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New Service Aims To Replace Consoles With Cloud Gaming

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the who-needs-new-hardware-anyway dept.

PC Games (Games) 305

ThinSkin writes "Imagine playing bleeding-edge games, yet never again upgrading your hardware. That's the ambitious goal of OnLive's Internet delivered gaming service. Using cloud computing, OnLive's goal is to 'make all modern games playable on any system,' thanks in large part to OnLive's remote servers that do all the heavy lifting. With a fast enough Internet connection, gamers can effectively stream and play games using a PC, Mac, or a 'MicroConsole,' 'a dedicated gaming client provided by OnLive that includes a game controller.' Without ever having to worry about costly hardware upgrades or the cost of a next-gen console, gamers can expect to fork over about $50 yearly just for the service. If this thing takes off, this can spell trouble for gaming consoles down the road, especially if already-established services like Steam and Impulse join the fray."

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Caps (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310561)

It's all fun and games (no pun intended) until you've been playing for a couple of hours and used up the whole of your monthly bandwidth allowance.

I know that some people have the option of truely unlimited service, but an awful lot don't and that puts this service out of their reach.

Re:Caps (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310581)

It's all fun and games (no pun intended) until you've been playing for a couple of hours and used up the whole of your monthly bandwidth allowance.

Or if you have your video games set up at a family party, away from the Internet entirely, and you don't think an air card or a tetherable data plan is worth $720 per year.

Re:Caps (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310609)

I'd be surprised if it got to that point. More likely it'll fail before it gets rolled out. I'm guessing vaporware.

But as far as that goes, I doubt that it's going to take that much more bandwidth than realtime HD streaming. Or in other words, depending upon how much gaming you do it may or may not be an issue.

Re:Caps (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310793)

Hmmm.

Anyone else reminded of The Phantom [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Caps (1)

erok2112 (1180109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310859)

Thats exactly what I thought too.

Re:Caps (5, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310891)

No manner of compression will make up for the attempt to do this live. I think a 50MB/above connection might be realistic to keep things smooth, especially in high action scenes with lots of pixels changing every single frame.

I could see: part of things being handled client side and part on the server side but then we just head back to online gaming.

However, even a fiber optics line I'd have my doubts. That is, unless you want to play on a 640x480 screen all day or assume that your internet provider wouldn't packet shape this stuff down to a crawl below VOIP, as someone said a few replies down.

Where I could see this working is in a LAN environment, make some kind of "xbox360server" to host all the games as basically virtual machines across a lan, etc. However, that obviously isn't cloud in the same sense.

Re:Caps (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311249)

You seem to be assuming that this service will stream VIDEO to your unit, but with TFA not being too clear on the subject, my guess is that they will stream just 'polygons' to their 'netconsole', which then displays them as video frames. The bandwith needed should be far smaller.

The biggest difference with mmorpgs is that mmorpg servers send program data to the client, who then does most of the calculations -the hard work- and displays the results.

Also, many slashdotters seem to assume that mmorpgs require a huge bandwith. I think that's wrong. As a well known example WoW was quite playable using a 512 Kb DSL connection.

As other posters have said before, the biggest problem with On-Live's approach is the lag, which is inherent to the Internets, and will continue so for the foreseeable future. Most mmorpg clients use lots of code and processing power just to minimize the effects of lag in the gameplay, with mixed fortunes (Go to Dalaran and ask anyone :)

Re:Caps (4, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311287)

However, even a fiber optics line I'd have my doubts.

Doing some quick calculations:

The highest number I've gotten for Blu-Ray maximum bandwidth is 54 megabits per second. I've seen torrents much smaller that still looked good.

Assuming uncapped, that's actually doable. Fiber is typically 100 mbits per second, and I'm sure some places offer gigabit.

However, encoding time is on the order of hours or days, and is certainly not live. So the real problem is latency -- take 50 ms from your LCD monitor, plus whatever a wireless controller ads, plus the latency between you and their servers, plus the lag for them to render, capture, and encode, then decode back at the client... that's easily getting up to 200 ms, which I'd consider unplayable.

