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Networking The Internet Games

Gaikai Drawing Interest With Low-Key Demo, Believable Claims 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the cloud-gaming-with-a-silver-lining dept.
Earlier this week, we discussed news that games industry veteran Dave Perry had posted a demo of his upcoming cloud gaming service Gaikai. Now that people have had time to speak with Perry and evaluate the demo, reaction has been surprisingly positive. Quoting Eurogamer: "What struck me about the presentation was that there was absolutely nothing unbelievable in it whatsoever. There were no claims of streaming 720p gameplay at 60 frames per second — games were running in differently sized windows according to how difficult they were to compress, and video itself runs at the internet standard 30FPS. There was no talk of world-beating compression systems that annihilate the work of the best minds in video encoding today, the demo was using the exact same h264 codec that we use ... And finally, there was nothing here to suggest that we were looking at a technological breakthrough that would make our PS3s and Xbox 360s obsolete... just that this was a brand new way to play games in an ultra-accessible manner." By contrast, OnLive was received with much more criticism, in part due to their dramatic promises. While playing online games with Gaikai will naturally add some amount of latency, the article points out that single-player games need not lag more than you'd expect from a console controller. Meanwhile, unlike OnLive, Gaikai is not trying to compete directly with the major console manufacturers, instead trying to work with them in order to deliver their first-party games to new audiences.
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Gaikai Drawing Interest With Low-Key Demo, Believable Claims

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  • Next step (Score:5, Interesting)

    by itomato (91092) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @04:58PM (#28588957)

    Sell out?

    Who'd buy these guys, a gaming company or a streaming media company?

  • this is DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:00PM (#28588961)

    Stop giving it press.

    Gaming is already ultra-accessible, this is the solution to a problem that, for consumers, doesn't exist. The only people this will benefit is the game companies.

    I will not rent my game software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      It depends though. For some things, yes, there is no point in me playing my 360 games on my laptop rather than on my console if I'm just in a different room. However, if I can use a netbook (rather than a $2000 15 pound gaming notebook) paired with in-flight wi-fi and play my 360 games on the airplane, it might be worth it.
      • Re:this is DRM (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WillyWanker (1502057) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:28PM (#28589107)
        Exactly. A service like this opens up gaming to a whole class of players who were currently cut off by the insane cost of "gaming" hardware.

        As long as the service doesn't expand into the realm of hi-def gameplay (which is unlikely considering the horrible state of our Internet bandwidth) you'll minimize the exposure of Nvidia, ATI, and console manufacturers.

        This service won't supplant buying high end consoles or PC hardware -- this will still be necessary if you want the best gaming experience. But it will allow those who cannot afford to upgrade their hardware to play the games they currently can't. It's a win-win for everyone.
        • Re:this is DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Carbon016 (1129067) on Monday July 06, 2009 @12:15AM (#28591177)

          This service will likely cost more for a few months of subscription fees than a midrange video card does, and a netbook to play one of these streamed video games on costs about the same as a budget/midrange gaming PC. PC "gaming hardware" is hardly "insanely" expensive and for PC games this isn't terribly useful unless you have a portable machine and a quick internet connection, things that often don't go together.

        • Don't count on it being any cheaper really..

          You can't ignore how much rendering a game costs in hardware, it's why some people are willing to dish out 2000 USD for an enjoyable game experience.

          What this is doing is shifting the cost to a server and letting people connect to it, so you get even more problems, lag issues, connectivity bottlenecks, fps bottlenecks and so on.

          I'm also guessing that it will still cost a bucketload to run and maintain, and the initial cost will be huge, and people will either pay

      • Re:this is DRM (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:31PM (#28589127)

        However, if I can use a netbook (rather than a $2000 15 pound gaming notebook) paired with in-flight wi-fi and play my 360 games on the airplane, it might be worth it.

        For the cost of playing a 360 game streamed over satellite wi-fi, you could buy the best laptop on the planet.

