Cloud gaming? The swan song of indoor consoles?

Posted on 06/17/2010


Once upon a time there were what people named cloud computing. Cloud computing was and still is a concept which allows our data and applications not to be forced to live in a local machine but in a cloud. A cloud composed of interconnected distant servers. Guess what, we could get access to our documents from all computers, we could play our favorite music play-list in boring parties. All we need is a connection to internet and a computer. Could this magical cloud be able to make us play our favorite game everywhere without having to store data or to buy memory card or even consoles? Onlive says yes I can! Ok, Onlive can but what is behind this « can »? One year ago, Onlive promised to the gamers freedom. Freedom what a big word! Let’s say that with him, gamers will be instantly connected to the most popular game of the moment thanks to a simple internet connection. The program of games will run on a distant server thus allowing the gamers to without a performing computer or a last generation console. We could sum up this idea as a Game on demand without having to download the game. But it is not only that, in fact the main aim of Onlive is to allow the gamers with only a screen, a joystick and an adapter to decode the incoming video stream. All the graphical aspects will be generated by the servers, all we will need is a screen, it can be your TV screen, your laptop screen or your Ipad. No high-end hardware required, just the pleasure to play instantly. The player don’t need to spend fortune to keep up-to-date, its Onlive which will update its servers. What about the risk of piracy? If we are in this model, everything is found on a server, therefore the risk of piracy is 0. The gamer can’t lend or sell again a game. Editors won’t be paid anymore on the number of copies but on the amount of time gamers will spend on a game. Let me think two seconds, old games still knowing success which we usually find on the second-hand market will continue to generate money fort the editor. Interesting for them…

Today, 17 June, Onlive is launched the platform of Onlive after 8 years of hard work. The Californian start-up in partnership with AT&T offers one year of free subscription for the first members. Then they will pay $4.95/month. The normal price will be $14.95/month. For this price Onlive hosts, execute and transport in streaming directly on your PC and later on your television with the help of the Microconsole adapter. Onlive proposes for the moment 9 games: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman : Arkham Asylum, Borderlands, Dragon Age : Origins, Just Cause 2, Mass Effect 2, NBA 2K10, Prince of Persia : The Forgotten Sands, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction . But 10 other games will be soon put online. This project is supported by most editors but for its success there is the crucial need of a very good infrastructure of high-speed internet and a powerful network of servers. Onlive insures that thousand of servers will be installed on the American territory in partnership with Dell. Onlive will have to take up a great technical challenge and this is the main obstacle of their project. Is cloud gaming announcing the end of consoles? I won’t go that far but if you want to play games without having to buy a console, well this service is for you.

Concurrence comes from Gaikai and Otoy. A little birdie told me, if it is a success traditional actors like Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and even Google will come in the game.

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Want to know more about:

Onlive provides the world’s highest performance Games On Demand service, instantly delivering the latest high-end titles over home broadband Internet to the TV and entry-level PCs and Macintosh® computers.

Check also their blog

Gaikai is a cloud-based gaming technology that allows users to play major PC and console games like Call Of Duty or World Of Warcraft instantly, with one click. No download or install required.

Otoy moves everything into cloud. Computer applications, operating system, video games, High Definition media content – all available on demand over the internet.

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