Also, unless the $50/year includes games, it makes little economic sense, either. These systems are designed to last some four years or so. A Wii can be had for $160, according to a quick Google; this would be $200. A Wii can work when your Internet is down, or when your internet is not fiber. And a Wii actually has games already -- not as many as its competitors, but some.

Where I could see this working is in a LAN environment

Not really. LANs are typically 100 mbits, or if you're willing to spend money on a good switch, gigabit. Same situation as fiber.

The only advantage of a LAN is, with a good switch, you aren't using everyone else's bandwidth, but if you're proposing this:

make some kind of "xbox360server" to host all the games as basically virtual machines across a lan,

That's still likely to be a single port, which means now everyone on the LAN is limited to a combined 100 mbits for their video. It means the concept of a LAN party just got very, very impractical.

And WTF would be the point, if it's a console anyway? In what way is that "xbox360server" better than a real Xbox 360?

As for their "no piracy" claim, as a consumer, that doesn't make me want to sign up for the service. That makes me want to go far away, into the open arms of indie developers, who typically ship with reduced or no DRM.

Re:Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310699)

Absolutely. With ISPs (especially cable operators) in the US moving toward this model, this could spell trouble for a lot of the logical progress that is ready for take-off or already in early stages (cloud, online movies, etc.). "The network is the computer" isn't going to work too well if the I/O is going to be capped by the carrier.

Re:Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310851)

http://www.xkcd.com/ [xkcd.com] Yeah righhhht....

Re:Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311019)

Why would I want to fork over $50/year for a service that I can own outright for $250 (a Wii) and that I don't have to worry abut bandwidth caps, slow downloads, etc., and if I want to go on the net, I can surf the web, I can talk to other Wii owners (if they have the $25 Speak hardware that does voice recognition), I can lend my game disks to others, etc.

Re:Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311315)

The same people who rent games on Steam, I assume. (Yes, rent. You don't own your games on Steam.)

Re:Caps (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311391)

I certainly wouldn't be one to sign up for this, should it ever come to exist; but I can see why some people might. Two basic reasons: The first is upgrades. If you buy a piece of hardware, its specs stay constant, sooner or later, you'll need to upgrade. If the heavy lifting is on their end, the upgrades happen transparently. Also, in theory(if the ISPs don't strangle things) hardware centralization can yield cost savings(1,000 users need 1,000 Wiis; but each Wii only gets used a few hours/day. If centralized; you only need enough Wiis to cover peak load, or, if you get big enough, you commission a Wii server from nintendo, which is 8 Wiis in a 1U, or similar). If the cost savings are great enough, which I doubt; but I'm willing to entertain the possibility, then the notion becomes fairly attractive.

Re:Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311117)

It's all fun and games (no pun intended)

Except you did because you wrote it, previewed the comment then clicked the post button.

I could understand if you blurted it out in a spoken conversation but do you really need to waste our time with the "no pun intended" text on the internet when it's pretty obvious that the opposite is true?

Re:Caps (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311305)

It's all fun and games (no pun intended) until you've been playing for a couple of hours and used up the whole of your monthly bandwidth allowance.

Amen brother. Vodafone UK here, 3 Gb/mo for £20. Broadband is not an option because I move around a lot.

Ambitious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310577)

About as ambitious as the plot to Anti-Trust.

My predictions (2, Insightful)

Benanov (583592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310579)

The 'microconsole' will be hacked to have GNU/Linux and other FLOSS OSs installed within the first few weeks. Hardware geeks everywhere the device is offered sign up for a gaming service only to hack the subsidized hardware and then drop the subscription as soon as legally feasable. ...like every other time someone thought to subsidize commodity PC hardware (or something based upon it) with a subscription model.

Article also talks about "no piracy because it's not running locally."

That's cute, I suppose latency might be a real pain then?

Re:My predictions (3, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311245)

It sounds like the device would be a thin client. No local storage and little processing other than graphics, maybe not even local 3D rendering. The device can probably be so cheap that they wouldn't mind the small percentage of loss to hackers. At $50/year they're really charging for the servers and service much more than the client hardware.

