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Cloud Graphics Games

NVIDIA GeForce GRID Cloud Gaming Acceleration 56

Vigile writes "NVIDIA today announced a new technology partnership with Gaikai, an on-demand gaming company that competes with OnLive, to bring GeForce GRID to the cloud gaming ecosystem. GRID aims to increase both the visual quality and user experience of cloud gaming by decreasing latencies involved in the process — the biggest hindrance to acceptance for consumers. NVIDIA claims to have decreased the time for game stream capture and decode by a factor of three by handling the process completely on the GPU, while also decreasing the 'game time' with the power of the Kepler GPU. NVIDIA hopes to help both gamers and cloud streaming companies by offering 4x the density currently available and at just 75 watts per game stream. The question remains — will mainstream users adopt the on-demand games market as they have the on-demand video market?"
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NVIDIA GeForce GRID Cloud Gaming Acceleration

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  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @09:33PM (#40012371)

    Not as long as Comcast controls my bandwidth.

    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zaelath ( 2588189 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @10:14PM (#40012595)

      Cloud assumes bandwidth is free... they assume incorrectly. It might be cheap in US markets, but it's never free.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Cloud assumes bandwidth is free

        Agreed. It also assumes that latency is faster than a typical satellite Internet connection.

        • by dkf ( 304284 )

          Cloud assumes bandwidth is free

          Agreed. It also assumes that latency is faster than a typical satellite Internet connection.

          So why are you considering it at all? Or is it something that's being sold to someone else? After all, why would every product or service be suitable for everyone...

          • The fear is that certain major publishers will make even their single-player games exclusive to these cloud gaming services, leaving people living outside the service area of wired broadband without games to play.
      • Hmm. I wonder if this is why the industry keeps pushing cloud computing...
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @09:46PM (#40012449)

    I have to say, some of their comparisons seem... unfair.

    Their main chart compares three things: regular "console connected to display", "current cloud systems", and "GRID cloud rendering".

    First off, they cite 66ms latency just at the display level, which is definitely at the higher end of the spectrum. But at least they use the same latency in each.

    Their cloud/cloud comparisons are also quite suspicious. Reducing encode by 60%, yeah, I can buy that. Reducing *decode* - which, I remind you, is done client-side - by the same amount is also suspicious in light of their "this does not require an nVidia client, it will work with any h.264 decoder" claim.

    Then they claim to have reduced network latency, and significantly (75ms to 30ms). Now, I can vaguely see how they *could* - if they can reduce bandwidth usage significantly, they might eke out a bit less latency, but I highly doubt they can more than *double* their compression efficiency. Unless they're doing something crazy like putting a network interface directly on the GPU (one image they show contradicts that theory), I think this claim is also pretty dubious.

    The worst one is the "game pipeline" time. While I can believe that a newer, more powerful graphics card can definitely perform *twice* as well as an older one, I can also state definitively both that "you can put that new card in the home console as well" and "new games will expand to use that power, leaving you back where you started at 100ms render times". The former I can state because they've *already* released Kepler-based cards (to rave review, although my own seems to be backordered); the latter I can state because that's how the industry has worked since at least the late 70s.

    Long story short, they seem to be doing some *extremely* unscientific, biased comparisons. Do they probably have something here? Yeah. Is it literally going to be as good as an actual console (or better yet, PC) connected directly to the console, as they claim? No.

    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      They claim massive improvements by doing video encode on GPU, but the competition (OnLive) does their encoding in dedicated fixed-function hardware anyhow, which I'd imagine would be faster than a GPU...

    • Particularly since for a given encoding technology, more bits means more quality. So if you cut the bitrate in half, sorry quality will suffer. I don't give a shit how good your encoder is, you don't get it for free. I've used x264 to reencode stuff with the quality settings cranked and I'll say it does a very good job, but there is still no mistaking a reduced bitrate stream for what it is.

      This is one big problem Onlive has, and things like this will always have until there are stupid levels of bandwidth a

    • by MogNuts ( 97512 )

      Good post. Very unlike most ./ posts, which is a good thing.

      disclaimer (not directed at you gman): don't read this post if ur a typical /.'er who likes to repeats BS memes and also only posts stupid knee-jerk reaction whining comments. And posted now from my own account.

      i havent tried gakai. no idea how it runs. but i tried onlive. it does actually work. really well actually. the only complaints i've found:

      1) the game is playable over a higher latency/slower wi-fi connection. if u want the best though, you

  • I sincerely hope not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @09:51PM (#40012469) Homepage

    Movies are not games. With movies, you often tend to watch once in a few hours and then not touch again, so services like Netflix are much more efficient. You also don't need powerful hardware to run movies in real time or stream them.

