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New Service Aims To Replace Consoles With Cloud Gaming 305

ThinSkin writes "Imagine playing bleeding-edge games, yet never again upgrading your hardware. That's the ambitious goal of OnLive's Internet delivered gaming service. Using cloud computing, OnLive's goal is to 'make all modern games playable on any system,' thanks in large part to OnLive's remote servers that do all the heavy lifting. With a fast enough Internet connection, gamers can effectively stream and play games using a PC, Mac, or a 'MicroConsole,' 'a dedicated gaming client provided by OnLive that includes a game controller.' Without ever having to worry about costly hardware upgrades or the cost of a next-gen console, gamers can expect to fork over about $50 yearly just for the service. If this thing takes off, this can spell trouble for gaming consoles down the road, especially if already-established services like Steam and Impulse join the fray."
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New Service Aims To Replace Consoles With Cloud Gaming

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  • Image bandwidth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yakumo.unr ( 833476 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:13AM (#27310603) Homepage
    How does cloud computing solve the CPU-GPU bandwidth issues of modern games? Gamers still want to see the game, and at ultra high rez & IQ.
  • by Turzyx ( 1462339 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:31AM (#27310811)
    At a modest resolution of 1024x768 and a playably smooth 25fps, we're talking 20Mbps bandwidth uncompressed. Adding compression to the mix will reduce the overhead sure, but seriously sacrifice the image quality. I don't believe the internet infrastructure could support more than even a handful of gamers in the same street playing lag free, not to mention being totally prohibitively expensive for those on metered or 'traffic shaped' broadband solutions. It's a nice idea (old) idea though.
  • by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:31AM (#27310819)

    I love how their network diagram in that article states "Low-latency HD video". As if it's a new technology. Wow, you have low-latency! I didn't even know that was out.

    This is a pipe dream until they can prove this works. I want to see physical tests, not PR.

  • Re:Caps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:37AM (#27310891) Journal

    No manner of compression will make up for the attempt to do this live. I think a 50MB/above connection might be realistic to keep things smooth, especially in high action scenes with lots of pixels changing every single frame.

    I could see: part of things being handled client side and part on the server side but then we just head back to online gaming.

    However, even a fiber optics line I'd have my doubts. That is, unless you want to play on a 640x480 screen all day or assume that your internet provider wouldn't packet shape this stuff down to a crawl below VOIP, as someone said a few replies down.

    Where I could see this working is in a LAN environment, make some kind of "xbox360server" to host all the games as basically virtual machines across a lan, etc. However, that obviously isn't cloud in the same sense.

  • Re:Image bandwidth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:54AM (#27311063) Journal

    How does cloud computing solve the CPU-GPU bandwidth issues of modern games? Gamers still want to see the game, and at ultra high rez & IQ.

    You mean like the Nintendo Wii?

  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toad3k ( 882007 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:01AM (#27311147)

    This doesn't sound as stupid to me. Obviously this wouldn't work well for something like an fps, but for something like an rpg, a casual game, a turn based game, some rts's? It would work fine. Secondly there is hardly any upfront cost. Essentially the hardware on your end would be 40 bucks including the controller. That is an amazingly low barrier to entry, considering you might have access to dozens or hundreds of games right off the bat. There will also never be any issues of backwards compatibility, every game will be playable for as long as the company feels like supporting it. There's no cheating, no red rings of death. The only real barrier right now is bandwidth, but for how long?

    I've been predicting this would happen eventually, much to the derision of others, but I didn't expect to see plans for another five years maybe.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:16AM (#27311337) Journal
    Depends on how dumb the front end is. Remote OpenGL is quite usable. OpenGL inherently has a client-server architecture. In the most common use, the server is on the graphics card and the client is on the CPU, but you can put the server on a different machine (and a lot of people do) and still get good performance. I ran GLQuake over a (shared) 10Mb/s network a few years ago and it performed quite well. This would work okay on the kind of asymmetric link you get at home, because you're pulling down lots of data (textures, geometry, and so on) but only sending up simple events (mouse moved, key pressed). If the client is just an X server supporting AIGLX with a decent local GPU, then this is feasible. The 'microconsole' could just be a simple *NIX system running X.org and a simple local app for connecting. X.org already runs on OS X and Windows, and so the same code could be used on all platforms.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:28AM (#27311469)

    As a brazilian, i'm proud to introduce to the slashdot comunity the first brazilian video game console, 100% online content distibution: http://www.zeebo.com.br . From Tectoy, former SEGA distibutor in Brazil.

  • Re:No No No! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:31AM (#27311499) Journal

    In other words this is RENTAL gaming, not ownership gaming. I prefer to own games, because I tend to play them for years and years (like Final Fantasy 7 or Pirates). Plus owning a game allows me to recover my money later on through the used market.

  • Re:Caps (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:43AM (#27311653)

    So what kind of servers would they be using to do good quality h.264 compression on a raw stream (plus audio) and not have it go blockly (ala cable/satellite when showing a live football match and the camera pans quickly)?

    Additionally I read somewhere 80% of people (in the UK at any rate) are on 2Mbps.

  • AWS, Azure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gcnaddict ( 841664 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:51AM (#27311729)

    Cloud computing as a whole is vaporware

    Amazon Web Services [amazon.com] and Windows Azure [microsoft.com] beg to differ.

  • Re:Caps (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PIBM ( 588930 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @01:23PM (#27314337) Homepage
    And I believe your blu-ray was still only 1920x1200... What will you do for those of us playing in 2560x1600, on two or three [pibm.ca] monitors, you insensitive clod!

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