Head In The Cloud: Dave Perry Disrupts

Dave Perry is the sometime creator of MDK and now CEO of Gaikai, the streaming game provider. He thinks his tech is going to take over PC Gaming; because he’s got his hands on one of those Molyneux Inc. Reality Distortion Fields, he’s VERY persuasive. We caught up with him at the superbly-stimulating Cloud Gaming Summit in London to talk about Gaikai, inspiration in game design, why Battlefield games are awesome, and a few other topics that might interest you.

RPS: (Talking about an argument).

Perry: …I love it when you get someone who rubs everyone the wrong way. So much fun.

RPS: Being challenged about your ideas is of tremendous import to your business, of course.

Perry: We’re people who care passionately about the things we get involved in. That’s why I enjoy getting into a really good debate on it, because we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this stuff.

RPS: You would hope you had, yes! You’ve ended up with a technology that’s applicable in so many different ways, it’s a matter of how you’re shaping it to the current market needs.

Perry: That’s what we ended up realising, was that Gaikai was going to become more of a cloud platform, and we’d build one vertical, which would be advertising, to let gamers play F2P everything. If a publisher wants their own cloud, they build it on there; if TV wants theirs, they build it on there; military; casinos. Anyone that wants to have..?

RPS: (interrupting) Casinos? The MILITARY?

Perry: The military have a big problem since Wikileaks; they’re not allowed to install anything and yet they’ve spent millions making simulation software, training software, which they can’t install on their computers now.

RPS: So you actually have military people involved…

Perry: We have military people in our office now, walking around in full fatigues.

RPS: Are you allowed to talk about this?

Perry: I’m not revealing any secrets. The fact is, this is very interesting to the military, the ability to stream without installing software so you can have any content anywhere in the field. They also have a lot of very old equipment, old laptops and that, and they don’t have the power to run simulations. This is like the Holy Grail. It solves multiple problems at the same time.

RPS: It goes back to when you used to have huge mainframes and you used to have terminals attached to those mainframes.

Perry: Also a bit like the arcades. The servers we put in are too high-spec for anyone to want to buy for their home, as a mass-market person, but that’s what arcades were. An arcade machine was $10,000 and you’d go in and put your money in and play, so I could experience that very expensive hardware and have the most amazing game experience which I couldn’t get at home and it only changed when they didn’t keep up with what was happening at home. If they’d kept the edge, that would have been awesome. That analogy, where you’re sharing the hardware, that’s very similar.

RPS: Also, it’s a way of locking down data and turning it into a service rather than a product. An arcade was a definite product.

Perry: One of the analogies I was thinking of when I started the company was “what would have happened had arcades continued on their path?” If you wanted to fly a flight simulator, which costs millions of dollars to make… software costs so much to make, but if you could have it streamed to your house to experience it… some incredible rich experiences are now available at home. This is the stuff that was catching my imagination at the time and the only way to do was the cloud. I was also dealing a lot with Free2Play, which is all about how many people you can get to try your product. The last F2P game I launched was Spellborn, which was three and a half GB, and the loss is just enormous. Because most of us these days are so impatient that if you say, here’s 3.5GB come back in 2 hours, they’re already busy doing something else. Their life moved on, probably about 2 minutes after, and when it finally arrives, they’re probably not in their house any more.

RPS: Having seen some metrics for people finishing MMO downloads (link to Heatwave Day in the Life of an MMO feature), I can see even committed MMO gamers don’t always finish downloads.

Perry: Horrific. So that’s what we get focused on. The power of convenience. For me, anything where you’re putting the consumer first and treat their time with great respect, is usually the thing that succeeds. In society, given two choices, the convenient choice always succeeds. Digital vs analogue photograhpy, MP3s vs CDs. What’s funny is that MP3s aren’t as high quality as CDs but they’re way more convenient. Convenience always wins, but lower prices on convenience is like nitrous to it. That combo is a nightmare to compete against. Anyone who comes along and simplifies or makes convenient something you were doing… you look at things like Twitter, you can invent whole companies by making something more convenient. Communicating with your friends, keeping track of your friends, I can make that incredibly easy – Twitter. The inspiration for this kind of thinking is “what will make gaming more convenient.” In my talk, I said “gaming will never be as big as movies or music” because it’s impossible to catch up unless we become as convenient. Everywhere I go I can watch a movie with my various devices.

RPS: But it’s probably getting there quicker in some degrees than music and movies are…

Perry: I think this is the point. If we were to combine cloud gaming ubiquity with all the mobile devices and mobile processes, I do believe at some point we will be there. Secondly, people will expect to spend more, I mean people will pay subscriptions for a single game, that’s crazy. Imagine you’re subscribing to Avatar; it’s the best movie ever made, you pay $15 a month, would you pay for access to it?

RPS: Assuming it’s the best movie ever… no.

Perry: So the games industry has an edge! If we could become as convenient and monetise well, we could become the number one form of entertainment. That’s a big focus for our company.

RPS: Obviously, you’re not just doing games though; schools, military, casinos…

Perry: Education’s the same problem; they have really old computers and they’d love to have new experiences. Someone sent me Virtual Field Trips recently and asked if we could stream that. Usin the Epic engine and they’re done – it looks great but without cloud streaming it’s not going to work.

