Category Archives: Gaming

A Basic Look At Gaming As A Service

A Basic Look At Gaming As A Service

A Basic Look At Gaming As A Service

The developments that have come together to create a modern world has come from some surprising places. We cannot imagine a world where we could not go on line and reserve airline tickets, make dinner arrangements, or even buy a book from Amazon. Did you realize that the technology and protocols that make e-commerce possible were first developed by and for the on-line pornography business?

It is easy to understand that some of the earliest interfaces between computers and the non-technical general public was through video games. In 1952, A.S. Douglas did his PhD at Cambridge on EDSAC vacuum-tube computer by creating the first graphical computer game, a version of Tic Tac Toe called “Noughts And Crosses”. The very first video game was Tennis For Two, played on an oscilloscope at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The first real computer game was Space War, which was developed in 1962 at MIT. Later versions of Tennis for Two and Space War would become truly important parts of AtNoughts-And-Crossesari Computers.

The video game industry has grown to generate more than $25 billion per annum. The lion’s share of this development has been for gaming consoles, which provides far from the best gaming experience. A gaming console is just a computer, even though its architecture and interface are different from a traditional desktop. Like any other computing situation, the biggest weakness of the gaming console has always been keeping it fed with up to date software. Cloud Gaming is a relatively cheap alternative to the constant need to feed a console.

Cloud Gaming may be one of the easiest cloud concepts for the non-IT users to understand. Anyone who has played a game through their Facebook account has had a cloud game experience. With cloud gaming, not only is the software handled in the cloud, but the records of the gaming experience are recorded and archived there.

Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games seem like the most natural fit for cloud gaming, but any type of game that is played on a console or with local software can be found through a cloud gaming service. The area of greatest potential for cloud gaming is the freedom of interface options. For those who simply must replicate the console experience, thin-client type devices are available which are basically a console without a disk slot. The disk is replaced by a connection to the Internet.

Games can also be played on any desktop or laptop computer that is connected to the ‘net. Smartphones and tablets are already popular gaming platforms as cloud- connectivity significantly increases the potential sophistication of gaming on mobile devices, although the experience may be limited by the speed of the users data connection.

By Peter Knight

SimCity – Look At My City. And It Is Gone

SimCity – Look At My City. And It Is Gone

SimCity – Look At My City. And It Is Gone

Sim City

The dream they all waited for to come true, to build a modern city with resource management and cooperative play, filling empty lands and hills with thriving cities and metropolises, was close. Having your friends in the neighborhood supplying you with goods and services sounded like fun, like a real improvement and innovation to the monotone single player experience in the past games, which urged you to build everything you need yourself. A feature online and cloud gaming could achieve. Too bad most pre-orders of the new SimCity (5) could not even go that far to see the first settlers build their tiny houses.

To ensure a multiplayer experience SimCity wants to offer, you need to be online. EA, the main publisher needs to be sure your version of the game is legitimately bought and used, so you need to be permanently online, otherwise the DRM (an anti piracy protection) kicks in and will not let you play. And to be completely sure you do not cheat, all cities are saved on the cloud servers of EA as well. On launch day, as millions of players tried to access this service, it was unavailable. Queues tormented the user with a 30 minute waiting line, even for the single player experience. Cities could neither be loaded nor created, and the few who were lucky enough to play were not safe from server crashes or lost city data, forcing them to start all over.

As you can see, the whole list of disasters that could have happened with a game and a service that requires permanent online connectivity and resources did happen. Sadly, it has been predicted since Diablo III had the same problems with the same always on service and no one bothered to learn from the mistakes of the rival. It is a statement that you cannot protect your game properly with online requirements nor grant your customers a pleasant gaming environment. The latter should be your main concern since they supply your game making efforts with money and a chance of making a next game.

The usage of a cloud system to enhance multiplayer gaming can come with benefits. Always available save games, downloadable content to every PC you use without dependency on external storage media, the ability to access and interact with the save games of other users, even if they are offline. In total, you have to evaluate the use and danger of online cloud services and protection – as a user and a developer, to avoid dangers and inconvenience which have already been experienced above.