        And that's assuming that several people playing games on the same aircraft could even get enough bandwidth in the first place. Isn't the total bandwidth to one aircraft around 512kps?

        • Re:this is DRM (Score:5, Informative)

          by Briareos (21163) * on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:44PM (#28589193)

          And that's assuming that several people playing games on the same aircraft could even get enough bandwidth in the first place. Isn't the total bandwidth to one aircraft around 512kps?

          Nevermind that - if you're going to use this on an airplane the lag (aka latency) is absolutely going to KILL you unless you're playing some turn-based game, and even there input lag will probably make you want to stop playing it.

          np: Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Joy Maker Machinery (Twice Born Men)

        • About twenty years ago, a friend of mine excitedly told me about a project to send movies over standard phone lines. The "inventor" was looking for investors, since he'd "solved" the problem . . . these were to be full quality movies. Note that 56k modems weren't available yet . . .

          I explained to him that that person couldn't possibly be doing what he was doing, given the theoretical limits based upon the way the US phone system worked, but he insisted.

          Several months later, I saw the news article on the a

      • by c0p0n (770852)

        paired with in-flight wi-fi and play my 360 games on the airplane, it might be worth it.

        I wouldn't hold my breath on this, in-plane internet services measure latency in moons.

      • by aerton (748473)
        How long will a battery last when you continuously stream a lot of data over wifi?

        Will the text be still readable on lower resolution? Perhaps, not so essential for a FPS, but would kill an RPG.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        However, if I can use a netbook (rather than a $2000 15 pound gaming notebook) paired with in-flight wi-fi and play my 360 games on the airplane, it might be worth it.

        Not bloody likely. Unless you're playing Bejeweled or something. Current in-flight WiFi has horrendous latency, because of the uplink (satellite or via ground station, the latter can easily be 100+ms). And it's not likely to change soon since 100+ms latency doesn't impact much on browsing or IM, but kills things like VoIP. And forget about it

      • This technology will not work with inflight wi-fi. The latency on over the air (non-hardwire) internet is far too great, and the bandwidth is too low. Given the speed of light issues related to sat links, airplanes will probably never have low enough latency (50ms) to make gaming feasible in this manner.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by LingNoi (1066278)

      It doesn't even benefit game companies because it basically hands all the control over to the console manufacturer that can pull your game at any moment forbidding your consumers from being able to play it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chill (34294)

      The millions playing World of Warcrack beg to differ. The software is useless without the monthly access fee.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      I will not rent my game software.

      Why not? There are a few games which I have bought that I wish I didn't pay full price for.

      There are some classics which I have made several backups of for "just in case", but seriously... Do you play games these day? 90% of them are shovel ware and stastically were allays going to get duped by a developer or shiny graphics (I'm LOOKING at you European Total War!) and we wish we didn't pay full price for because in a month we throw the box in a bin and forget about that game

  • Having read TFA... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218)
    Having read the first 2 pages of TFA, I still don't see how fast of a connection you need for these to become playable. I mean, where I live, the best connection you can get is a ~1 Megabit DSL connection.

    Um... yes? "How many Nintendo games are going to appear on OnLive? The answer is none," Perry adds. "And some of the best games in the world are from Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft... I'm already talking to Nintendo. I'm talking to all the major publishers.

    So in the end this service is going to end up as nothing more than PC games? Its not a good sign when a company who makes most of the classic games that people remember rejects your ideas, and I'm not sure Sony or MS wants to jump on the bandwagon (though it wouldn't surprise me if MS bought the company

    • by Delwin (599872) * on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:05PM (#28588995)
      This isn't OnLive - that's the vaporware competitor to this. He's stated that Nintendo has already turned down OnLive but is talking to him about possibly bringing it's games to Gaikai.
    • by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:14PM (#28589049)

      Its not a good sign when a company who makes most of the classic games that people remember rejects your ideas, and I'm not sure Sony or MS wants to jump on the bandwagon (though it wouldn't surprise me if MS bought the company if they managed to turn out a decent product).

