Category Archives: Gaming

Cloud Video Streaming And Subscriptions

Cloud Video Streaming And Subscriptions

Cloud Video Streaming And Subscriptions

What is better? Wait… let me start over here. Is ownership with a one time price or a monthly subscription with a constant flux of entertainment a better option with internet based entertainment? I guess this is more of a subjective question with the person but these are really the two options unless you are just being sneaky and torrenting everything. So avoiding a potential FCC fine and jail time let’s just stay with the good old fashion paying for everything and focus on the technology of internet streaming and how the cloud is playing it’s part with your Saturday night stay at home date.hulu

To take a major step to the left from where we are going, Darwin once wrote most famously, that only the strongest and most aptly fit to their surroundings will survive.  While it takes a great deal of time to watch Darwin’s arguments of evolution in the natural realm it seems ever so clear this is how business works as well.  With the recent death of the video rental store for the convenience of internet streaming and downloading we have seen the strongest survive with a society plugged into the internet.  With Netflix, Hulu, Sony’s PSN store, Amazon Instant Videos, iTunes, and many on-demand internet television subscriptions it is easy for anyone with a simple internet connection to ignore the traditional means of watching the latest movie for instant access, with a few limitations.

Unlimited Subscriptions:

With the most common internet streaming companies provide unlimited streaming data with a monthly or yearly subscription.  Netflix and Hulu Plus are the most common companies that provide television and movies that have a month to month payment plan, while Amazon Instant Video comes with the yearly subscription to Amazon Prime. These companies have a similar process when it comes to activating an account.

  • Provide personal information

  • Choose the service options (if provided)

  • Check Internet Connection requirements

  • Provide credit card information

  • Begin streaming on shows and movies.

netflixThese are the most popular choice among most people because it is a simple subscription that is less than buying or renting a movie and you have the option to watch anything on the companies list of movies and television shows. On top of that you can watch what is provided to you at any time without having to pay another price on top of the month subscription.  The only drawback is that you do not personally own the movies on your streaming account and a movie you may like a lot is subject to removal. Yet with the ever expanding cloud technology more and more films, and television shows are able to be placed on the company’s server giving you more options. Of course this isn’t news to even the most amateur of internet users, so we need to compare this option to a buy to own like ITunes or Sony’s option with the personal account cloud.

Pay as You Go:

Moving to the horse of a different color you have cloud operated downloaded purchases with outlets like Amazon Instant Video, Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) store, and iTunes.  This is either pay to purchase or rent but you do not have a monthly subscription option for unlimited access. Sure you have to give up all your personal information and credit card numbers once, so as you don’t have to be bothered every time you buy something, but the real question is how is it stored once you bought it.  On iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, the PlayStation Network Store, and countless others are developing the technology to use the cloud for each of their customers. With that option, many believe hard copies will become a thing of the past. Regardless, once you:

  • Download the companies program

  • Submit private information for an account (including personal information and financial information)

  • Search for the content you want.

  • Pay the fee and the product will be uploaded to your device.

Then you own a digital copy of a movie that is stored on the companies cloud device.  You can watch it whenever you like, and it doesn’t take up much hard drive space as it might if you downloaded the whole movie or television show to your devices hard drive. Of course once you own a film on the cloud it doesn’t mean much unless there is a simple way to pull the content up on a device and enjoy it.  Cloud technology is an important step, but with one step you need to take another step so you aren’t off balanced.

When it comes to the growth of cloud technology the people behind this push for a wider reach need to understand the that general public wants only the minimal effort for it to catch on.  People like to know what it does, but not how it works.  Now in a cloud base technology website that may sound absurd but hear me out.  For something to catch on by all people they need to know the basics so they can trust the technology and it operate it.  If the cloud becomes too technical then it will be abandoned for easier tech.  A perfect example of this would be how many people have made disparaging remarks about Windows 8 because it added a layer of complexity to the start up menu that most people didn’t want. I know many people who have Windows 8 and downgraded to have the straight forward startup screen they are custom to see. So when you use cloud base technology but do not have an easy method to upload your content then your company has a problem.

With most popular internet media companies this is not a problem, but sometimes the technology can become so impressive that it forgets about niche markets that can be an afterthought to a company’s main product.  For instance Sony’s PlayStation Network is great for downloading the latest PlayStation 3 videogames.  It is a simple click and it will download it to a folder straight into the sections labeled games.  It is simple, it is sweet, and it is easy to use.  Now with reports given to me from several different people I talked to wanting to download a television series or film, they found it to be slightly more difficult finding their product after they paid for it.