RPS: You’ve produced a technology that’s answering lots of questions people weren’t asking.

Perry: People were asking why this company’s called ‘Gaikai’ and it’s a weird word, Japanese, meaning ‘an open ocean’. Imagine you were out in the middle of the ocean, there’s an infinite amount of direction to go in. That’s what we think cloud gaming is. It’s a window on another world. This device is looking out on what’s going on elsewhere. But that elsewhere is an unlimited amount of computing and storage. We used to show demos of Split/Second running on an iPod. You know it’s not running on the iPod, so it’s a window on somewhere else. When you start thinking of all kinds of businesses, it would fundamentally change all of them.

RPS: What current barriers are still in place that are stopping you being immediate? Bandwidth?

Perry: Latency. Gaikai has spent a lot of time trying to be the fastest network. OnLive launched with 3 datacentres – we launched with 24. A very aggressive strategy, very, very expensive and difficult to do. We built it for speed and I tried from my hotel yesterday. 5ms. I did a demo in LA, 2.5ms. My house is 8ms. So we really have the fastest network, period. Our strategy is to go viral across the datacentres. So latency is solved; it’s either fast or we’re getting a server in your area.

Bandwidth; you’re generally not doing two things at once. You’re either on Netflix or Gaikai. That’s help. If you have one megabit, it works but we cap you at two. At one, it’s gonna look mushy.

RPS: My OnLive account always looks muddy, because the network in my area is so busy. 4 a.m. is fine.

So bandwidth is an issue. Bandwidth caps are another question. You know that saying “a rising tide raises all boats”? As more people want to stream content, then the infrastructure will be built to handle it. And bandwidth caps, they’re not going to chop you off. “We’d love you to upgrade your package.” Or if you really are abusing it, in the top few percent, downloading BluRays all day long; they get a letter saying please stop that. The point is, the average amount of usage will continue rising. Because their money is in keeping you as a customer.

RPS: That’s assuming there’s room for broadband market entrants to drive down prices and drive up service quality.

Perry: I’ve tried to keep it real. Not everyone can stream through the cloud. A lot of people can, with variable compression. On the other hand, our download technology can help those people who can’t. It’s a non-linear crowdsourced progressive download. It’s the fastest in existence. It’s using the knowledge of what files it takes to get the game going and it’s downloading those to you without installing a downloader.

RPS: Similar to AWOMO’s tech?

Perry: Similar, but fresh and new. Games are non-linear now, they used to be linear. You used to be able to do predictive downloading, which we can’t do. This tech covers the people who are not quite there, bandwidth-wise. They’re not in the game in 60 seconds like normal, they’re there in 3 minutes. Which is still pretty good.

RPS: Here you’ve argued that the future for games is games-in-TVs.

Perry: The basic thing is that the TVs don’t have the processing power to run these games. They only have games like “throw the frisbee” in there, because they’re not going to start sticking a $3-400 dollar video card plus CPU plus storage in there. This isn’t going to happen any other way. If I’m on TV, I don’t want to click and wait for an hour for it download and get ready to run, like you see with the Playstation currently. The only way to get around the data push and local capability of running stuff It has to be cloud gaming. All modern TVs have hardware decompress, so if we take the time to write clients to use their hardware decompress, then they can run the games locally. So the only Achilles heel to all this is bandwidth.

RPS: And not the interface?

Perry: The idea would be that if the TV company cared, they would include a white-labelled controller in the box. We don’t even need to invent anything, they all exist. Just call the OEM, ask for this logo.

RPS: So, if that’s true, what’s the future for all these huge PC rigs that we have sitting around?

Perry: If you’ve got a really big gaming rig and you’re happy for the games to download, that’s a certain kind of gamer. I think they’re going to be happy to keep playing their games. What I do think, is that they’ll also have these other games that they’re not sure they want to buy but they want to check out. By definition, a hardcore gamer wants to have at least a basic knowledge of everything that’s out there, right? It’s shocking how many times I talk to them and they’re like “I got an invite to the beta for Starcraft II, but I know that when I do it it’ll take time and I haven’t had the chance.” Really? I mean, imagine if the email had a button instead of the code and you clicked on it and just started playing right away. So, that idea of making games much more accessible is pretty compatible with them. If they want to go through and download and install, that’s fine, we support that too.

RPS: Are we going to see an alteration in ad-banners then?

Perry: Yes. I don’t want us to be known as a banner company, but that’s actually very relevant. Instead of clicking it and going in, looking at a bunch of text and screenshots, the game will start playing then and there in a shadowbox, right on the page. When you’re done, you’re done. There’s no uninstalling, it’s gone. I want to be clear that we’re not doing this just as Gaikai, any publisher can do this on their website. It’s not our customer, it’s their customer. The surprise is that, what we’ve done, is make all games free to play. Check it out. If you like it, share it with your friends. If you love it, buy it. There’s none of this, you have to buy it to find out if you like it. Every game is free to try.

RPS: Is there any conflict of interest, between you as a developer and you as the provider of this service? Is MDK going to be at the front of every grey-labelled store?