      The console manufacturers have everything to lose and nothing to gain by helping out. If this service succedes no one will be buying specalized gaming systems anymore and this company will be buying comodity hardware to run these games. At best they could each have their own roku type box that connects to the service. Even with the pc games eventually this company will end up wanting volume licensing and start taking a cut of the sale.

      This is like going to EMI and asking to license their entire catalog for a new mp3 downloading website. Eventually Apple and Amazon got them to do it, but this is like asking them in 2001.

      • On the other hand, with the exception of Nintendo, losing money on specialized console hardware is essentially traditional in the industry. Having to produce specialized gaming systems is the burden you bear in order to get your cut on games, Xbox live subscriptions, and licenced peripherals.
        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Why would game developers develop games for Nintendo if there was no Nintendo hardware? No-one is going to develop a 'Nintendo game' if it's running on an x86 server and displayed over the Internet.

          • A service like this will not replace consoles, at least not anytime within the next 10 years or so. To suggest such a thing is ridiculous. It's merely providing another avenue of access.
        • "...losing money on specialized hardware "

          Consoles startup costs are offset by the fact that most of them end up being profitable later in its lifecycle as parts get cheaper to make through sheer volume and die shrinks. The original Xbox is a notable exception, but that is excused by its 'enter the market at all costs' mantra. It seems to have paid off in the long run.

        • There is something else to add, Nintendo got away with a cheaper to make console because all they did was basically beef up the Gamecube design. Im not saying its a bad thing, in fact Im 90% positive PS4/XBOX 720 will be the same architectures but with MOREâ.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WillyWanker (1502057)
        Hardly. Console manufacturers don't make money on the hardware, they make money on the software. Those that want the best experience (hi-def, surround sound, etc.) will still buy the hardware. Those that don't or can't afford to now don't have to. But they still need to buy the games. Cha-ching! You've now sold a game to someone who didn't have a console. How exactly is this going to hurt them?

        And EMI's stupidity in not embracing 21st century technology shouldn't be held up as a banner example. I'd like to
        • by Sparton (1358159) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @08:53PM (#28590131)

          Console manufacturers don't make money on the hardware, they make money on the software.

          Except of course Nintendo, who is a significant contender. Also, if previous console generations are of any indicator, the current-gen consoles for Microsoft and Sony will eventually turn a profit near the end of their life cycle.

          But they still need to buy the games. Cha-ching! You've now sold a game to someone who didn't have a console. How exactly is this going to hurt them?

          Both Microsoft and Sony have a problem with it, because it means that some consumers may not buy/rent/whatever the software from them (so they can get their cut in the game sales) and may instead by from the other current-gen offering.

          And that's why, in a nut shell, why all three major console players wouldn't see much to gain with more to lose by going along with Gaikai.

          • As I said before, a service like this won't stop people from buying consoles. Eurogamer even mentions this. Yes there will always be a few % points lost for those that could have or would have bought the console but ultimately didn't, but these losses would ultimately be made up in game revenue.

            Even if you consider end-of-life profits on the consoles they make many magnitudes more money on the games.

            I wouldn't be surprised if the consoles balk at the idea at first, simply because it's completely new territo
            • by Sparton (1358159)

              Well, I guess your argument is pretty solid. It can be hard to argue how you would do nothing gain when you're getting a larger audience...

              But the we have to remember that some people really like control, and don't like relinquishing it. A point I didn't make in my previous post that I should have is that each of the big three console guys have some sort of service that is part of their system. Even in the case of Nintendo, where... well, they don't have much that many people would care about, but Nintendo

              • I see and fully understand your points, but it's not as if Gaikai intends to dethrone consoles or make them obsolete. Sure there will be many features not available to people if you don't buy the console, which of course is the #1 reason why the service will never replace them.

                I actually think this is a good thing for Gaikai, and probably is what's going to work in its favor. It's not something that will appeal to hardcore gamers (perhaps only as a remote solution). But it can open up a completely viable re
      • I hear what you are saying, but there is a chicken and egg problem here. All of these games run on emulators of last gen systems. I could see how a service *like* this could kill consoles, but not *this* service. The way this service works, there needs to be games and a system for which the games came out on. What do you want the developers to program their games for if this kills the consoles and no new consoles come out? PC (will we come full circle)? The console makers have to make the consoles, in which
      • by MBCook (132727)

        I disagree. It doesn't make much sense for MS to release Halo 4 or Sony to release Little Big Planet 2 right away, but what about their backed catalog? It wouldn't hurt Nintendo (or anyone else) to release older games (everything from old arcacde through the last generation) on this kind of a service. It's just one more way to take people's money.

        Heck. Maybe after playing Zelda or Halo 1 or something, I'd go out and buy the new version of the console, thus increasing revnue.

        Makes sense to me, as long as you

    • by Sporkinum (655143)

      Likewise.. 1 meg DSL is all we have here. The other negative, from a gamer perspective, is that this does away with resale of old software.. The used game market. I also took away from this, is that it is scaled down and in a window based on your bandwidth. Something like my connection would get 640x480 or something like that.

      • Not necessarily. It depends upon how it's implemented, which from what I gather would be vendor specific. Some might require you first buy the game and then register to play it online. Others might do use a Steam-like approach.

        Worst case, it would have no more impact on used games than Steam does.

        And the bandwidth and resolution issue further underscore how this service won't be a replacement for traditional gaming.
    • Having read the first 2 pages of TFA, I still don't see how fast of a connection you need for these to become playable. I mean, where I live, the best connection you can get is a ~1 Megabit DSL connection.

      Really? Here in Portugal the *minimum* you can get is 3Mbps at about 20, and we have expensive ISPs compared to most other countries in Europe. And a new ISP is saying they'll offer symmetrical 50Mbps for 15 without any subscription to keep you locked.

    • Having read the first 2 pages of TFA, I still don't see how fast of a connection you need for these to become playable. I mean, where I live, the best connection you can get is a ~1 Megabit DSL connection.

      Not everybody lives where you live. Here in Japan the standard is now fiber optics at 100Mbps. I could see it working.

    • by julesh (229690)

      Having read the first 2 pages of TFA, I still don't see how fast of a connection you need for these to become playable. I mean, where I live, the best connection you can get is a ~1 Megabit DSL connection

      The company's site states that it will work with a 512kbit connection, but that for best quality you should have 2Mbit.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:17PM (#28589055) Homepage Journal

    How exactly are they reducing the latency from the controller to the cloud? Let alone the roundtrip latency of the video/sound.

    Anything more than 100ms ping time is gunna kill this thing.

    • How exactly are they reducing the latency from the controller to the cloud? Let alone the roundtrip latency of the video/sound.

      The thing that people are missing is that the application is actually now much closer to the Internet with a service like this. Take World of Warcraft for example, if you party with someone and you're both using this service, there is basically no lag between you and him. No more players jumping around on screen showing or actions executed out of order. And which message do you think has more overhead, "move player1 to position 35272,123, cast heal on player2", or "move mouse to position 1323,42, click".

      • by Bangz (1294126) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:07PM (#28589301)
        In the video he talks about having a sub 20ms ping. I think the idea is that they would setup lots of smaller servers spread out geographically to reduce the amount of lag as much as possible. What people perhaps overlook is that games naturally have quite a large lag already, once you've pressed a button it takes up to 1 frame for that change to be registered, another frame to update the physics / animation etc, and finally a frame to render based on the previously calculated physics information. In a 30FPS game that's between 66-100ms, and that's assuming a really damn good engine which is responsive, which a lot of game engines aren't. There was an article on Gamasutra on this very topic [gamasutra.com] about a year ago, if you want to read more. If the check out the third page [gamasutra.com] of that article you'll see the response times for some popular games, and you might be suprised!
        • by Moridineas (213502) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:28PM (#28589393) Journal

          Moderately interesting article, though it would be more interesting IMHO to see something similar done for PC games and user interface more generically.

