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Networking The Internet Games

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

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 @05:58PM (#28588957)

    Sell out?

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

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

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:02PM (#28588979)
    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 if they managed to turn out a decent product).

  • Re:Next step (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:10PM (#28589033)
    How about a company trying to do all this. The answer is MS, a company with a wad of cash and markets for this (Halo on a Zune?).
  • No hacking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:21PM (#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!

  • Re:this is DRM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WillyWanker ( 1502057 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:28PM (#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:5, Interesting)

    by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:31PM (#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?

  • by hofmny ( 1517499 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @06:49PM (#28589227)
    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 for the night. You bring up your laptop, and can once again resume your PS2 RPG.

    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)
  • by WillyWanker ( 1502057 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @08:04PM (#28589581)
    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.
  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @08:18PM (#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 Sparton ( 1358159 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @09:53PM (#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.

  • by chonglibloodsport ( 1270740 ) on Sunday July 05, 2009 @10:40PM (#28590349)

    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?

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson