Read this article about cloud computing in respect to the gaming industry this morning. David Perry, famed game developer, explains about how gaming industry is heading on a very "clear" path, moving from cassette/floppies to optical media to physical hard drives and ultimately into the cloud. He is now founder of Gaikai.com, a website that lets you play premium 3D games just using your web browser.
Very interesting service, I must say. Does this mean that we don’t need to ever upgrade our computer to play the latest game? Does this mean that we can play resource consuming Crysis2 using old computer, as long as it can run flash or java?
I think there are some challenges that have to be addressed in order for the concept to work, such as:
- Performance: Can we really play latest game without having performance issue? is there any limitation as to how high can we push the settings? I assume that there will be limitation, or otherwise everyone would want to crank to the highest settings. This is not a bad thing if your server farms can handle it.
- Connection: How reliable the connection to the server will be? Will we be disconnected from time to time? What’s the minimum connection speed requirement?
- Latency: If we play online, means that we need to add connection latency between our computer to the server. If he says that there will be zero latency, that’s Bull. Try playing online game, while your sister is watching youtube or your roommate is downloading torrent, i bet you will see your latency spiking up. This issue will definitely exists, but the question is how good/bad it will be?
- Server: How reliable and scalable is their server farm? How many users can they handle? What happens if one of the server fails, what is the contingency plan? This is important, especially for gaming, as it needs a big amount of computing resources and you don’t want to lose any of your gaming data.
- Integration: Any special requirements for games to be able to be played on the platform? If the answer is yes, then they’re in a big trouble.
- Licensing: Can they have only one game license per server to be used by many users?
I doubt that they can completely overcome the above challenges (at least not in near future), but I do hope that they can be successful on their platform. If they can overcome the above challenges up to the point where its acceptable by the masses, what would happen to the gaming card industry?