The seismic activity under the crust of well-established gaming community hasn’t created an earthquake just yet, but our seismographs are clearly showing new activity, and – sorry Maya guys – but this is just the beginning of things to come!
Forget PC graphics, what we want is Realtime Pixar and Lucas Films rendering quality graphics
Ok. So for the moment, let’s forget the idea of “Yeah great, I have up-to-date PC graphics on my vintage machine” (that’s right, a machine only two years old is vintage). Having PC graphics on an old machine, at home, is something very attainable in todays’ age. But let’s have a peek in the crystal ball.
The best use of cloud gaming in the future might be for games developed specifically for cloud gaming technology; with graphics of a thousand graphic cards combined – to create the biggest Scalable Link Interface (SLI*) mode in the world. Supercomputer power with real-time rendering as good as the CGI of LucasFilms (or Disney, if you will).
Of course, this signifies a totally new development model for game designers and for now, quite a risky one at such an early time in this area’s development. But this brings me to ask the question: could this sci-fi hypothesis be one of, if not the next, evolution of cloud gaming, one that could help gamers accept the slight lag in play mode and the frustrations of controlling a character while using this technology?
4G – the new friend of cloud gaming?
Another area that has seen much development is 4G cloud gaming on the move. With 4G’s reduced ping value and bigger bandwidth (than a standard home DSL connection), some tablets on the market are powerful enough for cloud gaming technology. SFR in France demonstrated this early in December 2012 with the help of their cloud gaming partner G-Cluster. It showed that some games, when played through the cloud were running on 4G Samsung tablets. And they worked well enough to impress the journalists who tried it. Mission accomplished. This Christmas I’ll be asking Santa to please hurry up and bring that capability to us mere mortals.
Cloud based gaming stores are now everywhere
Cloud gaming can now be delivered in different ways through gaming app stores. With the advent of Valve’s Steam, Electronic Arts’ Origin and others, the biggest thing to happen this side of the new year was that Valve’s gaming app store in the cloud – Steam – reached 6 million concurrent users during thanksgiving. This kind of success has made its competitors think twice. The big change has been achieved on all major gaming platforms; it is now possible to buy and download AAA games from A to Z. The PlayStation Vita allows you to buy and download games via their cloud based app store. The latest addition is the Nintendo WiiU, also allowing online purchase and download of their latest releases.
We have no official news about Sony’s plans to use cloud gaming, however, could these developments mean they’re getting closer? – Sony could launch its cloud gaming platform along with its new PS4 expected next Christmas. If they don’t, the backward compatibility to the PS3 may not be possible due to different hardware, so could Sony not use Gaikai to play old PS3 games? It begs a question.
Only shadows on this idyllic situation
Onlive, who had been hiding a critical financial situation, was sold last summer, quite cheaply ($4.8 Million), to an investor who created a new company purely for this acquisition. Onlive is also being sued by T5 Labs, a dispute over who invented cloud gaming.
But nothing looks particularly alarming here. All the big names in the tech industry are taking onboard cloud gaming. Of course, like Apple or Samsung, some patent issues will occur and just like any company who is way ahead of their time, they will struggle with money. My worries though, as a user, are very much elsewhere: firstly the problem of latency still exists and that is preventing massive use. Secondly, letting this technology loose in the hands of early adopters. For now anyways…
*SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface, this was launched by 3DFX back in 1998 and later used by NVIDIA in 2004 and is allowing to connect in a PC together 2 or 4 graphics cards to add together their power and give a lot better looking and smooth graphics for Video games or any realtime rendering application like CAD or 3D designing softwares.