    Games need hardware, they need good latency, but most of all games are fundamentally different from movies. You're interacting with the game, often for extremely long stretches of time. I can't seriously think for a second that services like Gaikai or OnLive would be cheaper than buying the game straight away, unless you're uncertain you'll be playing much. I can see them being good demo-like services, but not full-blown gaming services.

    Finally, there's one critical element that makes PC gaming, which is what's targeted by these services primarily, unique: the games can be modified. Mods have breathed life into games that deserved it, fixed games that were broken, improved games to perfection, kept games alive for years. They're the one thing that PC gaming has as a crucial advantage over just about any other (closed) model. You can't mod Gaikai games. Say goodbye to those amazing Half-Life 2 or UT2004 mods.

    Oh yeah, and say hello to gatekeepers getting to choose which games are available. Dominance of streaming game services would be bad news for indie developers, since hardware would slowly get deprecated and not replaced. With the current market, you don't have to be on Steam to be competitive; the Humbe Bundle more than proves that.

    I really hope this won't happen. We don't need more centralization than we already have.

    • I completely agree. Games are not something you play for 2 hours and never look back. Large game distributors would the only ones to benefit. I can see it being used in other ways though. Using multiple machines with a capable GPU could be pooled to speed up graphics for "the geek that has everything".

    • by LocalH ( 28506 )

      Finally, there's one critical element that makes PC gaming, which is what's targeted by these services primarily, unique: the games can be modified.

      That's not unique to PC gaming, in fact I'm pretty sure there are people modding current-gen console games, and I know for a fact people mod games for previous generations (I myself have hacked Sega Genesis games and also hack around on Guitar Hero II on the PlayStation 2). There hasn't been a single generation of gaming consoles that's not been hacked or modded in some way regarding the software running on the system.

      • There hasn't been a single generation of gaming consoles that's not been hacked or modded in some way regarding the software running on the system.

        Not even Nintendo 3DS? Or did I miss something?

        • by LocalH ( 28506 )

          Ok, I missed that one. My out is that I said "gaming consoles" and not "handheld gaming systems".

          Yeah, a bit weak. Still, outside of the 3DS, my point stands. Even the Vita can at least run PSP homebrew.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        Hacking console games requires hardware changes and software development skills, modding a PC games requires running the map editor that came installed with the game.

        • by LocalH ( 28506 )

          Hacking Guitar Hero II on the PS2 requires no hardware modification and no programming skill.

          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            Then perhaps we have a different interpretation of what the word "hacking" means.
            Could you please explain what you did with Guitar Hero II?

            • by LocalH ( 28506 )

              It is possible to make custom note charts and import custom audio, modify all of the text, modify many of the settings of the game engine, and modify most of the graphics. It's also possible to do advanced stuff like altering the UI flow but that is a little closer to requiring actual programming skill (I myself have done this to the two existing GH2 demos in order to unlock menus that were locked away). None of this requires touching the main game executable (with the exception of the hack I developed to m

    • and say hello to gatekeepers getting to choose which games are available.

      Except people like CronoCloud would claim that gatekeepers are a good thing. Nobody wants a thousand hello-world falling block clones or hello-world Pong clones, and nobody wants a thousand sophomoric games about crudely having sex. A flood of me-too knockoffs and porn games is believed to have caused the video game market to go into recession in the early 1980s.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        nobody wants a thousand sophomoric games about crudely having sex.

        Yeah, well, that's, like, your opinion, man.

    • Actually it wouldn't even be good for demos, because both the Windows appstore as well as many games on Steam have free demos as well and the steam sales would make it cheaper just to buy the game on sale than to pay for the bandwidth.

      I think the BIG mistake all these 'cloud" services are making is thus: They all assume that the bandwidth costs plus the service will be less than just buying the game, yet as we have seen all the ISPs seem to be heading straight into caps and many have frankly crazy overage c

    • by Ndkchk ( 893797 )
      You're seeing cloud gaming as a replacement for PC gaming, which it really isn't. It's more of a replacement for console gaming, which just happens to take place on a computer - or, in some cases, on a smartphone. This is awesome because it lets someone play the new games without the initial costs: they don't have to buy a fancy graphics card or a PS3. Sure, it doesn't have a lot of the upsides of PC gaming, but it's not trying to.
    • Sure, there are some downsides to this, and not everybody wants cloud gaming - on the other hand, there are a lot of benefits. For example, you don't need to upgrade your graphics card every few years to play the latest games with the best quality settings. Consoles could keep up with state-of-the-art graphics, and PC games that arrive late in the console cycle won't be dumbed down so that they look the same between the PC and consoles. Going to a LAN party? Leave your desktop at home; bring a small portabl

  • cable VOD has control lag and some times get overloaded.