Comparison:

So which concept is more beneficial to use? Well that is more depended on your wants, and the company’s structure. I, myself, would be considered a hybrid as most of you would.  I enjoy using both platforms, but only when the cloud technology isn’t a hindrance.  Simplicity is the key to internet streaming movies and television series.  Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and ITunes are the nest examples of this is the market, but the market will be shifting quickly.  With Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One being released this year the demand for cloud technology will become even more apparent in today’s market of mass media.  Both systems have implemented a strong backing of cloud technology for better processing power with the machine thus, more and more television and films will be placed on the cloud.  So in the future we are excited to see how the cloud technology will be upgraded and how that might affect our society as a whole.

By Chris Kenealy

Windows Azure In Real Time Gaming

Windows Azure In Real Time Gaming

Windows Azure in Real Time Gaming

The promise of painless scalability and continuous integration on the Cloud resonates well with the gaming industry because of the efficient mechanisms that make it possible for the gamers to enjoy state-of-the-art playing experience while gaming on the Cloud. Windows Azure would be a perfect benchmark for gauging games which have intensive connectivity requirements and frequent event updates as Microsoft’s Xbox One is a perfect fit to demonstrate the value which Cloud capabilities bring for the gamers to fully exploit and experience next generation machine capabilities. Windows Azure media services integrated in Xbox One makes use of Microsoft smooth streaming (MSS) to deplete lags in gameplay. Features like segmented streaming, live downloading and multifarious cloud based services for the users are also the perfect depiction of the cloud based MSS technology. MSS technology works on the small content fragments making it possible for the console to update downloading and playtime of the frames and defragments the incoming chunks of multimedia data from the Cloud. The defragmented data is produced in the form of files in order to revamp the data packets to map optimally on the buffer of Xbox.  As Windows Azure Cloud has multilayered support offering within PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) along with datacenter support, the performance and quality of storage, streaming and back up services of the console built on top of this architecture and has deep integration with, opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

windows-azure

Cloud’s evolution in the gaming industry has manifested the benefits of Cloud and the contribution of Azure Cloud is one of the stepping stones towards increased Cloud adoption within gaming, apart from business facing verticals. The compute intensive calculations are offloaded on-the-go which has solved the “lag problem” in gaming. Although there are latency issues, however, effective cloud based database querying techniques and infrastructures like SQL Database, work to create, scale and extend applications into the Cloud using Microsoft SQL Server technology. Xbox One also integrates with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center at the back-end to provide the segmented MSS streaming at different levels.  Windows Azure platform also provides strong API built on REST, HTTP, and XML based parsing and cross platform compatibility that helps the gamers to download and play third party games in a much easier way. Indeed, a lot is expected from the next generation gaming consoles which tightly integrate with one of the several Cloud providers. Upcoming gaming consoles are more likely to revolutionize Cloud gaming experience for users and deliver phenomenal new ways and perhaps new verticals within gaming. Keep playing!

By Salman UI Haq

UPDATE: Xbox One To Bury Deep In The Cloud

UPDATE: Xbox One To Bury Deep In The Cloud

UPDATE: Xbox One To Bury Deep In The Cloud As Microsoft Emphasizes More on ‘Digital’

(Updated from initial July 4th, 2013 posting)

In what seems like a complete departure from Xbox 360, the next generation Xbox One that is coming November 2013 will live most of its lifespan in the gaming realm of the cloud. According to Microsoft, the switch to more digital content is likely to change user agreements and accessibility options, but then, the transition increases the association of developers between products, all in the cloud. The company has it that the new release will be like having a console at home and an extra Central Processing Unit in the cloud. The latter will perform all computing work for the sit-at-home gamer, and in particular games, it will be possible to leave bots playing for one while off the net.XBox360_and_XBox-One

The Implications of the Switch To Digital

Some of the early preconditions of selecting cloud servers as the lifeline of Xbox One gaming console have now undergone review. At the start, gamers had to check onto the web every twenty-four hours but in mid-June the company bowed down to pressure to remove this online restriction. This indicates the ability to use discs to engage in play while off the web. However, it is inherent that to use the cloud feature, gamers must have unrestrained use of the Internet.  This means that the digital switch still remain firm for match-making and linking enthusiasts.

The other implication involves the predecessor, Xbox 360, which will receive a revamp in its external appearance. This plastic therapy will be an inspiration of the look of Xbox One, which the company has already premièred in the beginning part of the year, in anticipation to the November roll out. Furthermore, perhaps because of the proliferation of cloud computing everywhere around the globe, the new product will no longer impose international, but will endorse local denominations to buy games therein, on the web.