Perry: No, as the only games that are appearing are the ones someone’s paying for. I’m not going to be paying to run demos of my old stuff. And if I did, it would stand alongside the rest. That’s been the hardest thing, to stay Switzerland. We’ve had multiple retailers, publishers, offer to fund us from the game industry. We can’t accept the money. It’s the most difficult conversation to say “you can’t invest”. We don’t want any publisher to think… it’s very challenging.

RPS: How far before this stuff hits?

Perry: On consoles, I don’t think any console would want to be the one that can’t do this. You don’t want to be the site with no games. When they think of a game, you want to be the first thing that comes into their mind. That’s what I’m hoping this becomes.

RPS: Will there be a central Gaikai far in the future? Or entirely white-labelled?

Perry: We’re grey-label – somewhere it says “powered by Gaikai”. When we put demos on the web, we put them on our website too. It’s funny watching the traffic growing organically, with zero marketing. Games themselves create traffic. Our intention is not to become Steam. We’re not interested in that all – we’re interested in helping Steam, helping everybody.

RPS: Have you spoken to Steam?

Perry: Well… we’ve spoken to everybody. I’m good friends with Gabe, I have a lot of respect for people like them. But I think Gaikai can improve them, it has a lot of friction. I would argue that Steam has saved PC gaming and that a lot of the growth could come from them if they so decided. If Steam one morning decided “we’re going to increase the size of the PC audience”, they would only need to become a little more viral in their sharing, which is the friction into steam. It’s currently 43 clicks and a whole bunch of forms to fill out – it asks your mother’s maiden name on your first experience! They should be trying to get you hooked and then… “if you install this, I’ll double the playtime on that.” Incentivise me!

RPS: You have a huge advantage over Steam’s tech though, as you’re straight-in, with no chance of piracy.

Perry: I saw a speech on piracy and they talked about that piracy is more convenient than buying the product. What if we could make getting the product more convenient than stealing it? Piracy’s a lot of work. There’s a cost to it and people value their time. There’s a price-point at which it’s more conveneinet to buy the music than pirate it. Spotify has achieved that goal. You start for free, then you sign up, go for the $9.95 and you don’t even think about it.

RPS: Russia had that problem, with boxed copies in the streets that were better produced than the official copies and cheaper. They’ve pushed it back now, but it was amazing.

Perry: That’s not good. Pirating games is so worse than music. It’s so hard. One is that you can’t trust running the code, as there might be a trojan. Two, these are enormous downloads. You haven’t got away with it. Cloud gaming is one of the answers to that. Cloud gaming would make it so much more convenient to check this stuff out.

RPS: Also when they start googling for pirated games, your advert can pop up at the top…

Perry: Yeah, “play it now for free”. Some people look at pirates as just evil and that’s the end of it. How about you just make it so your service is better than the piracy. It’s not that hard!

RPS: Gaikai also negates the effect of marketing dollars, levelling the playing field for smaller titles; they may play SWTOR first, but they’ll soon try Perpetuum, Wurm and the rest.

Perry: When I speak to people who don’t play video games, I ask them “is there a song that works for you, fits your DNA, listen on repeat over and over?” The answer is; absolutely. An album? Absolutely. There’s thousands of albums out there. Same thing for movies. There’s lot of crappy movies out there too. And you get to the point where you respect the creators. It’s harder to find those games, to find that game for you. Once you’ve played, it’s going to change you fundamentally into a game-er. It’s a challenge for our industry to get people to find that game for them. The FPS market is mature now, there are a huge variety of FPSes, they’re not all good, but there’s probably one in there. I can’t think of any other way to find out; I’d have to buy them for $60, so my experimentation is probably going to stop at one. If we want to be the number one form of entertainment, we need to discover the game for that people.

RPS: Fragmentation of Gaikai by grey-labelled business; isn’t that working against the smorgsabord you’re saying your offering the consumer?

Perry: The traffic that shows up at Walmart.com or Bestbuy.com is incredibly valuable. When people go to a retail site, they go to buy; if they’re playing the game, on the site, at 9am on the day of release..? That’s very valuable traffic for the games industry – it’s using technology to help increase the reach. I think the more we spread it, the better. Turns out it costs money to move people but it costs nothing to move games. The more we don’t move people around with adverts, the cheaper this gets. Whoever pays for the advert, gets the customer.

RPS: Have you found your magic game?

Perry: I think the game I got in the most is Battlefield. The old RTSes – C&C and Diablo – but I get carried away in Battlefield. So much so that when it came out I bought multiple copies for my friends, so that they could play.

RPS: I do that with books; I’ve bought so many copies of Fear & Loathing and If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller…

Perry: Because you don’t want them not to buy it. Let’s just remove that question, here’s the game. The reason I like Battlefield is because you can play it your way. The infinite flexibility of “that idea didn’t work, holy shit I got my butt kicked” to “let’s try this, and this” or “I’ll just be crazy tonight.” I’ve never sat down to Battlefield and been disappointed or bored.

RPS: I got that with Planetside, but most people didn’t play it. With your service, they might. Will it work well with MMOs?

Perry: It works fine. Latency’s not an issue. Think about this; there’s a Planetside server on the backbone of the internet and our server’s on the backbone of the internet too. The communication is pure fibre, as fast as it could possibly be. If a company really, really, really wanted zero latency, I’d put our server in their data centre. We’d get 0ms pings. Just that idea, that multiple people playing together are getting that really fast connection internally.