Re:My predictions (2, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311285)

I guess the console will be rather low-end (and not have much in the way of mass storage), so it won't be all that attractive as replacement for a "real" computer. OTOH, it is probably cheap to make and has all the connectors required for a thin client in an office environment. So if the manufacturer sells the MicroConsole separately, that might be an interesting "alternative use".

No thanks (5, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310591)

Instead of normal online game lag, you have lag between you actually pressing a button and the game responding at the server.

Even a tiny amount in this situation would make the game 'feel' unresponsive.

Re:No thanks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310913)

Anyone that actually thinks this is viable is clearly a moron, the lag would make it totally unplayable.

This is just venture capital BS to fool the stupid non technical investors...

I'm surprised Slashdot are stupid enough to even pick up on it..

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311017)

Clearly you don't know diddly about games, and should hold off on your moron comment. It's easy to transfer and executable, however the large part of games are the resources (models, textures, sounds, and the like).

The server could stream your the main executables and the first level, then when you're close to the end of a level start streaming the next one and associated resources.

Re:No thanks (4, Informative)

Wovel (964431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311093)

Except that is not what it says... It says the server will do the lifting to a thin client. The server is not just streaming binaries to be rendered on the client, the server is receiving input from and return video to be displayed on the client.

I think Amazon sells crowbars to remove your foot from your mouth.

Re:No thanks (3, Funny)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311319)

"I think Amazon sells crowbars to remove your foot from your mouth."

...and I wonder if Amazon sell anything capable of removing your head from your arse.

Re:No thanks (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311427)

Hmm, how can you see where my head is while yours is so far embedded. I believe my response was totally appropriate to an AC who was being an ass and had clearly not even read the summary, let alone the actual article.

Your comment was just rudeness from a very small minded person.

Re:No thanks (3, Insightful)

Albio (854216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311143)

So they've transferred the executable to you. Great. Now where is your hardware to execute it?

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311191)

clearly you don't know diddly about anything, and that needs no supporting evidence.

Re:No thanks (2, Informative)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310977)

Instead of normal online game lag, you have lag between you actually pressing a button and the game responding at the server.

Not necessarily. A LOT of lcd computer monitors have 'input lag' of say 50ms (meaning the computer sends the image to the monitor but you don't see it for 50ms after that) whereas lcd tvs don't, and few people complain. Presumably if the game servers are co-located with the ISP you could get lag much smaller than that.

Re:No thanks (1)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311083)

Also in a normal online game the time you press the button at your end means nothing... what matters is when the button press event gets to the server. So as long as the rendering server is in the same line of hops (ie co-located with ISP) to the actual game server then you won't have any more than a couple ms extra lag.

So really I don't see lag as a real objection to this. I don't see bandwidth as a huge problem going forward either... lots of people already have fiber going to their house these days.

But it's still a dumb idea. ;-P

Re:No thanks (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311253)

There's a huge difference between a FPS and an MMO. There are a large chunk of gamers who didn't use wireless mice for a long time because of the input lag. There are those that still refuse to use some of these laggy LCDs for the same reason. You have to "play" the game before you can see it happen.

I remember being able to run through a Unreal tournament match and hit off head shots of moving targets because I could respond in a split second and had precise control. I was not able to reproduce that when I moved to a LCD monitor. It's not because my reaction time was decreased. Lag is a serious consideration for FPS games. It works well for MMOs because you aren't rocket jumping and popping off head shots while in mid air. Online shooters are a pain as well. I don't know how many times I've shot people to have nothing happen because their client doesn't agree or registered the shot differently.

Re:No thanks (1)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310987)

Done correctly, the delay could be on par with the delay inherent in the wiimote - which is noticeable to the observant- but completely doable.

now, of course, add the wireless controller delay AND the streaming delay and a problem does arise.

Some games would be more tolerant to this UI lag - but FPS and sim games would definitely be affected.

A plus side of this in respect to shooters and real-time action games, is that in a multiplayer environment all client data is server-side, making hacking much more difficult, and aim-bots and such practically impossible.