    Now if they can install systems at your local cable headend then that can cut down on the lag.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @10:44PM (#40012745) Journal

    I predict that "GRID Cloud Gaming" will end up being mainly a way to make gaming more expensive. Somehow, someway, it's going to mean paying more to get the same product - with extra DRM goodness.

    Now, I say that without reading the article or knowing one thing about GRID or clouds or what's required to decode...whatever it is they're trying to decode.

    And that does not reduce my confidence in my prediction one bit. Nor does it reduce the probability that it is absolutely correct.

    • by LocalH ( 28506 )

      This is really the ultimate in DRM as far as I'm concerned. You don't actually get the game binaries, nor is your own hardware even running the game code. This is "streaming gaming", where it's essentially a virtual monitor cable and input device connection, across the Internet, to a remote system that is actually running the game.

      Do game developers really want their games to be lost to history when they're not offering authentication, or in this case keeping the massive server farm it would require just fo

      • So what you're saying is that this "GRID cloud gaming" will allow us to pay more for what isn't even the same product and is in fact considerably less than the same product.

        God, I love innovation.

        • by lannocc ( 568669 )
          You're just not seeing the appropriate market differentiation: casual gamers (like myself) would gladly pay more for each use and enjoy a decent gaming service without investing in serious hardware. The article states this implementation sends down a simple H.264 stream, so even Raspberry Pi units could potentially make use of this! I can see it useful in a hosted retail environment (cafe/lab) or offered by a regional network provider (where latency can be controlled).
          • You're just not seeing the appropriate market differentiation: casual gamers (like myself) would gladly pay more for each use

            That would be fine, Shawn, if it did not also mean that serious PC gamers will lose out big time. We will increasingly be pushed to using "cloud gaming" instead of installing software on our own machines. Then, we'll all be pushed into these "pay as you go" games where the purchase of a $60 game only gets you a coupon to a never-ending, continuous stream of purchases for DLC, in-ga

      • by MogNuts ( 97512 )

        You're thinking is short-sided and reactionary. Thank god Nvidia isn't like that.

        Kudos to Nvidia actually. It's brilliant. They are developing this technology because quite frankly, this is the future. Remember using ray-tracing in games? They can use a whole farm of this stuff and develop fantastic graphics. Not only that, but the fact that they are developing it means they want to sell it. See where this is going? Consoles. I wouldn't be surprised a streaming component (onlive-like) was released on the ne

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I predict that "GRID Cloud Gaming" will end up being mainly a way to make gaming more expensive.

      The goal is to take high-performance computing devices out of the hands of citizens. Having them pay for it is just a bonus.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cloud gaming is idiotic in the first place, it adds input lag, sends a video stream back to a decoder then renders it on a monitor. A pc or a console takes out the network lag and does the same thing with usually higher quality since you don't have to worry about stream bit rates over a network. So it still requires basically the same hardware, maybe less video card, but you add input lag, dependance on network bandwidth and latency, and another monthly fee (which ends up costing more then a decent video

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So now, they have an excuse to shove the always online DRM down our throats.

  • webM has it on their roadmap only. AT the very bottom

    http://www.webmproject.org/code/roadmap/ [webmproject.org]

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:27AM (#40014519)

    on-demand games market

    Seriously, I hate seeing the PC become prostituted and sold short. I've watched its decline since last century, where it has gone from number-crunching powerhouse to (almost) just a dumb terminal. Why bother getting a PC at all under these conditions? Let's go back to coin-operated video games. I'm sure the "market" will love that. Except of course it's going to cost you much more than $0.25 per go this time. $10 bills only.

  • Why in god's name is NVIDIA working to eviscerate their market?

    A few dozen clusters of high-power processors is far less profitable than 100,000,000 almost-as-powerful game cards.

    Where do they think the money to develop future 3D card advancements will come from once home computers turn into dumb video terminals?

    • by MogNuts ( 97512 )

      The bulk of Nvidia's revenue comes from low cost cards. Think laptop, low-end discrete desktop, and in the future, the Tegra platform. So it's not being profitable from your 680 or 670 flagships. So that eliminates your entire premise to begin with.

      Not only that, but the money is *always* in OEM's and volume shipments. It's always in enterprise. Why do you think every computer manufacturer focuses on the enterprise? Why do you think HP dumped its consumer biz to focus on its profitable enterprise even thoug

    • you obviously have never been involved in any enterprise class hardware or software purchasing decisions
      to summarise: licensing, licensing, licensing....

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann