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OnLive and Gaikai — How To Stop a Gaming Revolution 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-in-this-corner dept.
happierr writes "The gaming industry has been struggling in the last few months, and it is about to struggle even more when OnLive and Gaikai launch later this year. The new services are both a step in the right direction to counter piracy and provide easily-accessible gaming to people with low-end PCs. They might even do for PC gaming what the Wii did for casual gaming; greatly expand the market and draw interest from people who would not ordinarily play games. The services are a real threat for the Big Three video game companies (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo). How will they combat these revolutionary services? There are a few steps that the Big Three are taking to combat the New Two, such as an increased reliance on peripherals and vision cameras, exclusivity deals, and more online multiplayer features, which OnLive and Gaikai will have a hard time matching."
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OnLive and Gaikai — How To Stop a Gaming Revolution

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  • Not likley (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @07:31AM (#29001553)

    Ok so your ISP has low latency in itself. That is not impressive. I have a regular DOCSIS2 cable modem here in the US. Not fibre, no special new technology. However, I get pings on the range of 10-30ms to other Cox customers, and Cox sites in my state. That's wonderful... But it doesn't hold up when I have to start traversing longer distances. For example going to Google, well now I'm up to 50-60ms. Google is pretty quick, since near as I can tell it is a datacentre in a neighboring state that I'm going to, and there is a direct connection from Cox to Google. How about something over on the East Coast, say Juno, an East Cost ISP? That is more like 80-100ms. All that and I'm still in my country, still on my continent.

    Now please remember that my numbers, like yours, are all minimal network pings. These are extremely fast. The actual latency for an application can often be higher since more processing has to be done and you have larger payloads.

    The upshot is that you only tend to have these awesome low pings to things that are very close to you both in network terms and physical terms. In your country, maybe everything is physically close. That's not the case in the United States. My city is 100 miles away from the next major city, and that 100 miles is filled with a lot of nothing. You could fit most nations in my state with room to spare and it isn't the largest one.

    So, while you could get low latencies, potentially, by sticking servers in lots of ISPs, and in lots of geographic locations, that just isn't really feasible. Barring that, there is no way you are going to have super low latencies. Sorry. There aren't magic technologies out that that people are just holding back. A large part of it is simply router speed. It takes time for a router to get a packet, figure out where it is going to go, and send it out. Every router adds a little bit of time, and unless you want to have a giant mesh with all nodes connected to all other nodes, there's going to be a lot of routers in the middle.

    With longer distances, the speed that data travels through the lines itself becomes a factor. While light speed sounds really fast, it really isn't on the scale of the Earth and the time scale of data. Assuming you had an ideal vacuum situation, a beam of light can go around the Earth in about 133ms. So, even as fast as it could possibly be, we are still talking perceptible lag at long distances.

    This gets worse since we don't have ideal conditions. For one, optical fibre has a higher index of refraction than a vacuum. This means that light travels slower through it. It goes maybe 2/3rds c in good fibre. Then there's the fact that fibre doesn't run in nice straight lines to its target. It goes around and over obstacles, it follows roads, rails and so on, it goes in and out of buildings and so on. You end up having a longer run than an "as the crow flies" situation.

    So no matter what you do, you are going to have latency when dealing with distances, and at long distances it isn't going to be trivial. The routers are going to add latency, the cable is going to add latency, translations from one form to another will add latency, and so on.

    Thus the only way to have ultra low latency is to be close physically and through the Internet to your target. This is not always feasible.

  • Re:Latency (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr. Vage (1084371) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @08:21AM (#29001701)

    You post anonymously because you know not of what you speak.

    Latency Compensating Methods in Client/Server In-game Protocol Design and Optimization [valvesoftware.com]

  • Re:Latency (Score:3, Informative)

    by LordVader717 (888547) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @09:39AM (#29002017)

    It has nothing to do with using copper wires. The signals travel at close to the speed of light, for both copper wires and optical fibre. The latency has much more to do with the infrastructure. Packet switching, QOS, and shared capacity for ISPs. Basically, it's what makes the internet the internet.
    A few Arcade machines had direct telephone lines to central servers for "online" play, and that dealt with lag effectively. But nothing short of a internet revolution could bring it down to that kind of responsiveness.

  • Re:Latency (Score:5, Informative)

    by stjobe (78285) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @12:01PM (#29002911) Homepage

    The US has, bar none, the best medical care in the world.

    Well, I've seen this touted before, and as then I feel obliged to point out that e.g. the WHO disagrees:

    The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study). The WHO study has been criticized in a study published in Health Affairs for its methodology and lack of correlation with user satisfaction ratings. A 2008 report by the Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among the 19 compared countries. However, the U.S. also has higher survival rates than most other countries for certain conditions, such as some less common cancers. Yet, the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than all other developed countries. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the United States is the "only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage" (i.e. some kind of assurance).

    And more:

    Medical debt is the principal cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

    (source: wikipedia [wikipedia.org], of course, emphasis mine).

  • Re:Latency (Score:3, Informative)

    by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday August 09, 2009 @11:22PM (#29007393)

    The US has, bar none, the best medical care in the world.

    That's why the US at the top of this graph [flickr.com]. Oh wait...

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