Was just discussing the feasibility of this not long ago actually: streaming a game experience to your system.

There are ways to mitigate the problem - like have your cockpit/gun view still client side, but stream the 3d world with a little extra visual data on the periphery.

Re:No thanks (1)

Albio (854216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311163)

Sim games would be affected? What kind of sim games?

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311467)

Driving sim. Flying sim. Whatever.

Re:No thanks (4, Interesting)

toad3k (882007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311147)

This doesn't sound as stupid to me. Obviously this wouldn't work well for something like an fps, but for something like an rpg, a casual game, a turn based game, some rts's? It would work fine. Secondly there is hardly any upfront cost. Essentially the hardware on your end would be 40 bucks including the controller. That is an amazingly low barrier to entry, considering you might have access to dozens or hundreds of games right off the bat. There will also never be any issues of backwards compatibility, every game will be playable for as long as the company feels like supporting it. There's no cheating, no red rings of death. The only real barrier right now is bandwidth, but for how long?

I've been predicting this would happen eventually, much to the derision of others, but I didn't expect to see plans for another five years maybe.

fast enough internet? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310593)

lagging in online games ruins it for me. If hooking a console up to a tv input card on your computer introduces too much lag, how can this possibly be playable?

Re:fast enough internet? (1)

MukiMuki (692124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311217)

A good TV card won't create substantial lag (e.g. it'll be playable without a noticeable change), especially if you're getting a raw stream instead of an encoded one. However, that doesn't change the fact that the lag on this service (you know, what with the INTERNET CONNECTION between your buttons and the action) will be astronomically higher.

Image bandwidth (4, Interesting)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310603)

How does cloud computing solve the CPU-GPU bandwidth issues of modern games? Gamers still want to see the game, and at ultra high rez & IQ.

Re:Image bandwidth (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311063)

How does cloud computing solve the CPU-GPU bandwidth issues of modern games? Gamers still want to see the game, and at ultra high rez & IQ.

You mean like the Nintendo Wii?

Re:Image bandwidth (1)

Albio (854216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311175)

Well, the summary does say it's for bleeding edge games.

Re:Image bandwidth (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311235)

How does cloud computing solve the CPU-GPU bandwidth issues of modern games? Gamers still want to see the game, and at ultra high rez & IQ.

I'd imagine it does all of the CPU-GPU processing off-site, so essentially your video game is just a streaming video that you can control. The quality won't be nearly as good.

I think this technology is rather pointless, my computer was mid-level 3 years ago and it still plays the newest games just fine. If the person saved that $50 a year and just upgraded their video card every 4 years they'd be fine. They could even buy a used version of what was the "latest and greatest" or with SLI buy a second video card (at a much lower price than the first.)

Re:Image bandwidth (2, Informative)

Wovel (964431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311279)

Even the summary says the games are rendered by the servers.... The article will tell you they have a proprietary compression algorithm, which will send compressed video for 480p at 1.5mbps and 1080p at 5mbps, and nothing higher...

I will tell you this all works great inside their offices, and probably not anywhere else on this planet.

Pfffft (0, Redundant)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310611)

Cloud gaming? Sounds like vaporware to me...

Re:Pfffft (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310871)

That's all clouds are, vapor.

some more hot air? (1)

bjoeg (629707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310615)

I recall to have heard stories like this years back regarding at least 2 other similar projects.

All of them ended up being nothing more than a story on the net and a alpha prototype on CeBit.

Sorry to say, I'll believe it when I see it in the wild.
Just like when Microsoft years back announced a new gaming platform in developement, where games worked on all types of machines and consoles regardless of their hardware (read Xbox, PS2, Mac and PC).

Been done before.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310617)

I have seen systems like this before, its nothing really new or interesting, seems like they simply took and old idea and slapped cloud computing on it to make it sound new and hip. The previous attempts that I have seen on this front all looked promising when they started, however once live, all failed miserably due to various system issues (Lag, wait times, copyright issues, technological issues, etc..).