(Dave points at Dan’s iPad keyboard-case) I love that. Someone was really thinking when they made that. It’s so smart. The way innovation works is that you see someone trying to solve a problem brute-force. I saw a desktop computer with a wire strap around it and a handle. They were trying to make it look like a briefcase, because they needed to transport this stupid thing. It was a cry for help. A lot of innovation just comes from observation, from what people are trying to solve.

RPS: Gaikai sounds like it’s sorted; what ‘s the next thing you’re going to solve.

Perry: I’m actually working on an iPad game for the Save The Children, through One Big Game. But my personal thing is I’m going to get back into programming. I miss it terribly. I buy every programming book, my walls are covered with them. It’s my only way to retain any feeling that I’ve got coding DNA.

RPS: Carmack on Twitter varies between pure code and epigrams, but he’s never left coding. Do you envy that he kept himself in that space?

Perry: Yeah, I do. I look at the games industry like an MMO. You know, I’ve been levelling up different skills. I’m okay with it. I have a lot of experience with licensing, and then I get it, what next? So networking, and then I’m negotiating transit deals globally. I walk out of a meeting literally +1, +1, +1 networking. I’m dealing with the top venture capitalists in the world, our last round was $30 million, but you get to a point with them where you say “I get it now”, box checked. Advertising is next. We want to go in and disrupt. That’s what drives me into that constant learning.

RPS: And you feel you’ve been maintaining the programming?

Perry: That’s my backbone, my DNA. There’s a moment of time as a programmer when you realise any thought that you have you can put on the screen. There’s a curve of frustration and there’s a moment where you think “I can now do anything I need to do.” As you don’t do it, that falls off. Years ago I learnt to fly helicopters, and it’s exactly the same thing. You have to get into it, once you work it out, you realise you can fly it anywhere.

RPS: You’re completely free.

Perry: It’s an epiphany. But what also happens, is that if you continue doing it, you notice the errors next time. Programming, you can’t dabble in. I wrote a book on game design. I did a test once, I went into the local chapter of IGDA and I said to everyone in the room, “I want you all to invent a new weapon that’s never been seen before, you have two minutes, go.” People stalled, understandably so. Then I scrolled on the screen a list of all the possible ways to die, everything you can possibly imagine, every disease, every bizarre way. You scroll the list THEN you say to people, “come up with a new weapon, go” and in two minutes, every single person has come up with a new weapon. Well, what’s really happened there? Just some inspiration. I realised that the more you inspire, give them the place to jump off from, it’s still their idea, but they were inspired by something. If you can deconstruct things, like if I said to you to make a villain, and I’ve included lots of character traits, you find yourself very quickly getting to what excites you.

RPS: A villain who’s going to take over the world through streaming technology.

Perry: There you go. I want to rewrite that book anyway, and hone in on the core of that inspiration.

RPS: So, if Gaikai can rejuvenate games and films and the army; how are you going to do that for books? (Asked before Apple announced their iBooks 2 app).

Perry: With books, the challenge is to disrupt the model. I saw a really interesting in China, where the books are free and you just pay for the pages that you read, at a very low cost, a fraction of a cent per page. You’re only paying for what you read, so if the book loses you, you’re done. That idea that the books they add are free, I like that. I like digital books because they’re searchable, if you can recall a certain bit, you can find it really quick. Digital is the future because of accessibility. The book industry is ripe for disruption. The Kindle is charging me a lot for a book.

RPS: Because it’s still going through that entire creator-publisher-distributor chain.

Perry: Imagine if your library was infinite and you’re reading 700 books and this one’s really grabbing me and I continue and they’re making money as I go. I come back to, what’s more convenient for you and what’s pro-consumer. Anyone that can innovate in that way will disrupt. That’s what Apple does so well, is make things easy for you, save you time. I think their core message is not to go with the establishment, the lens they look at the world through is “we’ll increase your productivity.”

RPS: Thanks for your time.

You can try out Gaikai right now, over on Eurogamer.


  1. Anguy says:

    When I click on one of those Gaikai games it is loading up and then I get the error message my “connection seems to have gotten slower please close all applications that might be slowing down your connection”, anyone else has this?

    • Alexandros says:

      Yup, me too. I think they’re filtering out people when the ping is over a certain threshold.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      Works ok for me, I just played magika at a decent resolution with no noticeable latency (not like on live’s bullshit). However, it took a little while to load, sometimes glitched out graphically and on two occasions got me killed while it was recalibrating.

      I think on the whole while this service is fine for trying out demos or free to play games or the like if there’s a game I really want to play I’d rather download it once and have it load quicker and behave consistently.

    • Anguy says:

      Ok good to know, might try it out later then :)

  2. dangermouse76 says:

    “these days are so impatient that if you say, here’s 3.5GB come back in 2 hours, they’re already busy doing something else. Their life moved on, probably about 2 minutes after, and when it finally arrives, they’re probably not in their house any more.”

    Really are we that impatient. I tend to buy on steam in the evening so it downloads over night. But again what world are we living in, if the reality is people wont wait 3 hours for a game, or even overnight.

    I think people are more patient than you think.