The Microsoft website depicted a cloud scenario at the center of which was Xbox One. An executive explains in abstract terms how having the play happening online equals to realistic details that are hard to resist. One of these is the fact that Software as a Service (SaaS) environments can save the pain of looking for one software at a time to accomplish a piece of action. In lieu of framing light slowly to depict a lightening-speed car crash scene, or another fast moment in a video, the users will only require the combination of various gaming devices or software on the web for this depiction to come out dazzlingly clear and real.

In short, having an Xbox One at one’s premises, with a connection, will equal to possessing three gadgets on a cloud server. This reduces the pain of making impossible computations in, say, enabling a race come alive for players. This may also be the secret why it will be possible now to let inanimate emissaries of gamers to continue play for them offline.

Playing Offline

Though the digital premise of Xbox One is a little off-the-mark for current users of Xbox 360, it might be matter of months before they discover the new meaning of ‘offline.’ Take one popular racing engagement: it will feature a ‘drivatar’ icon that will simulate the electronic play of a human gamer and continue on his or her behalf when the latter goes to sleep.

Secondly, it is now official from Microsoft, as abstract as it may sound, that one can transmute hardware or Central Processing Units into the cloud server and have it perform various complicated tasks during or off the game. This may mean saving even the lifespan of the device at home, because it will not require too much processing power.

Thus, as Xbox One hits the shelves this winter, it will already have anticipated a trend half a year before. That trend is cloud computing in video gaming technology as it has never before delved. It will be time to turn very smoggy alien worlds of games into crystal clear fighting and racing scenes courtesy of the rapport of various gaming consoles, in one cloud, in support of the console at the player’s house.

By John Omwamba

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

TV Goes Original On Xbox One Cloud Platform

TV Goes Original On Xbox One Cloud Platform

TV Goes Original On Xbox One Cloud Platform

cloud-gaming-trends

There are two influences that have made the new gaming console, Xbox One, to go to traditional media to succor its audiences:

  1. Cloud computing has made it possible to relay a number of media from one station, in either live relay, playback streaming or as content with ads.

  2. The gaming realm has recently moved from consoles to more accessible and portable devices like mobile devices. This has necessitated Microsoft to appropriate new content for its console rather than mere games.

Cloud Computing, TV and Xbox One

There is nothing that compares to creating original programs that audiences have never had time to tire of. This is why Xbox One is beginning its own Halo TV. One of the programs is rooted in high movie creations for it is in the hands of legendary sci-fi blockbuster producer, Steven Spielberg. In May of the year, the crème de la crème of Microsoft told a top UK newspaper that this series is on its way in and will mesmerize audiences, but without much disclosure on how the plan will work out.

Cloud computing will prove its worth in this new idea, on a gaming console, in the following manner: firstly, there will be retail access of web-to-TV devices, including set-top boxes. These will be available at fairly low prices, which will improve the way people always related to traditional television. Secondly, it will also be possible to create content that can stream in related gadgets, including smartphones, right from the cloud epicenter. Thirdly, using the multiple, cheaply available software online, it will be possible to tune on and off live and playback content in favor of other content, and even record the same, or watch simultaneously.

New Content: TV

The vogue of the mobile device has ensured the death of many a gaming console. In an age where the simplest gadget can be able to stream a game online, consoles have received a mortal wound which would otherwise be irreparable were it not for the salvation of other media to consort. Through the streaming background of cloud infrastructure, Microsoft has bought rights to programs, as well as, created new ones. This will make its Xbox One a competitive device from which much of fresh television productions will emanate.

However, the company has to appropriate its entry into the new realm with consideration of the protocols that already exist in the TV commercial world. For example, it will not do away with the existing pay-television sources. Instead, it will use its HDMI feature to gain unilateral entry into the commercial world of television devoid of necessarily negotiating concessions with every other TV agency. More so, because the cloud is an associational platform, it is without doubt that the company may already be using some of the technologies existing providers are also using, thus displacing the need for side agreements.

Thus, as Xbox One goes online, it will be with a thrust indeed. It will bury deep in the cloud offering, while making use of existing media, television not being the least of these. Many are asking whether this move will improve gaming content but observers have relegated this question to the current aplomb about the cloud computing capabilities of the console. What is positive for now is that a console that will feature videos and no other content is not in the offing soon. It is also certain that Sunset Overdrive, the conversation mode for gaming enthusiasts and providers, will also be available on the console.