If these guys can pull it off, kudos to them, and a job well done, but, I can't help but be a skeptic on this one.

No No No! (5, Insightful)

godfra (839112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310627)

Fuck the cloud! I don't want all my gaming delivered down the pipe as a metered "service". I like owning hardware, and having the ability to play games without being hooked up to a subscriber model.

Internet gaming is often subject to ISP drop-outs and traffic shaping. Why would I willingly embrace single-player gaming in the same poor environment?

Re:No No No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310765)

Well, step aside then. The next generation doesn't like big upfront costs. They prefer to be suckered in by no-money-down schemes which cost them the same or more in recurring payments. (Think credit card debt without credit cards and without ownership.)

Implementation details aside, turning products into services is all the rage. "Software as a service" it's called. Games have so far implemented it by moving crucial parts of the game into a server component which is operated by the publisher. There still used to be a client to install, but Quake Live (sort of) does away with that. This makes the service more available and by reaching a wider audience, generates more profit. The next logical step is to eliminate the local hardware requirement. As I said, implementation details aside...

Re:No No No! (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311449)

I don't want all my gaming delivered down the pipe as a metered "service". I like owning hardware, and having the ability to play games without being hooked up to a subscriber model.

The other shoe you're all waiting to hear drop sounds a lot like, "Get off my lawn!"

Sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310639)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_(game_system)

*whistles innocently*

Re:Sounds familiar... (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311331)

The phantom was a considerably different project that was actually a lot more plausible. The Phantom still intended to render and play downloaded games locally.

this project is like.. Hey that Phantom worked so well, lets take it one step further...

Whats my FPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310647)

Hey, great Idea! But, Does anyone else notice a problem with this? If all rendering is done on the servers, how fast of a framerate would you get from downloading each frame on a standard DSL/Cable connection?

To render a frame locally, it takes 1ms. To render and download a frame from the server, will take anywhere between 25ms to 250ms on a good connection. I say good luck with that.

This ain't South Korea (2, Insightful)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310667)

Internet broadband in North America is really pathetic in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world. Canada and the U.S. are falling rapidly behind in broadband penetration and performance.

How is this service supposed to work reliably in such an environment?

Re:This ain't South Korea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310897)

Gee, perhaps that has something to do with difference in land mass, you farking genius.

Re:This ain't South Korea (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311227)

No, it's the $200 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer that the telcos were supposed to use to build out broadband that they instead chose to bank.

Single Player only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310675)

This would be restricted to single player games huh? No way am I uploading that info and downloading a stream while also playing on a full 32 person server.

World of Warcraft (-1, Flamebait)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310697)

Exactly how is this difference from any of the MMORPG

Oh, I see, it is not a massive multiplayer game.

So basically this is a SPOG (Single Player Online Game)

Re:World of Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310771)

Except that you're waiting for the server to render your next frame. It will be like watching a youtube video that cuts out every few seconds to buffer.

Re:World of Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311215)

Yeah, you won't even get to watch people running in place when the server flakes out on you.

Re:World of Warcraft (3, Funny)

gazbo (517111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311199)

It is so utterly, utterly unlike an MMORPG that I can only assume that your comment was the result of a cat walking across the keyboard. I realise the probability of a cat hitting the keys necessary to compose such a message are vanishingly small, but I prefer to believe that over facing the possibility that people with such poor reading comprehension skills are allowed to use computers unsupervised.

Re:World of Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311369)

*whoooooooosh*

In case you didn't get that, that was the sound of sarcasm flying past you.

Re:World of Warcraft (1)

Sait-kun (922599) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311313)

The difference is huge, actually WoW could be played with this service the difference would be you can basically have an pc that is below the minimum requirements of the game and still play it on high end settings and a high resolution without any issues. That is the whole idea behind this, basically the game is run on a very high end pc then only the video is streamed to you so you move all the cpu, gpu, memory etc requirements to only bandwidth requirement. Of course this concept will have many issues to overcome one and most important one is to be able to ALWAYS be able to provide enough low latency bandwidth to you in order to keep the game lag free.