          What I don't understand about your post though...

          On my cable modem connection right now, my ping to a dns server generally are between 20-30ms. Let's say pressing a key and transmitting it to "the cloud" takes 25ms on average. Now it's input to the game, the game's 66ms processing time takes place, and the result is streamed back to me...30ms+

          We're now at a minimum of over 110ms latency assuming everything runs full speed and we don't get any "buffering" etc...

          Now if ping times are closer to 40-50ms ... I would expect that would be fairly unplayable...

          Am I wrong?

          • by Bangz (1294126)
            Your correct. Lag is bad, adding more lag is going to make the experience a little more frustrating and potentially unplayable. What I was trying to say was that games already have lag, although that doesn't excuse adding more lag, but it does show that if the lag were reduced enough if could be negligible in comparison. Now perhaps, on this platform, hypothetically speaking, lag could be reduced in the game so that the physical update and rendering did not take a standard 16ms/33ms (60fps/30fps) amount of
            • by maxume (22995)

              So if you provide frames instantaneously and have a fantastic network connection, the lag is only going to be 3 or 4 times what it is running at 60 fps locally?

              It will work well for lots of styles of games, but anything fast paced is going to take a hurting.

          • by Stray7Xi (698337)

            On my cable modem connection right now, my ping to a dns server generally are between 20-30ms. Let's say pressing a key and transmitting it to "the cloud" takes 25ms on average. Now it's input to the game, the game's 66ms processing time takes place, and the result is streamed back to me...30ms+

            Ping is roundtrip time. So it only takes 10-15ms to reach server, and only 10-15ms to return. For a total of approximately 1 frame delay. The real issues isn't latency, it's packet loss and bandwidth.

          • While that would rule out FPS, fighting, platformers and so on, strategy, puzzle and the like should work fine. This certianly doesn't look to be a be-all, end-all solution, but it could have applications. You'd get a slightly laggy feel from the UI but that isn't a show stopper.

        • I'm still not sure this is going to work.

          For one thing, even though popular games already have lag of 66-100ms, that lag is consistent - it takes pretty much the same number of frames to see the results of your click. So you adjust to this. But if we are adding network lag of a supposedly smaller amount - say 50ms (I don't see how it will be 20ms like he says) - we also need to take into account lag variability (this is like the joke with the statistician drowning in a pool with an average depth of 1 inc
      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        What you say is nonsense because you still have to network between players. What do you think this is, one humongous server where 1000s of players connect to and all the games are run off it? No. It will be servers located all over the US which have to network between each other. Also you're forgetting the fact that something like a WoW game would be running separate from the rendering servers.

        The input would also cause more latency then updating player positions because a player position update happens onc

    • Exactly. And there is video compression and decompression delay. And, on top of that, current low-latency applications don't send much data. Do you still get low latency if you're receiving at 1MBit/s or higher? In both directions? Reliably? There can be no client-side prediction to smooth out lag: your connection must be perfect all of the time.

      I don't believe in this idea at all. I don't think they've done the math correctly. I'm sure it works wonderfully on their LAN, but over the Internet..?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by WillyWanker (1502057)
        He wasn't using a LAN in the video. He was using an ordinary Internet connection. He explains this in his blog.

        Latency only really becomes an issue with FPS games. Even if FPSs don't turn out to work very well this still leaves a massive amount of content that isn't so latency-dependent.

        There are quite a few free-to-play MMOs that currently work like this, e.g. FusionFall. They play just fine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrMista_B (891430)

      Most gamers don't play 'FPS' games.

  • No hacking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2009 @05:21PM (#28589073)

    I'd see the biggest benefit of something like this is NO CHEATING, which is the bane of most PC games, FPS types especially. It's pretty hard to be running a wall hack on your client if you only get sent an already rendered image from a central server!

