning users from ALL their games for spurious reasons, Max Payne 3 being 28GB yet no sign of a preload yet (ok so that one is an argument in favour of cloud-gaming, d’oh!) and dire DLC that is far worse than the modding community produce.

    So personally I’d say anything that centralises gaming and gives more control to publishers is a bad thing. And sure, there’s nothing about cloud gaming that TECHNICALLY stops modding, but you can damn-well guarantee that it will. Can you honestly imagine any company anywhere offering you an Arma2 cloud game with the mods of your choice? DayZ alpha? Any alpha or beta for that matter? It’d be a support nightmare for them and they just wouldn’t do it.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      See you listed the biggest problems for the CONSUMERS in the “PC Industry”. Almost none of those things you listed are problems for the producers, they are things which are actively good for the producers. The industry consists of two parts, not just one. It is not there solely for your personal enjoyment.

      Companies sell entertainment and people buy it. If they change those terms due to changing technologies to ones more favorable to them that is their prerogative. And it is your prerogative to longer buy those games if you don’t like the new terms. And if enough people do that maybe they will change their practices.

      But almost certainly you are fighting a losing battle, because honestly the changes are not that big a deal for most users.

      • Emeraude says:

        Not buying is one possibility. Another would be lobbying and legislating. I don’t see why only the industry would have access to that one.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          Because consumers are frankly horrible at it, and young consumers moreso. If lots of senior citizens played games and were passionate about them you might see action, but I think we need to wait another 20 years for that.

          Young people either cannot vote, or don’t vote, and they certainly don’t talk to their representatives or make campaign donations.

          • Emeraude says:

            Young people learn too, that one of the things they’re supposedly good at.

            More importantly, I do believe the majority of people invested in games (not to be mistaken with those games are being marketed to) happens to not be so young anymore.

            I mean if we can manage to get Consumer organization doing something about games around my parts, I don’t see why it cannot be done elsewhere.

          • alundra says:

            Young people are terrible at legislating?? Only senior citizens and private interests are fit to do so?? Oh man, I want a job like yours, how much is your hourly income?? Spewing crap in the name of the industry of software and greed, and getting paid for it, must be a dream job.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Alundra you need to get acquainted with the way the world works. You age is showing. Young people don’t vote in large numbers. It is a simple matter of fact. And what few of them who do vote vote pretty reliably for one party, so there isn’t much incentive to court them.

            This is the disconnect I am talking about. So many of you are talking about rainbows and ponies and unicorns. You need to have more purchase in the real world if you actually want to change anything. You need to understand the people you disagree with. You need to understand that gaming companies are not “evil” and that they are made up with people who have motivations, just like you.

            This site can be such a wall of negativity and rage towards the industry at times. The very industry that is clearly providing you with consumer products you highly value (otherwise you wouldn’t be so worked up about it).

            All of this would be a lot more compelling if people hadn’t been saying all the same things 10 years ago. Yet here we are with the industry stronger than ever, with better games than ever, and more people playing than ever. Obviously it is not perfect and there are some negative trends. But there are also a lot of positive ones.

          • Emeraude says:

            The industry has done some good things, but also, from what I can see, happens to be at an all time low in trust from consumers (I may be wrong on that one, given my sampling base may be distorting the results a bit – but it *is* the only conclusion I can come to).

            I do think it needs to reassess its situation – cause it’s driving consumers aways – not as much as it’s been gaining them for now – but all are going to be needed in the end.

      • Loz says:

        Thanks for stating the obvious Joshua. I didn’t opine that cloud gaming wouldn’t succeed. I just said it was a bad thing.

      • kud13 says:

        quite naturally, consumers are gonna care about what’s a problem to them.

        Gaming industry appears to be the only form of entertainment where publishers have achieved a position whereas consumer’s interests are automatically viewed with disdain and branded “entitlement”. I don’t get this.

        As consumers, we are essential for the success of the industry. If we don’t buy the publisher’s product, the publishers go bankrupt.

        so how is it that voicing our preferences is a bad thing, and we should shut up and be happy that the publishers exist to make games we don’t want for us,and we should give them the money they want and not ask any questions?

        All other forms of entertainment realize the distinction, and the two sides are generally respectful of each other.

        Yet in the gaming industry, consumers are seen as enemies, and that’s considered the status quo that we can’t even speak up against.

    • Emeraude says:

      Max Payne 3 being 28GB yet no sign of a preload yet (ok so that one is an argument in favour of cloud-gaming, d’oh!)

      Or an argument in favor of good old retail maybe ?

      • djbriandamage says:

        Good riddance to retail – plastic discs sold in plastic cases packed in plastic wrap placed on plastic shelves. The internet is the present and streaming is the future.

        • Emeraude says:

          You remind me of that American friend who mocked us for being backwards because we are still using checks (as if the US didn’t too)… To which I could only reply: they offer some comforts and advantages the newer payment methods don’t… why should we deprive of them in the name of modernity ?

