Category Archives: Gaming

Amazon Silk – Amazon’s Theories Sound Good

Amazon Silk – Amazon’s Theories Sound Good

Web browsers, as any other thing on our planet, need modernization, whether it be architectural modernization or radical dominance by a new product which completely wipes out any and all existing Web browsers. To take things easier and look at the modern scenario, there seems to be a need to stop and take a step back; to take a fundamentally new look at Web browsers and consider how they would be demarcated in terms of the cloud.

Taking a close look at the Web browsers of our time, almost all of them are entirely based on outdated designs from the mid-1990s, and back then, when the Web was much simpler, people did not have mobile devices, and big data had not been heard of. Today, two different viewpoints in the Web browsing industry exist. One perspective is of desktop computer users and the other perspective is of the mobile device users; often both these users are condensed into a single consumer who is agonizingly oscillating back and forth between the performances of these two species. Speaking in terms of Web browsing, what users really care about is having a page for which they do not have to wait to load. The experience of Web browsing on a mobile device makes users think that they have gone back in time to when browsing speeds were painfully limited.

Powerful desktop computers, by their very nature, are destined to process huge amounts of information. On the other hand, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones need help, and as recommended by Amazon, this help can come from the cloud. The big task a cloud helps accomplish is that it does all the processing and handling of heavy data at its own end, while it just sends down the final product to the Web browser associated with it.

The Amazon Silk browser optimizes the Web browser by carefully analyzing the limitations of the user’s system. Limitations of the user can be thought of as screen size, pixel depth, or the processing speed of the device. Allying all these assets into one equation, and then giving an optimal result, is what a cloud helps Amazon Silk accomplish.

At the time of writing, Amazon Silk looks like the best Web browsing solution for the masses – an answer for most users facing the problem of higher load times and greater lag when using their mobile devices. Even though split-browser architecture is not new in the technology arena, Amazon does surround its users with an air of innovation.

By Haris Smith

Sony Wins Cloud Gaming Boost From Gaikai

Sony Wins Cloud Gaming Boost From Gaikai

On July 2, Sony Computer Entertainment (of PlayStation fame) made a delicious tech-forward coup sure to find its virtual entertainment rivals Samsung and LG salivating with envy: the acquisition of Gaikai, the foremost cloud gaming company worldwide.

Gaikai literally translates as “an open ocean” in Japanese. That definition conjures images of vast expanses inviting curious exploration — the same vibrant point of view that spearheaded the cloud computing movement, and that is spurring rapid concomitant change in the video game community via the cloud as well.

Sony Computer Entertainment, or SCE, financed this potentially groundbreaking deal with $380 million, every penny of which is predicated on the hope that SCE can successfully absorb Gaikai’s immersive cloud gaming service into its wide-ranging fold.

SCE brass praised Gaikai’s “technological strength and engineering talent” in an official press release, vital supplies to serve as for fuel for the conglomerate’s aim to stand alone as the preeminent resource for serious gamers. Those starving for a bounty of rich-graphic content that can be accessed on a dime from an internet-capable device.

Yet this deal is far from one-sided in its benefits. Gaikai CEO David Perry ecstatically declared his thrill at being now intimately associated with the gargantuan PlayStation brand, as well as with the opportunity to “dramatically improve the reach of existing content” as the clout of cloud gaming accrues wholesale.

Gaikai was established by Perry in 2008 and headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California — interestingly located in the state’s Orange County, not the better known Silicon Valley. The company considers itself a technology in and of itself, one that liberates game lovers to instantly play some of the industry’s most coveted titles on any device wired for the cloud. Downloading or installation is unneeded. Gaikai also grants video game publishers opportunities to produce and distribute their own material through its own open cloud platform.

Diehard gamers shouldn’t jettison their physical consoles just yet, despite this auspicious news. As the recent U.S. East Coast power crisis demonstrated, the consistent reliability of cloud computing remains vulnerable to weather-borne power outages. Fifa Soccer ’12 and Rayman Origins, two of Gaikai’s most popular offerings, may dip in the pleasure they offer when down on the cloud. And if SCE were to release a blockbuster game title exclusively on the cloud, anticipate vocal Bedlam from the gaming community’s most passionate and persnickety members, should access to that title falter.

Whether SCE’s cloud ambitions result in just another Hulu or something more dominant and substantial remains to be seen. Nevertheless, SCE’s subsumption of Gaikai stands as a breathtaking vote of confidence in cloud gaming’s long-term viability and promise.  Indeed, such a major acquisition performed by a flagship corporate could exert serious ramifications for cloud computing as a whole throughout the entertainment industry.

