When you tell your video-game-loving kids that they have their heads in the cloud, you may not be far from the truth.
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“I think it’s just magical that you could have a game console in the Cloud,” said Phil Eisler, head of cloud gaming at NVIDIA. “And it just happens, instantly.”
Cloud gaming, sometimes called gaming on demand, is similar to what Netflix has done in streaming movies or Pandora has done in streaming music. With Cloud gaming, a video game is stored, executed and rendered on a server in the Cloud, and the results are streamed directly to a player’s device, eliminating the need for a console or even a highly capable computer.
Imagine taking a gaming console that is now sitting under your television “chewing up 150 watts and blowing air,” said Eisler, and moving it to the Cloud. That’s exactly what companies like NVIDIA, Sony and others are doing, and in the process, they are disrupting gaming as we know it.
“A big advantage is convenience,” said Eisler. “One of the frustrations of computer games is that they tend to be large, and updates and patches can take a long time to update.” With Cloud gaming, he said, players can get online and play the updated version of a favorite game in less than 30 seconds.
Besides convenience and speed, the Cloud allows for “infinite storage,” said Eisler, with access to a large library of games. Most services are subscription based, and offer unlimited access pricing and other agreements.
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Cloud gaming also means never having to upgrade your gaming device, a big plus for those who are into their technology and always want the latest and best.
“Gamers tend to want to upgrade hardware every two to three years,” Eisler said. “We upgrade it for you. … When a new game comes out, there are often minimum gaming system requirements. We provision the proper amount of gaming console for you. You don’t have to worry about hardware — you just play games.”
Among the other “disruptive powers” of subscription Cloud gaming services, Eisler cites access to high-performance gaming.
“There is a leveling experience to it. With Cloud gaming, we can give everyone the latest game,” said Eisler. “We can enable all the games to run on their maximum settings. Right now, game developers have to develop to the lowest denominator. We will be able to set their sights higher, so we will get better and more real-life kinds of experiences.”
While Cloud gaming already includes multiplayer options, the future, Eisler predicts, will include making gaming even more social by further integrating features like text, voice and video chat, all in the Cloud.
And the gaming can always be faster.
“We’re looking forward to making it even more instant,” said Eisler. “We have some ideas to make [gaming] happen in three seconds. We are working to shave every second off the loading time so it will be truly instant — so incredibly fast — and convenient.”