By John Omwamba

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Giving Tangibility To Cloud Computing Capabilities In PS4

Giving Tangibility To Cloud Computing Capabilities In PS4

Giving Tangibility To Cloud Computing Capabilities In PS4

For online gamers, the promise of the upcoming roll out of the gaming console, PS4, hinges on its cloud computing capabilities. There has already been verification by the executives at Sony, the team behind the popular PS3, to the effect that there are computing features, but these will be dependant on the options of the player. The genie in the bottle that makes the cloud capability only an option is the fact that unlike its predecessor, PS4 will not be an Internet lock-in. Gamers need not subscribe to the service on the web, meaning that they have a gamut of time, offline, enjoying the games they love. However, this will not stop those who love matchmaking and linking to try their hand at the cloud offering for the product has, among others, the following temptations:

The Promise of Gaikai

According to Sony, PS4 the console, will be out before the culmination of the current year. Though there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes promotion, including during the London Olympics of 2012 little has come out, in straightforward syntax, to verify the real date of the release. Tech geeks are sure of one fact through: that the date of the integration of Gaikai, the cloud service that Sony bought late 2012, will become part of PS3/4 in 2014 and in the future, on Vita. The system will enable users of the consoles to use the multiple GB capacity that Sony is negotiating for their new console so that they can not only rent titles on the web, but purchase games, a thing they could not do with the incumbent console. Users can later resell their games to others. This will happen best through the cloud matchmaking and linking services that the Gaikai system will introduce.

 

PS4-Infogrphic-Vs-XBox

 (Infographic Source: IGN.com)

Technical Specs Complementary to Computing

The native features of PS4 may be complementary to cloud computing in their own right. One of these is the 8-gigabyte GDDR5 memory feed that will ensure bolt-velocity utility of the device. Because in electronic huge memory means equal agility in speed, this will mean that players can cut off at a point in the engagement during power failure and still find the play where they left it off in the next switching on, a parallel that nears cloud backup.

There is also the artificial intelligence of telling between player 1, 2 or 3 in an MMO session, through the use of hues that highlight subjects in near proximity, middle and backdrop. It is also possible to login using verbal or face-based recognition motifs. This may come handy when engaging in a web session where conflicting gaming personas or clashing of accounts, for those who wish to continue a PS3 subscription on PS4, is an issue. On the latter score, however, the team at Sony reveals that it may be possible to integrate gaming content of the current console into the upcoming one, but only after the release of the latter. This will enable users to reviews their favorite games, as highlighted above, and rent them anew without an account.

PS4 will also utilize cloud computing whenever there is a game that requires an Internet presence. Sony has also revealed that there will be an ‘instant’ webcasting ability of games already in the current console once Gaikai facilitation comes to the rescue in the coming year. This cloud icon will first make a landfall in the United States. Thus, PS4 will join the online clout of Xbox 360 which relies on online streaming but with the extra option of working off the net.

By John Omwamba

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Google Glass

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Google Glass



Google-Glass

By David Fletcher

Are you looking to supercharge your Newsletter, Powerpoint presentation, Social media campaign or Website? Our universally recognized tech related comics can help you. Contact us for information on our commercial licensing rates. 

Cloud Computing Capabilities In PS4?

Cloud Computing Capabilities In PS4?

Cloud Computing Capabilities In PS4?

X-box-one

Sony is keen to elevate the marketing hype of its “next generation console”, the Play Station 4 as its release date hits the door. There are many features that are revealed in the introductory presentation about the Play Station 4 including the much awaited “cloud computing”. A lot is being said about the cloud computing capabilities of the Play Station 4. For starters, it will now be possible to play games on PS4 even if the downloading is not yet completed by using the effective streaming technology used in the next generation gaming console. Play station 4 developers can use the cloud computing technology efficiently to optimize the productivity during the development session. According to Sony, PS4 developers can offload the calculations and code to the cloud thus minimizing the remote calls to the API’s that decreased the throughput. Sony’s representative Shuhei Yoshida admitted that there is a limitation to what can be done on the cloud using the PS4 because of the bandwidth and latency issues but integration of cloud computing in the gaming console is being considered as a reality of a much touted and bragged concept.

The cloud based offload calculations and processing facility will allow the gamers to use the local console resources more easily. There will be no drainage of the space and console resources, any streaming issues or development time delays. Cloud computing in PS4 has enabled users to enjoy MMOs and other free games without the need of PlayStation Plus subscription and this is something that can easily be called as a great edge over the other gaming consoles. Cloud based sharing will allow the gamers to share their thrilling experiences, achievements and progresses on public forums like ustream, facebook and orkut via Cloud based network Gaikai. Cloud based streaming will facilitate the gamers to enjoy immersive core games via streaming with state of the art graphics and multiplayer experience.