There is still much work to do in terms of solidifying a reliable cloud based gaming experience. In all due time we will get there, but how soon?

By Robert Baumert

A „Spoon“ Full Of Cloud Gaming

A „Spoon“ full of Cloud Gaming

Cloud service provider Spoon offers a compelling product for those who are always on the run and lack constant access to their own computer. You are granted access to your own sandbox, a digital desktop on the Spoon servers, and you can access it from every computer anywhere. While synchronizing your data and apps on the server, you even have the possibility to use your data and virtual desktop offline. The newest addition to the services of spoon are games and online storage of game saves, but you might not find the same amount of quality here like on OnLive – both for better and worse.

Spoon is excited to bring app virtualization technology to the gaming community,” said Kenji Obata, founder and CEO of Spoon. “Gamers can now enjoy graphically rich desktop games in the cloud without the latency issues associated with other cloud technologies.” The trick behind this appealing mix of graphic quality and solid performance is the use of a hybrid model using both the cloud servers and the user server. Shared resources reduce the usage of bandwidth and internet connection and allow a higher level of efficiency and service than regular cloud gaming, which solely relies on own servers and full usage of your precious internet connection. This truly is a welcome solution against hardware incompatibility and loss of saved games and game discs with additional offline playing options.

Too bad Spoon can’t yet supply its customers with the real deal in gaming. The range of games available for your own sandbox server is rather limited and only covers open source games, which are available for free already, and niche puzzle and adventure games from studios of lesser renown. One would wonder how well the hybrid technology could cope with AAA-titles and if it is able to offer greater graphical pleasure than the competition does at this very moment. It is probably a question of money as well: Spoon delivers every app and game for free, only the size of the storage space available is determined by the level of your subscription plan. As always, money is a key factor in the gaming industry and both the developers and the service providers alike seek a compensation for their efforts. OnLive charges the user with a handful of dollar for a time-limited usage for the desired game and even grants him a lifetime usage for the full store price of the game. Spoon could sell access to games separately – or advance their subscription options with gaming bundles. In the end, negotiations with the developer will determine the business model used for future gaming on Spoon.

By Robert Baumert

Cloud Computing Highlights Of 2012: Social Collaboration And Integration

Cloud Computing Highlights of 2012

2012 has been a takeoff year for cloud computing, there have been no real major breakthroughs yet no setbacks as well, but that is not to say that the field has been asleep overall, we have seen a continued growth in terms of support and adoption including the emergence of new types of services on offer. There have been a lot of improvements in the technology and also a lot of new directions taken that we have yet to see if they will lead to success or not. Let us take a look back a whole year at the state of cloud computing so far.

  • Wide adoption in media and entertainment – the cloud has proven its potential for the storage and delivery of media and entertainment elements mainly because of the introduction of high speed data communication standards like 4G and LTE. It has become easier to store, retrieve, and deliver media from the cloud. We are seeing a trend in consumer adoption of services like Dropbox, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, Netflix and Spotify. This may also be the reason why a lot of smartphone manufacturers chose to remove the expandable memory options from their devices like Google’s Nexus 4 by LG and the Nexus 7 tablet by Asus. HTC also did not include expandable storage on their new Droid DNA.
  • Emergence of new services in the SaaS space – what this means is that not only are we now storing and retrieving data from the cloud, we are now also embracing the possibilities of on-cloud processing. A very good example is On Live’s game services, allowing gamers to play any PC or console game on their tablets and smartphones via the cloud. We are also seeing a big adoption of Hosted Desktops which allows for workshifting and better business continuity solutions.
  • Social collaboration and integration – Social and cloud collaboration allows for applications that enrich the supply and demand chain of relationships which improve customer awareness and loyalty. It has allowed crowdsourcing of product designs and even allows startup companies to achieve their goals through social collaboration sites like kickstarter.com. Facebook is the biggest social networking and collaboration site which now allows for better interaction between companies and consumers through various social marketing strategies like games and contests. All of these became easy and second nature due to cloud integration.
  • Mobile and location services and e-commerce – mobile and location services allows marketers to pinpoint advertisements and services wherever you are. For example if you are in downtown Detroit, a location service can point you to the nearest coffee shop or give suggestions for the best dining experiences in the area based on user reviews and social integration. It may even allow you to order food from a local fast food drive through a few blocks away through the cloud and pay electronically so that by the time you arrive, they will simply hand in your food, a literal drive through!