    • Bostec says:

      True, especially if you live in the UK with our stone age connections, you have to be nothing but patient.
      Any files above 3gb and its a overnight job for me too, I really don’t mind waiting for it, time is all I have.

    • Danny says:

      Well, I have to say that my attention span is getting shorter and shorter after all those years on the internet.

      Sometimes I’m F5’ing a website that I’ve refreshed only a couple of seconds ago. Or filtering words out of an essay that covers more than one page, even if I’m really interested in the subject!

      It’s depressing.

    • dangermouse76 says:

      Thankfully I have a 20meg cable connection. With the streaming option I still worry that games like skyrim will suffer in the mod department. Can they come up with a system that allows mods to be bolted onto a streamed game ( server side ) I cant see it.

      But I do love the idea of plug and play for some games, I dont see myself getting the next gen console either so the PC keeps me busy gaming now.

      So PC / streaming service in tandem ?

      Could work.

    • alinos says:

      Indeed I don’t know anyone so impatient then you take into account the fact that your probably going to end up streaming large amounts of data down anyway.

      I mean take something like skyrim was like 7GB (even if you only use 1GB of data an hour streaming it you’d probably end up using 10 times the game data if you streamed to play.

      Personally it might be nice for demos since you can get in there play your hour and be done instead of maybe downloading 2-3gb for a demo.

      But otherwise I don’t see the use in the tech, yet I can see a bad future where developers think it’s a wicked anti piracy tool because if the game data is available to no one then no one can pirate it

    • c-Row says:

      Really are we that impatient.

      Once we will get used to shorter (or even no) waiting time, we will be.

    • Tuco says:

      @dangermouse76: Even more than that, sounds like a lot of people are missing the point.
      It’s like when console gamers claim that they don’t have to install a game to play as it was a plus.
      Actually, we prefer to install the games, and we prefer to download them locally on our machines, cause this initial “discomfort” is *far* outweighed by the benefits.

      Faster loading times, better framerate, superior image quality, more responsive controls, the possibility to modify the files, to change the settings, etc…

      What clueless moron would pick a streamed gaming session over these things just to spare himself two hours of download?

    • dangermouse76 says:

      I probably wouldn’t go so far as to call people clueless morons but yes there are definate advantages to locally hosted games.

      But I think alot of people would be happy with a streamed game at 1080p or even 740p. I am trying Onlive to see what it’s like in practice. For me, with a 20 meg cable connection ( UK ) it lags a little gets blocky quite often and lacks sharpness. It;s playable and will probably improve.

      For me personally it’s not a good fit for all the reasons you stated, but I could see it working very well for other people. It really depends on what game is being played, and do the effects of lag and slight artifacting take away from the game play mechanics and immersion to the point it’s unplayable.

      I think people can be quite tolerant if the price is right. Of course with onlive I dont think the price is anywhere near right. It’s way too high to buy a game you will never own for above £20-25 ( for me anyway ).

    • Groove says:

      I agree and disagree.

      Any game I’m really interested in I’d be happier waiting for the download to finish then having it 100% perfect on my PC.

      But then using a service like this to trial games sounds brilliant. 1-click, 30 seconds, then you’re playing sounds like a wonderful way to run demos. A problem would be that I imagine if I liked the demo I’d shut the gaikai window, and buy the full game from Steam. But still, playing a demo for a huge game that quickly and easily, it would lead to me buying a lot of games I might never have tried otherwise.

    • vecordae says:


      That’s a bit like saying “why even have cable/sattelite television when Blue Ray is so much crisper”. Yes, having the game installed locally has a lot of benefits for that specific game. Using a service like this has different benefits, like being able to play a game on machines that couldn’t run it on their own. Instead of spending 40 monies on new games every month, you could pay that to access an entire huge library of games that you could play anywhere you had an internet connection. So, yeah. Plenty of room and interest for something like this out there, even if it doesn’t do anything for your, specifically.

  3. CMaster says:

    I think he dismisses the bandwidth problem to lightly, especially for the non-gamer side of things. Schools don’t normally have the bandwidth to have an entire class, never mind most of the school, streaming at once. The military by its nature often works in areas with rather bad connectivity.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I think so too. While I see the interest of having everything steamed when the military is in such areas, to not leave computers with potential information on them… I don’t see how it can beat the fact of having everything with you, and not depending on a communication line.

    • dangermouse76 says:

      I used to work for Pipex internet ( UK ) they used to hold accounts and servers for the MOD. I have had to call someone in Iraq to help reset accounts and enable there intranet to reboot. Very odd with the sound of canon fire in the background.

  4. ran93r says:

    I have a lot of time for DP, I hope he wins everything.

  5. NathanH says:

    That man has certainty taken all the perks in Speechcraft.

  6. Inigo says:

    He would be a lot more convincing if it weren’t for the fact he was the lead designer for Enter the Matrix.

    • John Brindle says:

      Yet also the man who made Sacrifice.

      …which was amazing, but didn’t take off. So, we’ll see.

    • MasterDex says:

      He also made Messiah, MDK, Earthworm Jim, Alladin, Cool Spot and Global Gladiators. One or two hiccups in a career that spans back as far as the ZX Spectrum is hardly good reason to dismiss what he has to say. That’d be like saying no one should put any weight behind what John Carmack has to say because of Rage.