What is likely to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310701)

Once decent enough pipes hit a large enough audience, all PC's / Consoles simply become a thin client to the cloud. Piracy will be eliminated as there never will be any actual software distribution. You pay the monthly fee to get access to your game of choice, you have access. You don't? Sorry, no more access. Just a world full of dumb terminals

Re:What is likely to happen (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311271)

what if people make a pirated server that can be connected to for free, and play all the games for free?

How about user maps and mods and LAN play? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310731)

How about user maps and mods and LAN play?

talking about lag LAN play is still much better then on line play even if you have a low ping.

Graphics bottleneck... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310735)

If the far-end is doing all the "hard work", that makes the front-end nothing more then a dummy terminal. How on earth do they expect to stream that kind of imaging data to every console? It's a little differnt when it's TV and you're sending everyone the same thing. I can't even imagine how awful the latency will be. On consoles you don't notice it *as* much because it all looks real-time on your screen, even though you might be a half-secon behind the server, but with this, that delay would be translated on your screen. Imagine trying to navigate a map with complicated movements and every action you perform is lagged by a half second or more. It seems trivial, but it reality it would probably be very disorienting.

Re:Graphics bottleneck... (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311337)

Depends on how dumb the front end is. Remote OpenGL is quite usable. OpenGL inherently has a client-server architecture. In the most common use, the server is on the graphics card and the client is on the CPU, but you can put the server on a different machine (and a lot of people do) and still get good performance. I ran GLQuake over a (shared) 10Mb/s network a few years ago and it performed quite well. This would work okay on the kind of asymmetric link you get at home, because you're pulling down lots of data (textures, geometry, and so on) but only sending up simple events (mouse moved, key pressed). If the client is just an X server supporting AIGLX with a decent local GPU, then this is feasible. The 'microconsole' could just be a simple *NIX system running X.org and a simple local app for connecting. X.org already runs on OS X and Windows, and so the same code could be used on all platforms.

You can't stop progress! (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310781)

How much bandwidth does it take to stream down my extra 8 gigs of RAM and 2 gig Nvidia 198000 GTXZZZ video card to play the latest Cry engine games?

Re:You can't stop progress! (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311419)

So....

Now I have to ask my ISP if they have a subscrition plan that can run Crysis?
*confused*

Wait... (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310797)

They want me to pay $50 a year for it. Then they want me to pay for games separately (assuming Steam is supposed to join) via download. This sounds exactly like the current XBox model. What is different or revolutionary about this?

On top of that, the games already stretch the hardware to the limit, so where are we getting this extra computing power?

How do they exactly plan on getting over the graphics rendering and control response hurdles that do not respond well to lag let alone network lag.

This is fail. Next please.

Massive bandwidth requirements (2, Interesting)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310811)

At a modest resolution of 1024x768 and a playably smooth 25fps, we're talking 20Mbps bandwidth uncompressed. Adding compression to the mix will reduce the overhead sure, but seriously sacrifice the image quality. I don't believe the internet infrastructure could support more than even a handful of gamers in the same street playing lag free, not to mention being totally prohibitively expensive for those on metered or 'traffic shaped' broadband solutions. It's a nice idea (old) idea though.

Re:Massive bandwidth requirements (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311263)

Modern LCD panels are 1920x1280 @ 60FPS, so let's increase your numbers a bit.

Re:Massive bandwidth requirements (1)

jibster (223164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311353)

Quick Calculation:

1024 x 768 x 25fps x 32bit colour = 629,145,600 = 629 Mps

24 bit colour gives 472 Mps

16 bit colour gives 314 Mps

or am I missing something really sill?

With new "Low-latency HD Video" (4, Interesting)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310819)

I love how their network diagram in that article states "Low-latency HD video". As if it's a new technology. Wow, you have low-latency! I didn't even know that was out.

This is a pipe dream until they can prove this works. I want to see physical tests, not PR.

Re:With new "Low-latency HD Video" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311155)

http://www.gcluster.com/

They've been doing this for years, successfully. Of course it's not fast enough to play something like Quake 3 Arena but for example driving games work (amazingly well, in fact).