Surely business minded people will find new ways to monetize the cloud and bring better value service to consumers and the industry alike. I see no downside except maybe people getting lazier, but such is the future we are building ourselves.

By Abdul Salam

Cloud Infographic: The Rise Of Cloud Gaming

Cloud Infographic: The Rise Of Cloud Gaming

Cloud Infographic: The Rise Of Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is a service that uses a high speed Internet connection to stream games to a subscriber’s technology device of choice. For many gamers, gaming depends on a specific console device, such as a Wii or an Xbox, and the only possibility for playing games at another location involves packing up the console and setting it up elsewhere.

Gaikai, a cloud gaming company, which was purchased by Sony Entertainment, offered the streaming model that allowed subscribers to stream games to their computers, smart digital televisions and tablets. The games were run inside of web browsers, using Java or Adobe Flash. With the purchase by Sony, there are rumours that the next itineration of the PlayStation might be totally cloud-streaming based.

Continue Reading…

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Infographic Source: BigFishGames

Playing In The Clouds: A Gamer’s New Paradise

Playing In The Clouds: A Gamer’s New Paradise

Long ago and far away, the home game of Pong brought families together around the television that up until then was only accomplished by a celebrity’s death, a monumental speech, or the moon landing. From there, the game console industry began to grow by leaps and bounds. Soon enough, names like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario became commonplace. As the gaming and game hardware technology advanced, possibilities opened up that could never been imagined—such as multiplayer games, networked gaming, and team conferencing. Cloud gaming, the greatest innovation since World of Warcraft, is causing a flurry of activity in gaming forums around the world.

Cloud gaming is a service that uses a high speed Internet connection to stream games to a subscriber’s technology device of choice. For many gamers, gaming depends on a specific console device, such as a Wii or an Xbox, and the only possibility for playing games at another location involves packing up the console and setting it up elsewhere.

Gaikai, a cloud gaming company, which was purchased a few months ago by Sony Entertainment, offered the streaming model that allowed subscribers to stream games to their computers, smart digital televisions and tablets. The games were run inside of web browsers, using Java or Adobe Flash. With the purchase by Sony, there are rumours that the next itineration of the PlayStation might be totally cloud-streaming based.

Another player on the cloud gaming field is OnLive. OnLive offers the service on devices running Microsoft, Mac, or Android operating system. It is possible to play the games on an HDTV, but this requires purchasing OnLive’s gaming console system, which is composed of an Xbox-like controller and a television adapter. The OnLive catalog features over 200 games, including popular titles like the Assassin’s Creed series, Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Oddworld.

One of the main drawbacks of cloud gaming, which is beyond the control of the cloud gaming service provider, is the connection between the gaming servers and the end subscriber. The servers running the games are high-quality-calibre machines, but the Internet pipe that runs between the two points may not be able to handle the compression and transfer rates required to render the high density graphics. This makes the cloud gaming service market somewhat limited, unless there is sufficient demand from Internet service provider clients to upgrade the infrastructure.

Could cloud gaming be the end of game cartridges, CDs/DVDs, and proprietary consoles? The answer might very well remain clouded—at least for now.

By Robin Berry

Proven Ways To Increase Competitiveness With Cloud Computing

Increase Competitiveness With Cloud Computing

As cloud computing is currently enjoying a wave of global discourse by the business community, it is projected that more and more businesses are adopting cloud computing services as the preferred way to do business. Senior Vice President of Research for Gartner, Mr. Peter Sondergaard claims that cloud computing sits among the top four trends that will change IT in the next few years. It is no secret that any business outfit that is still reluctant in the adoption of this technology is losing out on a lot of benefits. The early adopters, furthermore, are not sitting pretty and enjoying these benefits but rather are looking for more effective ways that they can harness for a more competitive edge in their field of business

Competitiveness is often acquired when a business attains an upper hand through practices or resources that will outperform its competitors. These practices, strategies or resources are those that will save the company money in cost reduction, those that will improve effectiveness and or increase revenue. Any business can indeed achieve competitiveness through strategic exploitation of cloud features as follows;

Cost Reduction

To ensure a higher ROI, which is a realization of your competitive edge, you ought to reduce costs as much as possible. The first cost that cloud computing will help hive off is the “cost of ownership” or the capital expenditure; the setting up and the maintenance of servers, physical space and staff.