  7. Steven Hutton says:

    I’m afraid of change. This article terrifies me.

  8. Cinnamon says:

    This is an exciting and opportunity filled time in history I guess if you just put to one side how horrible and bleak everything is.

    Just trying this with crisis 2 on eurogamer. Damn that game is like 95% terrible unskippable cutscenes and nonsense. I would have closed it down long before gameplay if I wasn’t doing this for the cause of scientific evaluation. Get into gameplay, graphics are blurry and mouse look controls are jerky and unresponsive. Literally worse than being executed with a bullet to the back of the head.

    • yhancik says:

      Literally, really?

    • Cinnamon says:

      Yes, they can use that quote when trying to sell it to the Chinese prison system as well if it helps them.

    • siegarettes says:

      Huh. I wonder where their main servers are located. I played Crysis 2 and Alice Madness returns from the Eurogamer link and I had a pretty smooth connection. The lag was minimal and pretty much unnoticeable, especially compared to onlive. I even managed to forget it wasn’t running on my rig.

    • Colthor says:

      I just played the Crysis 2 demo on Eurogamer/Gaikai. After about twenty minutes (mostly unskippable nonsense, partly “press X to crouch”) I reached the first pile of ammo. I picked it up. I reloaded my gun. Finally I can shoot somebody!

      Screen vanishes. “Thank you for playing the Crysis 2 demo!”

    • D says:

      This is interesting to me. I also just tried the Crysis 2 demo.

      I selected “Resume Game” from the main screen, wondering whose game I was going to resume. It started off a bit bluntly I thought, no setup, no story. Opened a door and picked up the ammo as the first thing.

      So apparently they instance the game with a good save, for demoing the game quickly. Well done to them. I played with a controller and got stuck after about 15 minutes, but had a good experience.

  9. The Tupper says:

    Looks like the picture has been swiped from his Guardian Soulmates profile, text included.

  10. Juan Carlo says:

    Should have asked about modding and what he thought cloud gaming would do to the mod community. I think one of the worst things that could happen if cloud gaming becomes the norm would be that game design would become much, much, more specialized and mysterious as the code and actual content of the games would no longer be in the hands of gamers. It would probably make “Self-teaching” (which is where most game designers start, I think) much harder.

    And it would have effects beyond just that. It would give so much power to content providers that, in alot of ways, I think the end result could end up just being SOPA in another form.

  11. lhzr says:

    Ah, Calvino is great and his Traveler novel is amazing, one of my fav books ever, next to Eco’s The Island of the Day Before. Might have to get the Traveler for my girl, so perhaps I’ll get around to reading it again.

    • Llewyn says:

      Interesting. “If On A Winter’s Night…” is probably my favourite of Calvino’s works and yet “The Island of the Day Before” is the only piece of Eco’s writing – fiction or non-fiction – that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. Isn’t taste a funny thing at times?

    • lhzr says:

      Good thing you said you liked “If On A Winter’s..” first, otherwise I would’ve stopped reading your post and would’ve promptly added you to my personal hate list :p

      There’s probably a lesson to be learned here, which I’ll probably forget to think about later.

      Anyway, I felt both of these brought me to a similarly introspective and moody place, like other Calvino books and unlike others from Eco (that’s not to say I don’t like Eco, because I very much do).

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      (Dan Gril here)

      Ha, I have given If On A Winter’s Night to every girlfriend I’ve ever had, and all my best friends. I have multiple copies on my shelf for emergencies.

      Island Of The Day Before is good, but it’s not up to Name of the Rose or Foucault’s Pendulum (or even Baudolino) – the ending is just too insipid.

  12. Zeewolf says:

    “I mean, imagine if the email had a button instead of the code and you clicked on it and just started playing right away.”

    I have tons of games INSTALLED that I haven’t played yet. Playing them is as easy as clicking the icon (or name in Steam). Accessibility is not what it’s all about, and Gaikai won’t change that. It’s the time invesment needed for playing something new that’s keeping me from trying them, not the installation, download or whatever.

    Also… streaming in a warzone? Really? Wait until the opposing forces hear about that.

    • somini says:

      He was basically ignoring that. maybe he really thinks the reason people won’t play some games is because it takes too long to install. Totally wrong in my opinion, it the time invested that matters, as you said.

    • MasterDex says:

      His point was that when you’re downloading a full game, you’re investing all that time to do so before you get to spend time playing it – or even finding out if you like it or not. If you’ve bought without trying, you’re making a gamble. There’s a chance you’ll like it but if it turns out that you don’t, you’re shit out of luck. What the likes of OnLive or Gaikai can do is get rid of that time and get rid of that risk and say “Here, check it out” and you can check it out and if you like it, you can continue to stream it and save that time or maybe you’ll decide to download it for the best quality. But what’s this? Out of town for the weekend away from your beast of a rig? Stream it. Many would argue that a drop in quality is preferential to a lack of availability.

      For Gaikai and OnLive, accessibility is all that it’s about.