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Alternatively, now there's only one server (farm) you need to own.

    • Well it certainly would be more difficult, but you could maintain a collection of the maps in different games then construct overlays based on inputs.

    • Re:No hacking (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:34PM (#28589429)

      There have been framebuffer capture based aim bots in the past already.

    • The point of proper cheat codes is, to make it fun again! This means that if you are stuck, and the game stops being fun, you can shortly use a cheat code and be done with it.

      Cheating in multiplayer games is just a result of bad balancing. You actually have more fun when you lose half the time, than when you win all the time. If you you lose more than halt the time, something with the balancing (which includes the [automated] right choice of other players!!!) is wrong.

      As a game designer, there is just no ex

  • Think of this...
    You're at home, you log onto Gaikai, and see a PS2 RPG you always wanted to play. Awesome! So you start playing it on the PC. The next day, you have to fly out somewhere (business trip, home for the holidays), and while you're at the airport, you use your iPhone and continue playing your game. No need to copy your emulator files over, deal with incompatibilities, buggy software (there isn't even a ps2 emu for iPhone and I doubt its powerful enough). While on your trip, you decide to retire
    • I think this will open a whole new market for gaming to people who either never own consoles or people that do own consoles, and want to play last generation titles that they missed out on and no longer own the older system or don't; have it hooked up anymore (especially now that Sony took out PS2 backwards compatibility)

      You really think so? Beyond really hardcore gamers, I don't think many people go back to play old games beyond certain classics... Most games just REALLY don't pass the test of time that well.

      I mean as an example, I have a hard time going back to play Morrowind after Oblivion...and Morrowind is a game that STILL has a very active community. Likewise, Baldur's gate 1 after playing Baldur's gate 2 (or BG2 now at all), etc--they just don't satisfy the same way they used to. Graphics, interface, the whole packa

    • by julesh (229690)

      there isn't even a ps2 emu for iPhone and I doubt its powerful enough

      I think we can assume you're correct. The fastest iPhone has a 600 MHz ARM Cortex processor with 2 execution units, whose base instruction set is 32-bit, but which supports 128-bit SIMD. The PS2 has a ~400MHz 64-bit MIPS-compatible processor with 2 execution units, also implementing 128-bit SIMD. Therefore, while the iPhone with a best-theoretically-possible emulator might manage to match or even beat the SIMD performace of the PS2, ord

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've gone back to student life, and have a Core2Duo laptop with Integrated Intel graphics, and an internet connection that speed tests to 86,468kbps @ 0ms ping. I'd be happy to pay a small sum for this.

  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @07:18PM (#28589665)

    I'd love to have this available for personal implementation. Granted - I'm thinking of very niche use. But I've attempted similar things with VNC and WoW in the past - with painful results. I'm not expecting to take my remote display in to a raid or battleground. But it'd be nice to be able to do auction house tasks, crafting, mailbox, banks, etc. wherever I happen to be at the time; reasonably quick tasks where a little latency isn't an issue.

    Of course - it looks like their intent goes well beyond this.

    • by julesh (229690)

      I'd love to have this available for personal implementation.

      I think you'd be surprised by how much an implementation of this would cost to set up. The only way, AFAICS, that they can be encoding the video output of the games to h.264 fast enough is a dedicated hardware encoder, which is probably about $2-300 worth of kit. Sure, you can do live h.264 encoding with a PC, but the latency is typically in the order of 10-15 frames or so, which would be unacceptable for this application.

  • Imagine being at a friend's and being able to stream your own games in this method. That would be the best of both worlds, you have the killer rig at home for the latest and greatest, and you can stream your games while on the go.

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @09:07PM (#28590201)

    This may be the future of gaming, eventually supplanting console and PC gaming.