This reduces significantly the need for a humongous capital base and ensures that small enterprises can go up against bigger businesses with bigger capital bases and still claim a competitive muscle. Cloud computing also ensures that businesses pay only for what they use and utilize through the ‘pay as you go’ feature of cloud computing.

Information & business scalability

To be competitive in the current market environment one needs relevant information; the correct data, forecasts and analysis that will help them make strategic decisions. The business may not have the necessary hardware and algorithms to access, tabulate and utilize such data but they can easily and cheaply access them through cloud service providers. Such data may include data on customer/consumer demographics or “socialknowledge” that will give you a competitive edge in terms of better market intelligence.

Depending on the current need, a company can keep up with the competition through the ability to easily and cheaply scale up or down-size their systems to fit instant or essential market conditions. This hassle-free scalability could not be achieved without employing the magic of the cloud.

Flexible working practices

There is a generational and perceptional change in modern day working practices where employees tend to be more productive when placed in flexible working environments like working from home or at their own time.

When Google launched Google Docs, it broke ground in the world of file sharing and document accessibility. This allowed anybody with an account access to a cloud ‘storage’ or virtual office facility where they can keep their presentations, spreadsheets and other office documents. This flexibility in access means that your employees can work from their preferred environments. They get increased internal and external coactions coupled with quick universal access for improved productivity.

The environment is also crucial because there is an increasing universal pressure on environmental concerns. There are a lot of people now with changed or changing perceptions when it comes to environmental sensitivity. Businesses can achieve a competitive advantage by addressing these concerns. You can go “green” with cloud computing as it cuts down your carbon emission by reducing the need for massive energy usage in the data centers.

By John Omwamba

Uncertainties Surrounding Cloud Gamers

Uncertainties Surrounding Cloud Gamers

Cloud gaming has been embraced as a liberator for gamers who had been entangled in the thorns of conventional gaming. Contrarily, if one looks at the potentially darker side of the cloud, a thought-provoking viewpoint can be perceived which, to some extent, may amaze readers.

First off, in cloud gaming everything is done through the cloud. Even though this clause is seen as an advantage by most analysts, the downside is that users unknowingly become cloud dependent. The menace of potential outages is also included in this drawback. So, if an Xbox network outage occurs, this will not just mean that there will be no online gaming for a consumer; it will mean no gaming at all. If the network goes down, players will not be able to do anything.

Resale value of games is another issue cited by prominent analysts. The fact that in conventional gaming players can buy a game, play it, and then sell it at a reasonable price is respectable. On the other hand, in cloud gaming, games are believed to stay at the same hyped prices, even though distribution costs are eliminated. Also, some customers wait for a game to mature so that it’s price might fall and they can buy it at reduced cost; this will not be possible with cloud gaming. From a business perspective, gaming companies will be in favor of fixed-price gaming, but from a user perspective this is a major drawback.

Another shortcoming of cloud gaming originates from a “what if” scenario – what if big gaming companies teamed up and hiked up all the prices. Painting a wider imaginative picture, it can also be alleged that maybe these gaming giants are just waiting for consumers to migrate to the cloud so that once the majority of consumers are on the cloud, these companies could increase the prices and no one will be able to do anything about it. A worthy analogy can be made by looking at the cellphone industry. Consumers do not really control the services they get, and switching to other networks is surely not the best option for them.

At the moment, cloud gaming is a mouth wateringly great option for gamers to assemble on a particular platform. Moreover, the drawbacks of cloud gaming circle around hypothetical consequences and one can never be sure as to what will happen in the future. Only time will tell if cloud gaming really is the best option for gamers or not.

By Haris Smith

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