By Jeff Norman

Cloud Computing Simplified

Cloud Computing Simplified

Understanding the idea behind cloud computing is simple. Long before the term cloud computing was even invented, we had all been using some form of it. If you’re an online gamer playing games like WoW or Eve, the basic idea of cloud computing is used there. Their servers hold information (not that which is stored on your own computer), which makes the games you have installed work correctly. This is where the big difference is. You do not install any programs on your computer; they are rather hosted on a computer either at your company or a third-party provider.

Some of the old file-sharing programs that existed years ago were forms of cloud computing as well. Data, movies, pictures and music were hosted by other computers. You logged in and were able to watch, listen or view the data from the comfort of your own home, while someone else hosted it. But now cloud computing has taken off and gone to the next level—a system of computers linked up together hosting, serving and storing data so users can use that data without even needing to install or upgrade their own machines. This is a concept that many of us who have been using the Net for a while already understand and have been using to some degree, but now the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, and it has become the new “in” thing.

To better understand what you are reading, try out Google docs. This program, even if basic, is a prime example of cloud computing. They host the data (which at this time is spreadsheets and word documents) and the programs, and you are able to open, use, save and download the data as needed. Now, if you have an old computer system, some programs simply would not run on your computer. But with cloud computing, the age of your computer system is never an issue. Your computer becomes a keyboard and monitor only, as all the heavy lifting is done by the server computer.

Now think about that for a moment—think about 20 or 50 computers all linked together. That massive amount of computing power is all at your fingertips. Do you want to have every song ever recorded at your fingertips? Or every book… or every anything? You can! Facebook games are a similar idea to cloud computing; they do the heavy lifting, while you just sit there and enjoy playing the game. Pretty simple, right? Well, expand that idea even further. Think what your company IT department could do with that information—that ability. Think of the wasted man-hours spent updating each and every computer; think of the money spent to make sure each and every computer had the proper software. Now take that cost away; take away the man-hours. What could your IT department be doing right now? Developing new programs and ideas, and doing what you wanted them to do in the first place, before they were distracted by every issue under the sun.

By Emma Joseph

Visit CloudTweaks each week as Emma helps take the complexity out of the cloud…

The Cloud Preview: NVIDIA Flaunts Upcoming Cloud-Based Game Demo

The Cloud Preview: NVIDIA Flaunts Upcoming Cloud-Based Game Demo

It’s been a few weeks since NVIDIA announced their powerful line-up of cloud-hosted GPUs in the context of the shift towards Gaming-As-A-Service paradigm. The core gaming version of the Kepler architecture, the NVIDIA GeForce GRID, is bound to do away with the requirement for conventional consoles in the gaming field. The innovative cloud service hinted at a streamlined gaming experience from smartphones, TVs, tablets and personal computers alike. Critics, however, expressed serious concerns over latency and device power consumption associated with this particular type of cloud-based computational model when deployed for gaming.

NVIDIA has recently responded with a crystal-clear answer—an impressive demonstration of the highly awaited, free-to-play, downloadable game Hawken, powered by the GeForce GRID. The online robot- combat-themed title is set to be released in the coming fall.

The chief executive of NVIDIA, Jen-Hsun Huang, and chief executive of Gaikai (the renowned cloud gaming platform) proudly demoed how an individual playing Hawken on a smart TV could compete against someone with an android-based tablet. The demonstration is absolutely jaw-dropping when you take into account that Hawken is inherently a non-disk-based online game. The demonstration clearly indicates that NVIDIA’s cloud-based technology alleviates the need for dedicated cutting-edge, bit-crunching graphics hardware aimed at delivering a compelling gaming experience.

The demonstrated title was more of a cross between Call of Duty and Mech Warrior. The plot is set in the ruins of a modern city where players can be found engaged in nail-biting gun fights. The visual appeal of the game is unprecedented, particularly for a downloadable first-person shooter. Courtesy of NVIDIA-fueled cloud technology, Hawken is set to reach out to an exceptionally larger audience than it otherwise could ever have done without it.

“What is more fun than a mech first-person shooter?” Huang flaunted.

Having backed League of Legends last year, the investors behind the game, FirstMark Capital and Benchmark Capital, are fairly confident that the project will come off with flying colors. Hawken is under development at Adhesive Games, a small game development team from California. The completed title will be boasted by Meteor Entertainment.

With a lot more in store, cloud-based gaming is bound to redefine the dynamics of electronic leisure. With computational power as gigantic as offered by the NVIDIA GeForce, conventional gaming is facing a bumpy road ahead for sure, unless conventional gaming has similar plans for moving to the cloud (even if it’s only partial). Time will reveal what’s in store.

We leave you the gameplay video itself to feast upon. The demonstration of Hawken starts at about approximately three minutes into the clip.

Link to the video: Demo

By Humayun Shahid

The NVIDIA Game Changer: Cloud-Hosted GPUs And Gaming-As-A-Service

The NVIDIA Game Changer: Cloud-Hosted GPUs And Gaming-As-A-Service

NVIDIA is all buckled up to redefine the dynamics of gaming. The company has spilled the beans over three novel cloud technologies aimed at accelerating the available remote computational power by endorsing the number-crunching potential of its very own (and redesigned) graphical processing units.