Upcoming attractions include the much awaited PlayStation Cloud “Gaikai” which is likely to hit US in 2014. Gaikai will allow the gamers to stream or download the PS3 games and enjoy it on PS4. Gaikai’s proprietary network based on cloud computing will allow fast access to the acclaimed PS3 games without any lag and latency problems.ps4_play_img

There is a neck to neck competition between the cloud computing performances of Microsoft’s Xbox one and Sony’s PS4. A lot more is yet to be revealed as far as the comparison between the cloud computing facilities with the two next generation gaming consoles is concerned. Microsoft has increased the back-end cloud servers from 15,000 to 300,000 which can give a befitting real time streaming of characters during the gaming sessions. Xbox One gives the facility to the developers to offload the computations but the fast internet connection is the pre-requisite. Although Xbox One has state of the art hardware that will elevate the speed of streaming, the quality of the Play station’s Cloud based network “Gaikai” is unmatched when it comes to streaming and remote access to resources.

By Salam UI Haq

(Image Sources: Sony / Microsoft)

Cloud Syncing: A Big Ado About Functionality In Google Play Game’s New Release

Cloud Syncing: A Big Ado About Functionality In Google Play Game’s New Release

Cloud Syncing: a Big Ado about Functionality in Google Play Game’s New Release

According to leaks on the Big Spider, the world of gaming is getting a new face that may perhaps eclipse existing applications like the iOS Gaming Center if Google Play Games comes mid-May, with a cloud-synchronization feature, among a ton more stats. Allegedly, the company is on course to prove that it is ‘much ado about everything’ rather than the Shakespearian negation of ‘much ado about nothing,’ when it syncs the google-play with its cannon of existing services. Google+, its web-based mail, and Android OS are all part and parcel of how Google Play’s gaming wing will operate.

Cloud and Google: Syncing Abilities

Hitherto, serious perpetrators of the gaming platform have been employing a dead app, which has been lying dormant under the Play Services option. The only lacking thing was that it was not in one with the settings’ icon that also incorporates Gmail and the company’s mandatory networking site, among others. Now, it appears like not only will this cloud-syncing application embed into the new settings, but will come with its novel adapter.

The element of the soft adapter will be an added glory for hounds of tech devices. They will be saving their previous gaming sessions in one tablet and accessing them on phone, or another gadget, still ‘live.’ This is the first time that the Internet giant has made the gaming niche to operate fully on its cloud computing dispensation.

Analysts are touting that the very entry of the platform into more than just online but server storage functionality, is a curtain raiser for players who have the gusto to stay long. Indeed, even before the official launch of this update, resilient enthusiasts who play for hours on end, are forwarding their gratitude for the new app which will allow them extend play. The element of saving sessions and beginning where one left on a remote server is some great development worth the time of a play king who is more than a spectator.

Other Developments

Cloud is not just the big earner of the spoils by the father company, Google, for other existing services are getting a share, too. It appears kike Google+ might be the luckiest networking site that ever passed the gates of the Internet throne. For now, it will be impossible not to work on Google Play Games without having an account on this networking portal. The same case applies to Gmail users, who oblige to have an account, irrespective of their wishes, soon as they sign into the web mail.

There are some significant ways in which G+ will matter to the cloud observer. One of these is the fact that it will be possible to put a limit to the kind of invitees who can observe, reconnoiter or play with one. This points out to the use of free widgets that, in a normal situation, control the kind of messages one would like to filter in or out of a blog message forum, for example. Through the networking site, too, it will be possible to expand and shrink chat pals, form and disband playmate-chat rooms, and do a horde

more. Another cloud plus is that the chat element of real-time engagement will become a worthy embedment: it will be possible to manage settings for quick notifications, meaning that, in one’s chat circles, it will be impossible for a game to pass by without receiving the news on the same.

Leaderboards is another attachment that will be worthy of a look, by a cloud hound, in the new gaming update. It will be both public and private. For the one, it will be possible to manage a ubiquitous folder for whichever position one currently ranks in the leaderboards, each seven days, or so, while, for the other,the user can keep scores that are not impressive in the private folder. Of course, G+ will be the center stage of all this because it will optimize the public and private folders, accordingly.

In a word, it is time that the gaming technology received a new kid in the block. It will be cloud-based, meaning extended time between supporting devices, and great saves for continuing play another time. This, of course, will become official when Google meets, and possibly unveils Google Play Games, mid-May, San Francisco, on the West Coast.

By John Omwamba

CloudTweaks Comics
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Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…