          • djbriandamage says:

            Newer isn’t always better but I’ll often opt for the more ecological solution. In addition to all that plastic I mention think of the paper, ink, trucks, fuel, shipping containers, and waste that are all negated (or minimized) by downloading instead of owning plastic with those very same bits (in the case of Steam, anyway; not streaming).

        • Shooop says:

          And that future will never take off unless we have the internet architecture which can actually support it.

          And oh yes, say goodbye to actually owning your games, movies, and music if streaming is the only future. I’ll live in the past happily then while you can get the hell out of here and take your smug superiority complex with you.

          Don’t wait up for us.

          • djbriandamage says:

            You really think you own those things now? Ever watch those warnings on your DVDs or read those end user license agreements you click through? Try it and reassess your assumptions.

          • Shooop says:

            Actually many of them I do. I have physical disks of many the movies I own, and it’s perfectly within my rights to use software to break their copy protection and make physical and data backups for myself.

            Same with my music.

            So why should my games be any different?

  37. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Cloud gaming needs to be sent back to the seventh circle of Hell.

  38. InternetBatman says:

    I think there are a few reasons streaming services will have a harder time achieving large scale success than people realize.

    The big one is price. This service will not be successful on PCs unless it can compete in price drops. Most companies just aren’t prepared to drop prices. Look at games on Origin or battlenet. They keep their prices for absurdly long periods of time.

    ISP bandwidth limits and extra charges will feed into the price. In areas where there is high speed competition, you can normally get a good deal. In areas with a local monopoly, internet contracts can be nearly punitive. So either the services will work out a deal with the ISP prices and pass it on to customers, or customers will have to pay higher internet bills.

    Also, perhaps just as importantly, getting customers off Steam will be hard, and Valve hasn’t been working on its own cloud stuff.

    It’s a technology, but it’s neither new (it seems like telnetting with limited access) nor the future. It has specific implementations which it will be better at, and many they will be worse at. It sounds pretty crap for indies and smaller projects. Considering the explosive growth of indies I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a compartmentalized market with most indies, especially single-player ones, still using local installs while AAA games became big expensive subscriptions.

    • nyarlathotep-88 says:

      If I could get all my games off of steam, I would do it in a heartbeat :)

    • Archonsod says:

      The price is the problem.

      I can already run games off my desktop. I can already stream that to any display in my house if I so choose. So precisely why am I going to be forking out money to some company to do it instead?

      About the only benefit is the potential ability to make use of far greater computational power than is available on my desktop, which in a world where development costs and time were non-existent would be great. However, given publishers are already pretty much hitting the limit of how much they’re willing to spend on things like art assets, who precisely is going to be developing games to take full advantage of the cloud? And how much will they need to charge to break even?

  39. nyarlathotep-88 says:

    This doesn’t seem like a bad idea for the simple user, but I still prefer to install my games to give me the ability to modify files and install mods to enhance the game play. Also I would rather have full control over the game instead of depending on 3rd party supplier streaming me the game since I am appalled by games that require me to have online connections to play single player games.

  40. DrGonzo says:

    Because Jim, it was a good game. Have some balls and don’t be embarrassed about liking a game that became cool to hate.

    Ok, that was meant to be in the Doom 3 comments. Damn scrolly auto next page thing-me-bob!

  41. Rhin says:

    Cloud gaming is a good thing for me. Well, not for me in particular, but for all of my friends but can’t be bothered to keep up with PC upgrades to play PC games with me. Like it or not, cloud services like Netflix or Pandora are really useful. It’s not morally wrong any more than renting an apartment instead of buying a house is morally wrong.

    Oh wait, this is the RPS comment section. DRM IS HITLER. THE BIBLE FORBIDS GAY DRM.

  42. Figday says:

    Wait what? Ten percent?
    Really?

  43. D3xter says:

    Well NVIDIA can go fuck itself right off. (and no, I have no kinder words for this)
    I might even have to consider my graphics cards buying habits if this is how it’s going to be…

    Only thing I can say is “over my dead body”, I will not give up all my rights as a consumer and will fight this as long as I can for as long as there is an audience standing against it, be it through funding of KickStarter projects, Indie Games, simply games by independent larger companies, supporting No-DRM platforms like GoG or whatever other way there is out there. Even starting to make games myself if necessary. There is absolutely NO way I will accept this, and I’d rather stop gaming altogether before I do.

    • Shooop says:

      Funny enough, continuing to buy their video cards would be thumbing your nose at their project here. The entire purpose of this cloud setup is to eliminate the need for some of their own products. So it’d be telling them, “The hell with your newfangled idea, I like your older one better!”

  44. Shortwave says:

    I have a high end gaming computer.
    And a connection that cannot even stream 720p video 90% of the time without having to pause it to buffer for ten minutes.

    My ISP will not be able to improve my speeds for years to come.
    And even when that happens I don’t expect better speeds.
    Just better stability.