At the heart of each of the three technologies lies the latest Kepler GPU architecture, custom-tailored for utility in volumetric datacenters. Through virtualization software, a number of users achieve access through the cutting-edge computational capability of the GPUs.

Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s president and CEO, firmly believes that the Kepler cloud GPU technology is bound to take cloud computing to an entirely new level. He advocates that the GPU has become a significant constituent of contemporary computing devices. Digital artists are essentially dependent upon the GPU for conceptualizing their thoughts. Touch devices owe a great deal to the GPU for delivering a streamlined graphical experience.

With the introduction of the cloud GPU, NVIDIA is all set to change the game—literally. NVIDIA’s cloud-based GPU will bring an amazingly pleasant experience to gamers on a hunt to play in an untethered manner from a console or personal computer.

First in line is the NVIDIA VGX platform, an enterprise-level execution of the Kepler cloud technologies, primarily targeting virtualized desktop performance boosts. The company is hopeful that ventures will make use of this particular platform to ensure flawless remote computing and cater to the most computationally starved applications to be streamed directly to a notebook, tablet or any other mobile device variant. Jeff Brown, GM at NVIDIA’s Professional Solutions Group, is reported to have marked the VGX as the starting point for a “new era in desktop virtualization” that promises a cost-effective virtualization solution offering “an experience almost indistinguishable from a full desktop”.

NVIDIA GeForce GRID stands to make its public appearance. The technology is a hardcore gaming realization of the Kepler cloud technology framework. It will mainly be deployed to fuel the computational needs of cloud-based gaming services. NVIDIA is utterly excited about the potential that GeForce GRID has in store for gaming-as-a-service paradigm providers. GeForce GRID eliminates the need for a console in the gaming loop altogether and offers an even better user experience. Phil Eisler, GM of the cloud gaming division at NVIDIA, hints that the GRID could be the next “massive disruption in how games are played and delivered”. The technology offers unblemished access to the best gaming titles without spatio-temporal bounds, and that as well from personal computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs.

The NVIDIA Tesla K10 and K20 GPUs were the last to be revealed. The duo have been described as computing accelerators. The two models have been designed particularly to tackle the most complicated high-performance computing problems prevalent today. Based on the Kepler architecture, the new GPUs are three times as fast as their Fermi-based ancestor. The re-engineered Kepler-based models will help to further institute GPUs into technical and scientific computing.

Way to go NVIDIA! From all the die-hard gamers out there—provided the latency and the device power consumption are within acceptable limits.

By Humayun Shahid

The Cloud Farming Out 3D Rendering For The Masses

The Cloud farming out 3D rendering for the masses

In a move akin to providing Supercomputing to the masses, the Cloud is currently offering 3D render farm capabilities to those who can’t create one themselves but have the talent to bring about the best in 3D stories and imagery. Having my own personal experience regarding this I can’t help but feel the bitter irony of it, but it does mean that these smaller teams can now create 3D content to compete with much larger entertainment companies.

About five years back my company was seeking to break into the local cartoon business by applying for a government grant which was in turn trying to bring about a 3D cartoon based on the life of Saladin. We found the 3D talent required to do so and had a very strong stable of story writers, but our main obstacle at the time was that we didn’t have a dedicated render farm. Unfortunately for us, we soon found that creating a render farm for such a purpose would be tantamount to creating a supercomputer cluster on our own little selves. Needless to say, we didn’t get the grant but this is no longer a major obstacle for today’s new breed of small entrepreneurs looking to bring their ideas to life in full 3D, as the Cloud is now letting these smaller teams have a render farm as and when they need it.

Amazon’s EC2 returns again

Asides from Supercomputing, some enterprising digital content creators are now utilizing Amazon’s EC2 or Elastic Compute Cloud to provide a 3D render farm without having to buy, set up and maintain the machines traditionally required for it. While it is perfectly possible to do a render using a single $6000+ 3D rendering computer, even if you were to use it to render 3D 24/7, achieving full and complete 3D rendering for the level of 3D images and video currently being shown would most probably take a year (with your machine probably burning out well before that).

Since most of such 3D video and imagery projects require things to be done in much shorter time periods the fact that you can call up 300 dedicated render machines using Amazon’s EC2 destroys the main obstacle of a render farm for these smaller 3D content creators in a single stroke. Through this Cloud innovation John McNeil Studio was able to create 9000 hours worth of render time in a time period of one week, allowing them to meet their deadline well within the projected time.