    Reasons :
        1. This is a DRM system that would be nearly impossible to beat. As long as the game code is only given to these hosts, it would be vastly more difficult to pirate games. Not impossible - workers at the hosting company could leak the game to the internet, but it would be much more difficult.

        Strong DRM means the publishers would get paid for every game they sell, yet they could easily offer fully functional 'demos' of the game, or sell time for a game. It might be easier for a lesser known publisher to sell 10 hours of a game for $10 than the entire game for $50.

        2. It removes the need for the users to buy expensive hardware, whether that be a console or a high end gaming PC. You instead just lease time on the big iron. More advanced games with more advanced graphics would become available much sooner, since publishers wouldn't have to wait for the next generation of console to become common with consumers, or for PC owners to finally get upgrade their graphics cards. A publisher could offer games with state of the art, photo realistic graphics much sooner : it would just cost more per hour to play a game like that.

          3. It solves the nightmare of hardware incompatibility and hardware failures. Since your netbook/living room console/old PC would merely be decoding video, there would be far fewer ways things could go wrong.

    Problems : using flash is not a long term solution, flash has many problems : later generations of this service will need their own, optimized decoder code. ISPs will have to work with the companies offering hosted games, and configure their networks to deliver the ultra low latency, guaranteed bandwidth needed for a gaming session to actually work.

    I think this idea is going to take off. It'll be a few years before ISPs really get their act together to support this kind of service, but it will gradually happen, and I think it will completely supplant the game console.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Yes, but the publishers would be made extinct, replaced by these types of services.

      Why deal with a company specializing in putting boxes on store shelves when this is your new business model?

    • Am not going to start the familiar rant that DRM is evil.
      The fact is that a stronger DRM will enable stronger restrictions on usage while freeing PC's from the debilitating effects of DRM and Virus [theregister.co.uk]
      This does not necessarily translate to better games or even more demos.
      On the contrary, it will lead to more profit taking and more of the same crap games.
      For instance, Company of Heroes was ground-breaking when it came out. I upgraded my PC to play it. The subsequent Opposing Fronts was even more ground breaking.

      • I'm betting you're a "glass half empty" sorta guy...
        • Am a realist.
          Tell me what i have told are not facts.
          Am not an optimist, otherwise i would be driving an atomic car and flying to work a.k.a Jetsons.

          • You somehow equate DRM with making bad sequels. I don't see how the two are related.

            I don't believe the point of this service is DRM, but agree it's a strong side effect *only* if you don't already have a copy of the game locally. As each publisher is free to decide how one gains access to their Gaikai games who's to say they won't require you to buy the game from a local retailer first? While some might opt for a Gaikai-only option I don't think this will be the norm for current games, only older titles. H
            • Again i repeat, its not paranoia.
              What you are saying is ideal in an ideal world: Gaikai's product will be seen as long-term benefits for nVidia and ATI.
              But the corporates that make graphics cards and CPUs are... well corporates. Their overwhelming desire is to fulfil next quarter expectations.
              Long term plan is great: But it was NOT Moore's law which forced Intel to make faster chips. It was AMD. Without a competitor, we would still be using Intel Pentium chips running at 800Mhz and playing Doom on 640x480 V

              • I seriously can't argue with this level of batshittery. You win!
                • Next year, let's see where nVidia is and where this fancy company of yours is.
                  My bet would be on nVidia and Intel and AMD.

              • The provider of the service (Gaiku) and the people making the games aren't necessarily the same people. There's also no reason why Gaiku would be the only provider of a service like this.

                This provides two levels of competition: game developers and streaming game service providers. At some point, these services would reach saturation, i.e. everyone who would want to play games on the service will be playing games on it. If you, as a game developer, want to profit from it, you'll have to provide a better game

    • by aerton (748473)
      1. Less piracy, but you simply can not sell that to whole regions that do not have fast enough internet.