How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310879)

People like me like their gaming on their own terms. It's how I watch TV, it's how I game.

I rarely play online games mostly for that reason [that and I hate most other online gamers]. When I have 30 mins to spare in my evening, I just want to turn on the console and play. Not hope there are other players around, or that the "cloud server" is up to process my requests, or my net connection fast enough to cope.

Just turn the damn box on, play, turn it off.

What they *could* do is start working towards standardized APIs so that the different companies could compete on the merits of their hardware decisions, and not their proprietary software lockin.

There is no reason why an OpenGL stack wouldn't work on both the PS3 and Xbox360. I don't know if they use it in fact, but I doubt it. As a result, you have games that require companies to write their own portable stacks [or, more likely, suffer vendor lockin as it's too costly].

And for fuck sake, can we go 2 weeks without "cloud" computing floating around?

It's a nonsense idea right up there with "every workstation will be a dumb terminal" notion. Some^H^H^H^H most of the time having resources local as opposed to remote is more beneficial.

Comming soon. (1)

zLaSh (1102593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310931)

Duke Nukem Forever will be a launch game for this plataform.

Re:Comming soon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311303)

Sweet! I can't wait to see the DK: Forever gameplay footage on this service!!! Note: This sarcasm is brought to you by the letters F, U, C, K and the number 9.

Re:Comming soon. (1)

joelmax (1445613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311329)

Sweet! I can't wait to see the DK: Forever gameplay footage on this service!!! Note: This sarcasm is brought to you by the letters F, U, C, K and the number 9.

I fail at html tagging it seems..

Lag (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310933)

Even the slightest bit of lag will make this unusable. Imagine playing something like Street Fighter or any game that requires you to make cat like reflexes, it just won't work. It'll probably be OK for something like a point and click game such as Monkey Island, but trying to pull off one of those lengthy combos in Street Fighter IV's Trial Challenge just isn't going to happen.

Maybe in 20 years?

Re:Lag (1)

grodzix (1235802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311321)

Believe me, light isn't going to be any faster in 20 years. It will be impossible to decrease lag under certain amount and you know, number of networked devices will increase and it's not going to help with lag issue.

No longer hostage to 360 and ps3 "cheap"ware (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310955)

640p games will be a thing of the past.
Finally game designers will be able to select larger world size, add more monsters and use HD texture sizes.

Re:No longer hostage to 360 and ps3 "cheap"ware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311333)

And then compress the hell out of the broadcast back to the client to save on bandwidth. It'll be Comcastic!

Bull, YOU Still Need the Graphics Card (1)

Maarek Stele (7770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310983)

no matter what the content is, if you don't have a powerful enough GPU, than you can't play the game at the speeds other people play it at.

Yes, a X1900, or NVIDIA 2700 is the mid level for now. Once the next gen graphics and content come out, you need to go higher. Taking no one or 2, but 3 steps higher for a card to last 3 to 5 years.

Not just yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310989)

this is completely un-feasible until we all have ultra low latency gigabit fibres to our homes. even then, it's still a stupid idea.

try powering (and cooling) a server rendering 64 screens of high resolution game image at 60 frames per second, as well as processing AI and input. the daily cost of such an operation would be monumentally high.

Cloud!?! (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311023)

Am I the only one who's tired of hearing that buzzword being thrown around like it actually means something?

Re:Cloud!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311151)

You're not... The sky is getting cloudy over MySpace corporate office as well.

Re:Cloud!?! (1)

whoop (194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311201)

Just wait until Cloud 2.0. Man, that is going to be AMAZING!

Oh God no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311053)

I've had enough trouble tunneling X11 over a LAN, streaming a game [what does that mean, video??] over the Internet will not work for a long time. There is way too much latency.

Even playing something turn-based would be a pain in the ass because you have to wait for each button press to reach the server and echo back before you can do anything else.

Real world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311061)

A lot of these demos look impressive but what's going to happen in the real world? ISPs in the US suck as far as reliability (especially cable. I'm looking at you Comcast.) I can play a game I own the hardware for pretty much whenever I want. OK maybe not if it's a game that's based on network connectivity, but not everything is MMORPG.