  13. Harkkum says:

    I tried the service and atleast for the game I tried (Witcher 2) the apparent compromises they have to make to allow streaming are visible. The problem I see for a service like this is that I have already a pretty decent connection with which I can download games fairly quickly. Then I have services such as Steam where my games are linked to my account which enables me to play those games from every computer I wish.

    It leads to the ultimate question: What do I need this service for? I can imagine that if they can improve the quality of the graphics and sounds and allow streaming for your novel internet TV, sure, a great concept. But as it stands you are essentially paying from a subpar product in order to support this to-be a great concept.

    I guess that once I can, say, mirror the game from my mobile phone on 1080p resolution to a TV screen and use what ever controller I choose, at that point this will be a killer application. For now, thou, I have to admit that I am not too interested.

    • siegarettes says:

      I’m really interested in where this cloud gaming thing goes. The idea of being able to play high quality games on any device is interesting, but generally the only place I get a good enough connection to do that is in my house, where I’m a few feet from a system that can handle the process by itself.

      However, Gaikai’s low latency and relatively high picture quality (at least on my end) does make it interesting. Plus I love being able to demo a game within a few minutes.

  14. Persus-9 says:

    I reckon the future of books lies in donationware. I think publishers are playing far to big a roll these days and taking far to big a cut of the profits. I think in the future the publisher will just be something like YouTube that just accepts any upload with viewer ratings and recommendations determining what gets read.

  15. c-Row says:

    RPS: Also, it’s a way of locking down data and turning it into a service rather than a product. An arcade was a definite product.

    How was an arcade a product? Just like a cinema, they offered a service you had to pay for, and they could stop offering it at any point if they decided so. There was no product for the customer to own.

  16. MichaelPalin says:

    Wow!, that interview was long, can I comment before reading everything? Yes? Ok

    it’s a way of locking down data and turning it into a service rather than a product

    Yep!, that’s basically why I fear this model, it’s the perfect DRM for non-linear media and to return to the paying system of the arcades.

  17. rustybroomhandle says:

    I see this as a valid way to try a game before buying, but as a replacement for locally installed games I’m going with no-frelling-way. I like to collect games.

  18. V. Profane says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it; and probably still won’t like it.

  19. AmateurScience says:

    Just had a go with this though the Eurogamer link. Quite impressive, had the Witcher 2 up and running within 2 or 3 minutes and looking very good on my 4-year-old Macbook.

    To be fair I’m on the Uni’s incredi-band in the office so I’m going to try it on my home computer later on. So far very impressed though (haven’t used onlive so this is my first experience of this kind of cloud delivery).

    What I didn’t consider was that firing up The Wither 2 might lead to some minor spoilers for the first one – which I haven’t finished yet. Derp.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I’m pretty sure that streaming is the future for video games. I’m just not sure how far away that future is. I don’t think that in the next couple of years there will be great change (at least for the hardcore gamer with a Steam library of 100 titles). But in 15-20 years it is entirely possible that the time between the click to buy a game and playing the game is just a few seconds (or that you buy the game from within the game itself, after trying it out), for all games that are on the market.

    (Also, shouldn’t “link to Heatwave Day in the Life of an MMO feature” be an actual link, or am I misunderstanding something here?)

    • MichaelPalin says:

      I’m pretty sure Valve is going to implement it on Steam eventually. It will be a sad day because it will be the day we completely lose control of our video games. I hope Steam suffers some major problem or screw it big first and people start to realize what does it mean to rely completely on a business for your gaming. Although considering that nobody seemed to rise important questions after the PSN outage, I guess this is pretty much inevitable.

  21. davidgilbert says:

    I think the idea of steaming is the way to go, but until the UK has fireoptic / satellite / 20Mbit streaming everywhere, in both urban and rural areas then the idea is a non-starter for me unless it becomes a primary platform for indy / smaller game downloads. It doesn’t also take into account the bandwidth usage/costs which is likely to skyrocket for people who have fixed quotas per month.

    I can’t see this taking off in the UK majorly until the infastructure is sorted out first, like Bostec said earlier.

    • mrwout says:

      Steaming is definitely the way to go for me, when I steam my food it doesn’t burn or overcook and I also don’t need to use additional fat ! And apparently it keeps more nutrients in the foodstuffs. I certanily recommand steaming.

  22. Lord Byte says:

    Muddy graphics and noticeable mouse-lag making games very hard to play. No thanks. And it’s not like I’m on the other side of the world or behind a crappy connection. Connection stayed at 100% the entire time according to the service.

  23. Spengbab says:

    Hating this development. Just give me a big ol’ beige box, a keyboard, mouse, a CD/DVD, pop it in, watch the installer, run the latest patch and bam, gaming time. And all this I say unironically.

    Im loving Steam too though. Way too easy to buy and download it immediately. But streaming? STREAMING VIDEO GAMES? From the cloud? While youre in a Starbucks, drinking your frappucino, wearing some form of hat (Extra badpoints when its a fedora!)? On an Apple product, perhaps even?

    No thanks, I’ll stick to my locally installed and managed media/games. Goodnight.

  24. AlexV says:

    Just tried the demo of Crysis 2. It’s surprisingly not as bad as I was expecting. Yes, there’s still a noticeable lag between hitting the button and jumping or shooting, but not completely unplayable. I could see myself using this for demos. But only for demos. If I’m going to actually play a game, I’ll want it in much higher resolution and quality settings, no lag, and most importantly of all the ability to open up the install folder and delete all the stupid intro logos.

