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Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 15:16 UK

Taking gaming into the 'cloud'

Developer Dave Perry on getting gamers plugged into the 'cloud'

For anyone involved with the technology industry, the phrase "cloud computing" has been hard to escape recently.

The central idea behind it is for users, be they people or companies, to put information and programs into giant data centres that they access via the web.

While many firms touting cloud technologies for businesses and individuals have got start-up funding, some feel that the cloud may also be the way forward for the gaming industry.

When processor-intensive graphic rendering is done in the cloud and streamed to a home computer, gamers could play the latest and greatest games whether they had a powerful machine or not.

Dave Perry, the man behind games such as Enter the Matrix and Earthworm Jim, told Click that he believes in the distant future all video games will be fully online and cloud-based.

Clouds
Perry predicts cloud gaming will be the norm one day

He was at the E3 conference to push his idea to put servers in cities around the world to enable gaming enthusiasts to access titles with just a browser.

The cloud would appeal to the "hard core gamer" who wants the ability to pick up where they left off in a game, no matter where they were.

In countries with lower broadband speeds, Mr Perry said that the servers would be used to enhance the user's experience.

"We looking at the processor and the internet connection and scaling everything according to their set up, so they can get the highest quality game experience based on their hardware," he said.

YOUR COMMENTS

I don't think the concept of cloud gaming will ever take off until there is substantial improvement in our broadband speeds.

I have been involved in the development of a cloud computing solution, and most of the complaints we got regarding user experience was almost always because of speed and reliability issues with our network.

It makes sense for game manufacturers today (especially of the MMORPG genres) to migrate their server infrastructure to a private cloud because of the dynamism and scalability it offers.

But I think it'll be several years till we see millions of users accessing high-end virtual machines to play their favourite games at a reasonable price.
Varun Abhiram, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

In my opinion, Mr. Perry's idea about cloud computing is the next step in future technology and a giant leap towards the future of quantum computing.

It's the same idea when Neil Armstrong first said about man reaching the moon. I like the idea that the CPU I have for my computer at home would no longer need servicing from me.

And it no longer needs expensive hardware upgrades since the CPU itself is on a central station where groups of specialists already do the upgrades and fixing for me.

I also agree about the idea of renting the software rather than paying the whole of it since latest version of software arrives too often.

It's a form of being economical when you pay only half the price of the computer goodies you buy.
Krizner Casicas, Manila, Philippines

Cloud gaming, like cloud computing - it will definitely have a prominent place in the future. However, neither cloud gaming nor cloud computing will replace the traditional gaming/computing experience.

One's local hardware, software, and data have specific advantages for tasks such as video editing, private info, and data availability when the cloud connection is down.

Only having an always-on ultra-high bandwidth environment with uncapped bandwidth and legally enforced data availability can make computing a substitute for local computing. Otherwise they will have to co-exist.
Walid El-Damouny, Beirut, Lebanon

An excellent idea and something I would definitely be interested in trying out. With the spread of broadband worldwide this is becoming more and more possible.

If round trip times to these servers can be kept low enough, this will instantly negate the need for things like anti-piracy measures and bandwidth consuming updates and patches.
Chifundo Banda, Johannesburg, South Africa

Cloud gaming is a truly fantastic idea. It would allow game developers to make high-spec games without fear of bottlenecks on individual machines standing in the way of higher volume sales. Plus, gamers wouldn't have to shell out for new hardware nearly so often.
Matt E, Redcar

I think a hybrid model with some of the content residing in the cloud and some on the local client is more likely (similar to the Steam project).

I doubt the games console and PC hardware manufacturers will be rushing to adopt a model like this, and it doesn't really make sense given the power and performance of client hardware now available (and the type of client hardware that will be available in the future).

The games market will continue to be dominated by the PC and the console for many years, with the cloud being a complementary service to this model rather than a replacement.
Kenny Lang, Larbert, UK

Even if you had an internet connection fast enough and stable enough to stream the more demanding games titles, you'd still need a good enough graphics card which will set you back well over £100 for the modern high-end games.
Zack

Being an avid gamer myself I think this would not be the way forward for the truly hardcore gamers.

A true enthusiast would like to build and maintain his own hardware and not be driven by an outside source where it's literally out of their control.

Nice Concept but has its downsides when servers crash or go offline due to maintenance.
Brom, Netherlands

I was never a big gamer until I bought a PS3 and now I wouldn't be without it. I love the fact that I have a console and a great library of games that I can physically connect to.

Plus I can trade games in when I have had my use out of them. This is something that you cannot do over networks as there is no re-sale potential, something that a lot of gamers favour as they can trade in old games for newer titles without the full expense.

Overall I prefer to see something for my money.
Will Flitcroft, Wolverhampton

Cloud Computing is an interesting concept. It can certainly make things easier for the end user but at what cost?

In a sense, cloud computing is the lazy way of managing your assets, by offloading them all to a well respected company who promises low rates of downtime and high accessibility.

Though in theory this should only be good, it's open to mass abuse and a new form of cyber attack.
Joshua Sugarman, Leeds, UK

A great idea, but would take a complete revamp of our internet backbone. With ISPs already charging a premium for bandwidth compared to other countries, I can't see how cloud gaming (or cloud anything) would realistically be put into practice.
Alex Fox, Studley, UK



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