Maybe lag won't be an issue, but even if it's what might be small for a low intensity game, if I'm playing a twitch shooter I don't know if I want to rely on the latency between me and a datacenter 1000 miles away that's going through a bunch of hops on the interwebs.

I hope they succeed. It could be sweet but I have my doubts.

It's gonna fly off the shelves (1)

jaimz22 (932159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311113)

just like the phantom game console did!

Sega Channel (1)

Rudy Rodarte (597418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311137)

It's like Sega Channel 2009! Sweet.

I can't wait! (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311219)

I'm sure that this new system from Microsoft will work flawlessly with my PS2 running Lunix!!!

So its... (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311237)

..like what the phantom would have been if all the intensive stuff was ran on a server. Interestesting, but I would rather have an actual console to play my games. This would be fun for xbox arcade like games but, nothing really 3d intensive.

Pie in the sky (1)

grodzix (1235802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311255)

Cloud seems to be a very popular buzz word recently.

I bet that it would kind of a dream for many people as it provides them with steady money income (it would be something like xbox live that you have to pay for access to it) and would have no piracy (if you don't run it on your hardware you don't require copy of game). No way to resell disc with game, no way to lend disc to your friend.

However, some limitations would have to be overcome first. Speed of light isn't that high you it's about electronics and internet is still not the most reliable thing under the sun (it's often for me that one day you tube video plays like a dream but other day it buffers and buffers and buffers).

Cool Idea but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311275)

The US and just about the entire world is in a deep recession and possibly a depression. I don't know about you but I aim to reduce my monthly bills. That means... drop my nEhannced Digital TV service,
go with basic cable + internet instead. I dropped my
phone landline carrier, switched to Vonage, dropped my private cellphone... I use my employer supplied cell phone for emergencies. Paid off our credit card debt.. 0 balance. traded in my awd honda elemen, got a 2009 pontiac vibe gt, dropped XM radio.. I listen to my IPOD in my car anyway. I don't want to pay a monthly service for gaming. I might play games 2 days out of a month that is it. I've got a life. I'm not going to pay $10/month to paly games. If I want to play a game I'll play a free openesource game on my linux
desktop or a free game on my wii.

scifi (1)

marcuz (752480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311307)

This is the distant future but we are living in the present. Its a great idea and cloud services will run games, media stuff or anything else in the future for sure. games are the hardest nuts to crack - we don't have sufficient hardware and most importantly network capabilities to be able to offer this service with quality comparable to any game console. the main point would be the lag I would say plus bandwidth will be too much. The other factor is that this economy needs to profit from hardware - its not the right time for this.

X11 (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311393)

It's almost like X11 for games in the home. I wonder if X11 and OpenGL would be fast enough to do this and the latency/bandwidth of DSL lines be handled for the games?

I got a sense of vapour product from the article - but I'm tired so I might of missed something.

pre emptive AI (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311399)

the only way such a system can work is if pre emptive AI becomes a whole lot better than it is at the moment. Pre emptive AI is the reason why, in multiplayer games, other players will appear to jump around, the computer tries to predict what other players will do, then corrects play later if it was wrong. This we can usually live with, the effect is less noticable with players further away from you within the game. For this system to work it would have to show you how it pre empts your own reactions which with the current state of pre emptive AI would make a fast paced game almost unplayable.

Zeebo - brazilian console 100% online (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27311469)

As a brazilian, i'm proud to introduce to the slashdot comunity the first brazilian video game console, 100% online content distibution: http://www.zeebo.com.br . From Tectoy, former SEGA distibutor in Brazil.

I can't even imagine (1)

bmwEnthusiast (1384289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311471)

My latency in gaming online is already bad enough on my 5 meg cable. Ever try playing a driving game online. LOL. Disconnects and uber lag should be this services tag line. As mentioned in another post above, input lag time will also be a serious issue they will have to overcome. If they are streaming HD Video as the game, real time input will not exist.
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