2012 set for explosion of 3D content? Maybe not

While companies as a whole are still actively seeking 3D content, the fact remains that there are still not enough devices capable of displaying this 3D content smoothly. While NVIDIA powered tablets capable of doing so are slowly gaining ground in the tablet market, most tablets and smartphones are just not powerful enough to do so. As such, while the capability for a 3D render farm through the Cloud is now available demand for such content still remains the same. We may soon be seeing some new 3D cartoons coming from China though, but it remains highly doubtful that such an exponential rise may happen in parallel to Cloud Computing’s impending growth.

By Muz Ismial

Bloomberg Report: Zynga Rises in Debut After Raising $1B in IPO

Bloomberg Report: Zynga Rises in Debut After Raising $1B in IPO

Zynga Inc., the largest maker of games for Facebook, was little changed in its first day of trading after raising $1 billion in an initial public offering that gave it a higher valuation than Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS)

The shares, listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol ZNGA, gained 1 cent to $10.01 at 11:36 a.m. New York time. The developer of games such as “CityVille,” “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars” sold 100 million shares for $10 each, the top end of an $8.50 to $10 range, Zynga said in a statement.

Zynga gets more than 90 percent of its revenue from Palo Alto, California-based Facebook Inc., and faces increasing competition from Electronic Arts, which bolstered its own online services by purchasing PopCap Games this year. Nexon Co., a Tokyo-based maker of games for Facebook including “Zombie Misfits,” slumped 15 percent this week after raising $1.2 billion in an IPO, Japan’s biggest this year.

You’re definitely going to see more competition” for Zynga as other companies expand their user bases, said Richard Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG LLC in New York. “On the other hand, I think it’s also going to bring more people into the overall social gaming space.”  Continue Reading…

Source: Bloomberg

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Our Story: July 13th, 2011  Zynga, the Latest Cloud Computing Success

Cloud TV, Gaming and Entertainment: Making The Joystick Airborne

Cloud TV, Gaming and Entertainment: Making The Joystick Airborne

Cloud Gaming: Making the Joystick Airborne

I should just come out with it. The last video game system I purchased was a Nintendo 64, back in the early 2000s. No, I am not a bells-and-whistles type of gamer, by any stretch of the imagination.

But yes, I do have an opinion on this sizable, influential community. Video games are a means by which a great many of us escape the reality of our sometimes disappointing lives. And according to several updates in tech news, the cloud will revolutionize just how quickly gamers can tap into that escape: the celebration of the console, the liberation of the joystick.

Last year, CNN broke news that OnLive, a major gaming organization, would release a collection of video games — more than 20 titles strong — via an “online subscription service” – read: via cloud computing. What is more, the Tokyo Game Show this fall featured a keynote address that espoused “cloud gaming” as the future of the community.

Even that ubiquitous power-mogul Richard Branson is breaking into the act; he plans to release Virgin Gaming in an attempt to lionize a slice of the increasingly tasty cloud-game pie.

So what is “cloud gaming,” exactly? How precisely will Mario maneuver his plucky way through this new thicket of technology? Yoshi Wada, who delivered the TGS keynote, claims that the cloud will “[change] all the rules and laws that drive current industry business models.” As the cloud applies elsewhere, businesses will no longer charge access to games by the title. Instead, players will be free to experience every game their hearts desire — for a monthly fee.

The advantages of this “Gaming-as-a-Service” concept extend not only to the business honchos and tech-folk behind it, but also to the gaming community at large. Cloud gaming would redefine the idea of playing in “real time.”

Whereas the traditional model of purchasing a game in order to play it was followed an orchestration of gamers to meet and interact in unison, the cloud wipes away such wait time: once subscribed, a gamer immediately enters a live, populated realm, where virtual play takes place on a dime that keeps on spinning.

With no limit as to how long gamers can play, or how many titles they experience either, cloud gaming could potentially instigate a new movement in the community, where game aficionados find themselves more enveloped in their favorite titles than ever.

Yet the downside also merits mentioning. The old maxim that “cheaters never prosper” has rarely been true in the gaming community. Indeed, many gamers experience their virtual worlds exclusively with cheats, or previously worked-out tutorials for the entire game, in tow.

The speed and access of “gaming-as-a-service” could potentially facilitate how easily even the most labyrinthine of video games are solved. The subsequent “cheat codes” would also be distributed more widely. Instead of bravely fumbling their way through a title, more players would simply follow another’s directions for an easy win. Cloud gaming should be on guard against a lazier gaming community.

Before cloud gaming even becomes a reality, however, the industry has a tough pill to swallow: gamers love their hardware. They adore their consoles, snuggle with their joysticks. These apparatuses make their virtual worlds concrete. The cloud would render Halo, Minecraft, Assassins: Creed II, and other major titles into just that: abstract, cloud-like wisps of a game.

Convincing hardcore gamers otherwise will prove to be a video game in itself. Unfortunately for “cloud gaming” believers and businessmen, the cheat code has yet to be written.

By Jeff Norman

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