  25. Bhazor says:

    I can see cloud gaming working fantastic for demos, as demos get increasingly rare and/or stingy, but for full games? With the loss of modding/offline functionality/secure backups on your own hdd? I don’t see it.

    The onlive system’s 15 minute preview system could be revolutionary. But streaming games maybe not.

  26. alundra says:

    The cloud?? come on, that thing is a failure already, two things come to mind:

    -A somewhat recent (and quite long) steam shortage, it had dozens of people on panic posting to the forums because they were not able to access their games, steam offline mode works perfectly for me, but it does not for some, furthermore, those games that rely heavily on online saves or the like were just not available.

    -Megaupload, while Gaikai won’t be offering illegal content (obviously), you can’t overlook the fact that thousands had important files stored there and those just went puff!! when Megaupload was taken down, where it is games or crucial files, how can anyone place their stuff in the hands of faraway strangers that might some day just disappear for whatever the reason?.

    Oh and there is also that thing about monthly quotas, which seems to be spreading across ISPs.

    That was three things….

    • Gary W says:

      ‘Cloud’: a Kafkaesque euphemism for having to store all your data on The Man’s computer.

  27. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Sacrifice was a great game.

  28. InternetBatman says:

    It’s clear that a lot of people think streaming and cloud stuff is the future, and I get why from a business standpoint, but it doesn’t make sense from a technical standpoint. Average CPU power increases and gets cheaper every year for everyone, ditto with disk space, RAM, and video cards. Internet speed also increases, but it’s one that’s the closest to reaching its hard limits without dramatically changing the structure.

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m inventing reasons not to like it, because if it becomes the norm it will sure as hell kill many of the best things about PC gaming: mods, player fixes, and most importantly the massive back catalog. An MMO goes under and no one can play the game again. Ever. A company like Interplay goes under and everyone can play their games ten years down the line.

  29. johnpeat says:

    “Reality Distortion Fields” (or smooth talking conmen) are really common – people rave about Steve Jobs being an outstanding example but I’ve met 100s of people who had this ability and the only thing you can do is recognise it and then ignore that person completely as most of what they say is shite.

    David Jones (GTA/Realtime Worlds) was one such person – Perry is another – Romero is another and that’s just in gaming (and there are dozens of others).

    I think it’s a reflection of the ‘artist’ in cultures other than art. Truth be told, being a successful ‘artist’ is less about your art and more about your ability to talk (a lot of shite, usually) about your art.

    Example: To most people it’s a lump of concrete or a dead animal but put into the hands of the Emins, Hirsts et al it becomes an expression of the struggle of man in the ever more restricting forces which make up the universe – or whatever…

    In other words it’s not what you’re selling – it’s how well you’re selling it…

  30. Tarqon says:

    It seems to me that the console companies in particular have a tremendous incentive to start a similar service of their own, so they don’t have to share their margin with Gakai. I hope he has strong patents or some other ace up his sleeve, or it could end badly for him.

  31. D3xter says:

    No offense, but I would wish for him to fail so horribly with his “endeavour” that he won’t recover and noone in his right mind tries it for at least another 20 years, also is RPS up to not only not critically examining but outright endorsing “Cloud Gaming” now or what?

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • DK says:

      Because the games media has a hardon for technology they don’t understand, so they believe every shill and PR lie. See Cloud Gaming, See the “revolutionary face technology” in LA Noire, See 3D gaming, See “Peer 2 Peer is great now honest!”, See “DLC is great now honest!”, etc.

    • johnpeat says:

      One of the reasons more people aren’t against ‘cloud gaming’ is because it works better than most of the whingers reckoned it would.

      OnLive works – it’s not amazing or fantastic and it’s not like having a good gaming PC – but varies from OK to ‘pretty good’ for the most part and can only get better…

      Quite a lot of people have had to eat their words – those who talked about ‘unavoidable game killing lag’ discovered (as I’d been saying for a while) that you don’t notice it half-as-much as you’d think.

      Some games don’t work – you can’t put twitch shooters and the like on such services – but trad. PC gaming contains many genres which work really well (RPGs, RTSs, Adventure Games, Puzzles etc. etc.)

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Personally, I’m excited about the future, not scared about it. Streaming technology is something I’m excited about, because clever people are going to find clever things to do with on-tap super-huge computing power.

  32. Shortwave says:

    I download new games I buy while I’m at work or sleeping.
    Usually always ready by the time I’m done to play.
    And trust me, I’d rather wait 2-10 minutes for it to install.
    I have a 1.5mbps connection at best and it’s not stable when downloading constantly.
    Also, I like having the game files on my computer so I can modify the settings files.
    Seeing as how I have to do that half the time before games run/look properly.
    Things such as FOV and so forth.

    This cloud thing I hope never becomes the standard.
    For demos, sure. But it would ruin PC gaming for me.

  33. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Can’t be 100% sure, but it actually seemed faster than onlive. Tried a bit of crysis 2 and it was perfectly playable. It still looks a bit grainy of course, but the horrid mouse lag of onlive fame was not that bad.

  34. outoffeelinsobad says: