Category Archives: Gaming

Cloud Infographic – ATARI – 40 Years of Fun

Cloud Infographic – ATARI – 40 Years of Fun

ATARI – 40 Years of Fun

Cloud gaming has been a topic on CloudTweaks for a number of years. However, to close out the holiday weekend, we’ve decided to rewind back a few decades to (ATARI, Intellivsion and ColecoVision) and take a closer look at one of the most popular gaming companies ever to hit the market – ATARI.

For anyone looking for a little nostalgic Atari online game play (Missile Command, Pong, Combat) can do so here.

Here is an infographic which takes a look at the 40 years of ATARI.

40yearsoffun-atari

Black Friday Continues Its Frenzy

Black Friday Continues Its Frenzy

Black Friday Continues Its Frenzy

The Holiday season spending spree starts this week with the U.S. Thanksgiving Day dropping the green flag on Black Friday and its online sibling Cyber-Monday. Although urban myth suggests the name Black Friday represented a milestone in the retailer’s calendar – the day that business stopped operating in the red and started to turn a profit, other sources, including BlackFriday.com itself suggests the name originated simply from the mayhem and traffic chaos that occurred in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, with Thanksgiving, the Army-Navy football game, and increased shopping and travel all descending on the same weekend.

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Regardless, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become traditions in their own right, spreading out across the world as a kick-off to a month or more of unbridled retail spending. According to UK media, VISA Europe expects British shoppers to spend £6,000 every second in a week that culminates in Cyber Monday, December 1. The National Retail Federation’s chart on past U.S. spending for the event shows general growth, peaking in 2012 at $59.1 billion, before slipping slightly to $57.4 billion in 2013.

Industry watchers are expecting more online sales this year, with transactions happening earlier (as in earlier than Monday), with consumers having been spooked by slow deliveries and shortages caused in great measure last year due to extreme cold weather. The two-day event is quickly becoming a week-long happening, driven by large-scale retailers such as Amazon.com and Walmart, and despite the attempts by many to at least spare Thanksgiving Day itself from the frenzy.

Social media is likely to play an even greater role this year, not only as an advertising medium, but as a dynamic and personalized motivator. According to Consumer Reports, “the days of prices being fixed in a print ad are over; thanks to the Internet, retailers are monitoring their competitors and making adjustments, sometimes hourly, to match prices. According to Market Track, last year several major retailers—including Best Buy, Kmart, RadioShack, Target, and Walmart—each changed the online price of at least 55 percent of the items promoted in their Black Friday circulars. That means to get the absolutely best deal, you’ll have to continually check pricing, or try to wrangle a price-match guarantee when you do decide to buy.

BlackFriday-stats

As always, shoppers in both the real world and online are advised to keep a close eye on loss-leaders and small print. For example, many tablet computers, on sale for $150 or so are likely to come with only small amounts of storage, and will require additional expansions to meet the demands of most users. Many other apps, readers and players will seek to make up the price cut through memberships and costly downloads – the modern-day equivalent of “batteries not included.”

Regardless, online stores and their ecommerce partners around the world are bracing for thousands of transactions per second, basically starting now.

(Image Source: robert cicchetti / Shutterstock)

By Steve Prentice


Cloud Infographic –  New TV Technology

Cloud Infographic – New TV Technology

Cloud Computing New TV Technology

There’s a good deal in common between the mind’s eye and the TV screen.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

We all love new TV technology, many years have passed since the day television became available as a commercial acquisition (late 1920s), and then reached its popularity after World War II. With the invention of the TV set, life became abundant with news and entertainment that had never been within people’s reach before. This was a real turning point in the world of sales and broadcasting of those times.

Today, there is so little in common even with the television we enjoyed some 20 years ago. Modern Cloud Computing Services, such as Netflix, have given rise to a completely new era of news and entertainment, which has led to merging TV with Cloud Computing Services.new tv technology

This type of innovation in the modern high-technology world has brought about a fresh air in the world of both linear and digital content providers. Specifically, the rise of the Internet and Cloud Computing have brought cable companies to a completely new level of operation.

Here are some interesting facts discovered in an article earlier today over at Bloomberg:

1. Today, Walt Disney’s sports network is the number one cable-TV package. It costs approximately $64 per month. According to recent analyses in the field, this serves as the main reason for TV services canceling.

2. HBO and CBS have announced a type of programming over the Internet to customers without a pay-TV account. As a result, a number of subscribers will end their cable services soon.

3. Based on further analysis in the field, an online package, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and several other top pro sports leagues, is expected to cost $102.54.

4. Today’s streaming services are already found cheaper than a cable package. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus subscriptions taken together require less than $30 a month.

5. CBS is going to charge $5.99 per month for a library of earlier shows and Web access to network programs, making live programming available in 14 different markets.

Find the past 20-year evolution of TV in an interesting infographic designed by the Videology Group.

TV-Internet

 

By Litlit Melkonyan

The Mechanics Behind A Successful Cloud Video Game

The Mechanics Behind A Successful Cloud Video Game

The Mechanics Behind A Successful Cloud Video Game

The evolution of gaming over the years is fairly pronounced. We can anticipate cloud gaming to grow exponentially with developers and designers having access to inexpensive cloud based resources such as storage, collaboration and development/design tools. This will certainly help drive competition in the world of gaming development.

cloud-gaming-image

Cloud video games, or as they are also known in this capacity as online games and MMOs (massively multiplayer online), are the virtual mainstay of the current video gaming industry. While single-player offerings definitely still exist, the advances in bandwidth speeds, as well as the hardware and software that run modern games, have opened a whole new world filled with virtual universes teaming with other real-world players.

While the number of cloud games out there now are legion, only a relative handful have made any kind of a significant mark. Which begs the question: what exactly makes a successful cloud video game? Is there a clear path to success that future game developers can follow? Let’s take a look!

Performance

Starr Long, one of the driving forces behind one of the first and most successful cloud games to date, Ultima Online, claims that the primary factor behind a successful cloud game is performance. Latency, the number of players and the amount of in-game activity all have to be taken into consideration when it comes to developing a true winner in the cloud. No matter how cool a game is, if it cannot be played without performance hiccups, chances are it will fall flat on its face.

Community

Cloud gamers are social animals. That may not always apply in a real-world situation, with many players actually preferring online interaction over that of the real world. This makes the community behind cloud games of extreme importance.

The development of a successful game community can impact the attraction and playability of a cloud game in many different ways, even more so than with a single-player one. The primary reason behind this is the simple fact that the main reason people play cloud games is to compete against real players, as opposed solely to NPCs (non-player characters). Developing the community surrounding the game is usually one of the best ways to attract more and more players.

Updates and Expansions

One of the coolest aspects of a cloud game is its persistence. Cloud games are designed as whole new worlds or universes, and as such, require new content in order to keep them fresh and exciting. Granted, this is also present with single-player games, with downloadable content usually being made available at some period after the game’s release. However, the updates and expansions released for a cloud game can revamp it completely, as opposed to the optional nature usually found in those released for single-player submissions.

Variety

With so many different cloud games available for play these days, it becomes of paramount importance to offer content that is not only challenging and exciting, but also varied. Cloud games are made to last, which makes a degree of variety a must have. Otherwise, gamers will simply move on to the next offering once they have gotten bored.

Conclusion

As you can see, the defining factors of what make a successful cloud game are a little different than what you would find for a traditional video game, due to its online and persistent nature. Do you have certain things that you look for when selecting a cloud game to play? Let us know in the Comments section below!

By Joe Peillicone

Spectators: The Unsung Champions Of Professional Cloud Gaming Events

Spectators: The Unsung Champions Of Professional Cloud Gaming Events

Professional Cloud Gaming Events

Professional video gaming in the cloud has become one of the most exciting new sports venues in recent memory. Hordes of video gamers from all corners of the earth and walks of life, all vie for their share of lucrative prize packages offered by big names in the video game industry. In fact, professional cloud gaming has become so popular, that the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services has begun issuing visas to players, listing them as professional athletes.

There is, however, a massive group of people that are key to making professional cloud gaming as successful as it has been: the spectators. As with every other sport out there, or even virtually any type of entertainment activity whatsoever, without interested people to watch them, they would ultimately fail and fall by the wayside.

Given that there are no real-world arenas or stadiums designed for spectators to watch their favorite players, how exactly did cloud-game spectating develop such an avid following? One of the most influential services responsible for this severe uptick in the number of spectators is called Twitch.


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Twitch began its fabled run of popularity in 2011, effectively turning professional video gaming from a niche industry to a much more mainstream one. Twitch boasts over 43 million viewers each and every month, with over half of viewers spending over 20 hours per WEEK watching different games!

Like YouTube, Twitch offers a share of the ad revenue that is generated when people watch their “channel.” It is estimated that about five thousand of these partners exist, from a pool of close to one million. One prime example of a highly successful channel would be FatherSonGaming, which has attracted close to 100,000 dedicated viewers

Twitch’s success has not gone unnoticed by the biggest names in the video game industry. In fact, both Sony and Microsoft are integrating Twitch into their consoles, allowing for a much easier process for those who would like to either play or watch exciting gaming events. In fact, if you are gaming on one of the new PS4s, all you would need to do is hit the “Share” button to stream live directly from the console.

Update: Recent reports have been circulating that Google has offered to buy the gaming site Twitch for $1 Billion.

YouTube

While Twitch may be the most popular ways to enjoy eSports as a spectator, it is not the only one. For example, one of the most well-known, first-person shooter franchises, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, has the capability of streaming play to YouTube built directly into the game. In addition, if the user has an elite Call of Duty account, they will be able to access more information on the player they are watching, including a profile and detailed stats.

While video gaming in the cloud may not yet be quite as popular of an event to watch as, say, a baseball game, it is fast approaching that level of success. Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an event on a service like Twitch? Let us know your experiences in the Comments section below!

By Joe Pellicone

Gaming: The Top Cloud Games Slated For Release In 2014

Gaming: The Top Cloud Games Slated For Release In 2014

Gaming: The Top Cloud Games Slated For Release In 2014

One of the coolest things about working in the cloud gaming industry is getting to examine the incredible games slated for impending release. Given that cloud games, also known in this capacity as MMOs (massively multiplayer online) or online games, are still in their relative infancy, new submissions always include exciting improvements and advancements on previous games.

So what does 2014 hold for us in terms of cool new cloud games? Let’s take a look!

Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms

With the incredible amount of hype that George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series have garnered, as well as the wildly-popular television series that it resulted in, a cloud game based on it only makes sense. Granted, Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms is not the first time developers have attempted to make a successful video game based on the series. Cyanide’s development of an RPG based on the series was launched in 2012, unfortunately with dismal results.

(Image Source: Game Of Thrones Mo)

So what makes an MMO based on the Game of Thrones universe a better proposition than a standalone RPG? The answer lies in the “sandbox” aspect of the proposed game, allowing for a large amount of development and added content without ruining the continuity of the story line. Another contributing factor is that the game will be based on the books, rather than the television show. While the story and characters stay the same, this basis allows for a much greater degree of detail found only in the book series.

Elder Scrolls Online

In this author’s humble opinion, the impending release of the online version of the Elder Scrolls universe is one of the most exciting events to hit the world of cloud gaming in a long time. While the PC version was released on April 4th, the launches for Xbox and Playstation have been pushed back by about six months.

Aside from the fact that the Elder Scrolls universe is one of the most popular in the RPG (role-playing game) genre of cloud games, a number of new and groundbreaking features are the primary driving force behind its inevitable popularity. Among the most popular is the introduction of a “justice system” in the game, which allows you to steal from, and kill, NPCs (non-player characters) and brand new storylines for players to enjoy.

EverQuest Next

As one of the very first cloud games to arrive on the scene, Everquest has become an extremely popular franchise, which is virtually synonymous with the cloud gaming industry. EverQuest Next is designed to be a complete reimagining of the world of Norrath, the world in which the game resides.

Everquest Next will combine elements of other MMOs, such as Minecraft and Molten Core, promoting a system that supports building as much as fighting. In fact, it will be possible to build whole towns and dungeons that you can invite fellow players to come and compete in. These factors, in essence, pull EverQuest Next out of the realm of solely an RPG into something with a potential user base far in excess of what an RPG would bring.

By Joe Pellicone

Pinup: Approxy Utilizes Cloudpaging To Bring Instant Gaming Gratification

Pinup: Approxy Utilizes Cloudpaging To Bring Instant Gaming Gratification

Pinup: Approxy Utilizes Cloudpaging To Bring Instant Gaming Gratificationapproxy

There is something to be said about getting what you want, when you want it. Granted, we have all grown up with the saying “Patience is a virtue.” However, while this might be a good motto to live most of your life by, it has no place whatsoever in the world of cloud gaming. Gamers today want to play games without having to download lengthy files. Rather, the prospect of beginning a game right after you select it is one of the Holy Grails of cloud gaming.

This is where the services provided by Approxy come in.

Approxy was spun out from parent company, Numecent, in March of 2012. While the primary goal of Numecent is to deliver solutions to larger issues relating to cloud computing in general, Approxy’s sole concentration is delivering HD-quality games instantly through a white-label service. Approxy’s stealth funding has topped $18 million from an assortment of unnamed investors.

Cloudpaging

The tech behind the exciting prospect of Approxy’s services is called cloudpaging. In essence, cloudpaging divides each game into small pieces and delivers them to the end user in an on-demand capacity. This allows the player to start the game almost instantaneously, thus bypassing the annoyance of having to wait.

As Dr.Yavuz Ahiska, co-founder and CEO of Approxy, puts it: “As modern games cross over the 10GB size, the initial day-long download experience is becoming one of frustration for users and lost revenues for publishers, especially in the free-to-play segment. Cloud-Gaming represents a tremendous global opportunity for the industry, but we need to make it ‘friction free’ for both users and publishers alike. We believe cloudpaging with the Approxy extensions is the right technology platform to make this happen.”

Cloudpaging is a technology that has sprung from the loins of a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project dating back to the 1990s. Numecent has developed this technology and applied it to many standard cloud activities, including all Microsoft Windows applications. Numecent realized the potential of cloudpaging in terms of gaming, which resulted in the spinoff of Approxy.

The advantages of cloudpaging extend beyond simply being able to start your game without waiting. Cloudpaging uses a virtual memory management unit that is installed on the client’s device. This causes the game to launch in a virtual console, bypassing any need to install huge files on your device. This effectively reduces the amount of installed code needed to play the game, making them playable even on devices with minimal storage capacities.

As more and more of the world embraces broadband internet connections, the expectation of instantaneous cloud gaming rises in step. Approxy aims to satisfy these needs by offering its unique cloudpaging technology as a white-label service to game developers and producers.

By Joe Pellicone

Virtual Economies: Gaming In The Cloud Is Big Business

Virtual Economies: Gaming In The Cloud Is Big Business

Virtual Economies: Gaming In the Cloud Is Big Business

A little while back, I did an article on how to make money as a professional, playing different types of cloud video games. The industry behind this phenomenon is growing at a geometric rate, with new events and tournaments popping up every year.

Fortunately for those of us who do not have the time or skills to game professionally, that is not the only aspect of cloud gaming that has real-world benefits and rewards. The economies inside the games themselves many times mirror what you would find out in the real world. And given that a whole slew of in-game items have value out in the real world, virtual economies are increasingly becoming attractive for entrepreneurs.

Eve Online
eyjolfurWhen it comes to providing an example of a cloud game that has developed in intricate and thriving virtual economy, Eve Online is sure to be the first to pop into most industry professional’s mind. In fact, Eve Online’s economy, in terms of sheer size, actually dwarfs the real-world economy of Iceland, the company from which it is based.

Size is not the only factor that makes Eve Online’s economy such an interesting thing to examine. The mechanics and operation of the economy are so intricate that they require an economist to oversee. Eyjólfur Guðmundsson, the economist responsible for Eve Online’s oversight, is quoted as saying “For all intents and purposes, this is an economy that has activity equal to a small country in real life. There’s nothing ‘virtual’ about this world.”

Second Life

The vibrancy and importance of the virtual economy goes a step further when it comes to the game Second Life. In fact, Second Life’s in-game operations and economy are so well developed, it has been designated as a virtual world instead of a game by many people.

A perfect example of the similarities between Second Life’s virtual economy and that of the real world can be seen with the scare that occurred in 2006 with CopyBot. CopyBot allowed any item in Second Life to be copied, bypassing the need to buy them with the in-game currency, Linden Dollars. This prompted the game’s creators, Linden Lab, to explore the option of filing a complaint under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This, in essence, gave real-world value to the virtual items inside the game.

Diablo 3

Blizzard, the creator of the highly-popular cloud game, Diablo 3, actually took things a bit further when they established a real money auction house (RMAH), which allowed players to auction off in-game items for real-world cash. The idea behind the RMAH was to steer players away from third-party markets held outside of the Blizzard umbrella.

Unfortunately, the result was a whole slew of new botters (gamers who use automated scripts solely to accrue virtual items), which in turn tanked the gold value in Diablo 3. This had pretty much the same effect that it would have had on a real-world economy: hyperinflation.

Virtual economies are growing in size and complexity with each cloud game that makes its mark with the public. Have you had any experience buying and selling in a virtual environment? Let us know in the Comments section below!

By Joe Pellicone

CloudTweaks Comics
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