      2. So, instead of needing high-end console or computer you'll need the fastest, expensive internet connection. You may have a lot of bandwidth now, but that would require a lot of bandwidth coupled with low-latency. If you don't notice if youtube playback or start of download is delayed by a second, you will with a game.

      3. True for PC, but consoles do not suffer from hardware compatibility already.
  • A big part of my job for the last ten years has been running game servers for PC-based video games (Counter-Strike, Battlefield, etc - your standard dedicated-server based games, mostly FPS).

    Over the years as games have become more complicated, the trend has been for these games to consume more and more CPU. They support more players, they're doing complicated collision detection and physics and tracking stats and doing all sorts of other things. CPU usage and memory usage just goes up and up and up.

    Say we

    • by julesh (229690)

      I imagine they'll be using a 1-server-per-client model, at least with most games. Subscriptions will be expensive, at a guess, with the price worked out on the assumption that you'll be tying up a high-end gaming machine about 10-15% of the time. $120 or $180 per year sounds like a likely base price for the subscription, plus a small additional fee for game rental which will depend on what you're playing.

  • I hate these silly game streaming ideas. Its too limiting. I would rather own my games and play them on my own hardware.

    Its just a form of DRM. I would rather own POWERFUL computer hardware and the software I run on it.

  • Reading the comments already posted, I understand that some persons think that the service will be used to play games in whole (i.e. replace completly your PC or your console)... But if they'd RTFA, these persons would understand that Gaikai is mainly intented to demo games before getting them (now IMHO, that's a promising idea).
  • Next: timesharing! (Score:4, Informative)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@gma i l . c om> on Sunday July 05, 2009 @11:42PM (#28590951) Homepage Journal
    The next step in the evolution of gaming sofwtware is to host it on a large server -- what can we call it? Hmm, it's kind of centralized or main center of application execution; and they all execute in the same framework -- maybe Mainframework, or Mainframe for short? Once we do that, we can allocate slices of time to each game that's running -- at computer speeds, there would never be a noticeable delay to the user! We'll even have the screen rendering done on this "mainframe", and just push the screen to the end user.

    When are people going to start realizing that the "cloud" is an old idea with new hardware, and that reinventing a concept by putting it on the 'new' cloud platform isn't a business model that stands on its own?

    • Cause everything old comes back into vogue at one point or another. As long as they don't try coding the games in COBOL or FORTRAN I'm good.

      The mainframe/terminal relationship served us well for almost 40 years. I mean really, isn't the entire web nothing more than a fancy mainframe/terminal operation?

      When I was a kid I used to play tic tac toe on a Hazeltine mainframe from the terminal in our house with an acoustic coupler. The mainframe did all the thinking and the dumb terminal recorded my input and spit
    • by aCC (10513) *

      When are people going to start realizing that the "cloud" is an old idea with new hardware, and that reinventing a concept by putting it on the 'new' cloud platform isn't a business model that stands on its own?

      You're probably right, but still miss the point. I have never had access to a mainframe, but on the "cloud" I am able - as a private person or company! - to use something similar for very little costs. This is the major difference and changes everything about it. It's like saying the internet was no new thing because there were global networks (e.g. of companies like IBM) before. That would be correct in one aspect (global network), but so wrong on so many other levels.

  • Software developers have optimized their multiplayer games to only transfer the necessary information, and leaving the less important stuff to the rest of the clients. Thats why up to 5 people can play FPS online games at the same time without problems at my house (only 700KBit up/2.5MBit down DSL). With this technology that would be reduced 1 or at most 2 (estimate based on my experience with streaming movies). Who will pay the server that creates content in high quality based on complex calculations and
  • They claim: We are not using any out-of-the-box virtualization, it's all custom built by our team for this purpose., or and similarly that its their own custom operating system (specifically so that the photoshop demo is a single window)

    The company was formed in November 2008.

    So, seriously: nothing unbelievable about that? I'd be wondering whose software they are really using there, because the development timescale doesn't add up. If they'd said nothing or said it was off-the-shelf tech that would be a bit

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