Streaming Online Games

Two services have just been announced that host the game rendering and mechanics in the cloud. Basically this means that you install a small client that only sends your input (keyboard, mouse) commands to the game on the server which returns the games video frames in seeming real time. You wont know the difference from playing locally.
This sounds to good to be true, we all know about lag online and the technical issue seems to be insurmountable. But there isn’t one player on this, there are two large services (OnLive and Gaikai) with proper backing being developed and possibly shortly released.

The OnLive demo from GDC left reviewers in awe but still not convinced. Gaikai only focusing on online games might make it a lot more technically possible (as most lag is from game state calculation any way) but still to be proven.

What do you think?

Visit OnLive and Gaikai and check it out.

4 thoughts on “Streaming Online Games

  1. It’s possible that you’re right, but according to OnLive it won’t need a great broadband speed. Just normal stability.This might be an issue in itself though, as ADSL and copper cable broadband is far from perfect.
    We’ll just have to wait and see. But I to believe it will work (or work better) for some types of games. Especially MMO games as they are already designed to resist lag issues.


  2. I very much doubt the lag issue will please us. Most of the world still doesn’t have the level of broadband we at the front of internet technlogy enjoy. And even at the best of connections the lag is still often more than noticable.
    I’d say this kind of service might work for certain game genres but it’s not gonna be “the future of gaming”. A lot of genres still has to be played locally. Perhaps if we manage to invent something like subspace communication as in Star Trek, then it’d be a possible replacement for all types of gaming.


  3. Another issue will probably be the graphics. I heard they’re going to compress it pretty much. Since the graphics is a rather big resource hog I suppose their servers won’t be pushing out anything near the visual quality we’re used to from modern games.
    I don’t think these services will be interesting from an eyecandy point of view in a long time.


  4. The compression is certainly a problem, I don’t think the server rendering is such a problem though. SLI and CROSSFIRE or similar tech allows for render farms to be really fast. Normal computer don’t have the space or the bandwidth but server racks could certainly have that.So graphical rendering should be possible IMO. But if it’s possible for 5 million simultaneous Crysis players… I really can’t judge but it sounds, impressive, to say the least.


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