    So yea, I can’t even do cloud if I wanted to. Which I do not.
    I do cloud gaming in my house. From my PC to other devices though.
    Such as my PSP, or perhaps a laptop. Ha.
    AND EVEN THEN, over high speed flawless wifi from meer feet away.
    Theres still noticeable lag in the control inputs. Lol.
    Be it slight, it’s there. Ha. Always.

  45. Moonracer says:

    There are very few PC games that I don’t mod or tweak in some way. That ability is a strong factor in any purchase decision. Therefore cloud gaming is probably not for me. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

  46. runbmp says:

    I first heard of this direction from Nvidia when they announced the 690 at a LAN event. I was on the fence at the time if I would return to Nvidia hardware and soon upgrade from my 5870 crossfire setup ( which I absolutely loved btw)

    After that conference, I realized that Nvidia wasn’t my choice, Cloud is a cool thing but there are many hurdles to overcome. Especially the cost of bandwidth in come countries is very expensive (it shouldn’t be but it is)

    I’ve since bought two 7970′s each for 430$ ( Canadian NCIX )

    The cloud novelty is being sold as an idea far too much in tech blogs, often overlooking the cost associated and technical limitations.

    Personally I’d much rather pay for my hardware and know its in my system rather then to pay a service fee to access it.

  47. wodin says:

    Eventually for the big mainstream games I think you’d best end up having a console. Very sad.

    First off I’m not fully clued up on the tech etc but below are snippets I’ve read recently, I’m hoping I’m wrong.

    When the new consoles come out (the XBox is rumored to have a 16xCore cpu!) the 2PC is dead will start all over again, however this time we have a two pronged attack from tablets and phone. If cloud gaming comes into play (I hear it doesn’t matter what hardware you own,if so I’m surprised Nvidia would be doing it as no one will be buying upgrades) then what would be the point of playing games on a PC??

    Thankfully a few genres I like will probably still being made on the PC, however those may end up on a tablet anyway.

    I’ve owned a computer or there was one in the house from ’83. I have a rather worrying feeling that in ten years time I will have a tablet and a console..I feel ill.

    I know feel very pleased I decided to get a 6850 as I was looking at Nivdia card (haven’t owned an Nvidia card for a good 8 or more years).

    • newprince says:

      Eventually for the big mainstream games I think you’d best end up having a console. Very sad.

      Wait, what? Even if NVidia is 100% correct about this future, you still wouldn’t be playing a console.

      When the new consoles come out (the XBox is rumored to have a 16xCore cpu!) the 2PC is dead will start all over again, however this time we have a two pronged attack from tablets and phone.

      No one seriously will think that. The next Xbox specs look pretty weak, as most MS consoles do because they are very comparable to PC specs. They don’t have the luxury of Sony and Nintendo to completely BS their specs to the average person. As for mobile gaming, those games appeal to either people who weren’t playing PC games in the first place, or PC/console gamers that want a quick, mobile game.

      If cloud gaming comes into play (I hear it doesn’t matter what hardware you own,if so I’m surprised Nvidia would be doing it as no one will be buying upgrades) then what would be the point of playing games on a PC??

      Of course it’s not dependent on hardware; that’s the whole point! Theoretically if your connection were good enough, you could use a laptop, netbook, tablet, phone… You would still want a PC, because with these services, you are limited to whatever hardware the server is running, which comes down to business decisions on behalf of the service’s company. Everyone believes these companies will use bleeding edge machines and update them all every year. I am skeptical on that point, but even then… using a ‘local’ PC will still give you all the control you want. Going offline to game/do stuff is still a good thing.

      Thankfully a few genres I like will probably still being made on the PC, however those may end up on a tablet anyway.

      How so? Tablets are essentially touch-centric. If they are not, that means you need a keyboard attachment of some sort. This makes FPS, sports, and lots of other games pretty awkward to re-create on a tablet. Not to mention tablet GPUs trail pretty far behind the latest PC GPUs.

  48. Khory says:

    So if Nvidia is providing graphics from the cloud and that becomes the industry standard, where does that leave AMD? What room will there be for competition? What would push Nvidia to continue developing better graphics? Is anyone else concerned that GPU development will slow down to a snails pace once av single company gets that much control?

    • newprince says:

      Who’s to say another nascent graphics company won’t enter the market? Or that AMD won’t be strategically better situated to rapidly advance into this new market? I worry about this issue, too, but I don’t believe NVidia has it wrapped it up already. Not by a long shot.

    • Shooop says:

      The internet infrastructure in the U.S. lags far behind most other 1st world countries. That right there is a major problem that may very well doom this project right out of the gate.

      Having higher resolution streamed games than OnLive is not going to attract many new customers because that’s not what people are demanding of cloud gaming.

  49. LionsPhil says:

    But “core” game communities happily ignore all of that until someone whips out their “The End Is Nigh” sign and starts waxing incoherently about how it’ll kill hardware-based gaming forever.

    Don’t hold back on reducing any opposing argument to a straw man, will you.

    Not up to RPS’ standards.

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