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Cloud The Internet United Kingdom Games

BT Gets Exclusive Rights To OnLive In the UK 128

Posted by timothy
from the stick-with-myst-in-the-sticks dept.
arcticstoat writes "UK telecoms firm BT has signed a deal with cloud-gaming firm OnLive, which gives BT exclusive UK rights to bundle the OnLive Game Service with its broadband packages. Although OnLive will also offer its service directly in the UK, BT (and PlusNet, which is also owned by BT) will be the only ISP allowed to offer the service. UK gamers will need a connection that can cope with the bandwidth demands too, which is a concern when so many UK homes don't have access to fast broadband. Speaking to Thinq, BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming. This will effectively rule out the use of the HD service in areas of the country that can only get a 2Mb/sec connection. BT plans to start trials of the system in the UK later this year, and plans to launch the service in 2011 or 2012."
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BT Gets Exclusive Rights To OnLive In the UK

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  • WTFBT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @04:17AM (#32205006)

    They throttle their connections all day on weekdays and weekends. Torrents are throttled 24/7. Video streaming is also now throttled in my area.

    At 6pm when I get back from work I get about 0.2Mb/s. 9pm.. 0.4. If they start giving onlive packets priority I am going to get really, really pissed off. (I live in a shared house with no say on the net connection). If they can't actually offer the service they are selling now, how the hell can they start bundling more shit without fucking over more of their customer base?

    Their service is shakey and has a horrible proprietary router. Most ISP's in the UK buy their wholesale service off them so you actually don't really have a choice since they own all the lines and exchanges.

  • Re:cue the skeptics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Friday May 14, 2010 @05:14AM (#32205260)

    But it isn't just 20km of wire. Just getting to the Manchester backbone (10 miles away) for my ISP needs 4 hops and has a latency of 20ms (0.02 s). Getting to the web page for Manchester university routes the packets through London, and uses 17 hops and is about 30ms latency.

    Just the process of compressing the video for the client will add latency. You can't squish an HD frame instantly. You can't decode it instantly either. While analogue TV was still broadcast in my region, you could flick between digital and analogue and the digital always lagged behind - yes, it was buffered, but that's a necessary consequence of the technology.

    Even if they are setting up the video rendering servers in the local exchange - which assumes a ridiculous amount of competence - you are talking about adding between 2 and 5 Mbit/s of traffic per client. The local loop of copper wire can only accommodate a certain amount of traffic for a given pool of customers - your contention ratio is based on this fact.

    So ; twitch gaming is right out. In fact, the only kind of game this would work well for would be high-latency games like World of Warcraft, strategy games, etc. In other words, the kind of games for which you don't exactly need a stellar rendering setup anyway.

    It's really offensive from an engineering viewpoint as well. All the same components have to be there (game client computer with expensive GPU, game server, internet connection to carry multiplayer messages), but you have to add an extra computer (the "thin" client), add extra messages across the network for the controller, and of course, pipe a video stream across the internet instead of a monitor cable. It's just not efficient. Even if the service is pitched at casual gamers who can't be bothered to install a game and want instant gratification, it will be equally damaging to all the other customers on that network because they have to share their bandwidth with people streaming HD video.

    I'm actually really glad that BT has signed them up exclusively because I'm on cable - thanks guys... you just saved my ISP from shooting themselves in the foot with this crap.

  • I am in their beta (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pitdingo (649676) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:05AM (#32205718)
    The service has been pretty flawless for me. I have been in the beta for almost a month now and the performance is unreal. I have no idea how it works, but it does. I have a 12Mb connection with Comcast outside of Philadelphia.
  • Re:cue the skeptics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Svartalf (2997) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:12AM (#32206182) Homepage


    I'm skeptical because of the brutal NUMBERS involved with this silly thing. In order for it to actually be remotely usable, you need to account for just how many people you can jam onto the pipe and there's this fixed peak value (which you MUST observe or things do go to hell in a handbasket immediately...) that is 1.5 mbits/sec for 640x480 type (SD) resolution and 5 mbits/sec for 1024x768 (HD) type resolution.

    For SD resolutions, you can do...

    30 people peak at T3 data rates.
    103 people peak at OC-3 data rates.
    414 people peak at OC-12 data rates.
    1666 people peak at OC-48 data rates.
    6000 people peak at OC-192 data rates.

    Remind yourselves that this is SD resolution for starters. People drubbed the Wii for running with that resolution and while it was the runaway seller, there's a cruel reality with it all as well. The industry's used to having numbers like 250k sold as being only so-so as a run and a million plus as GoTY levels of sales. 6k's a paltry number of people to run with in a given area- and OC-192's are "godlike" bandwidth, not even remotely cheap ($20k/mo would be on the low-end of the pricing on that...), and it's all you can hope for for SD levels of resolution for a minimally credible number of people using the service. Putting it with the ISP is an entertaining direction that some will take it- especially in light of the above numbers basically choking off the pipe to the point that you're better off picking 3/4ths those numbers to ensure you've a smidge of headroom so you don't start losing traffic as the congestion algorithms beat you all to hell. They're already bitching about things like bittorrent, video-on-demand, and sites like Google...

    It can't be fixed in a manner that'd scale well. And if anyone did these off the cuff calculations of things would see that it's not going to work. If you knew anything about how TCP/IP networking worked you'd end up with the same conclusions.

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney