With Nvidia exec Phil Eisler talking up cloud-gaming this week, Tyler Zehner looks at the current state of the technology and ponders its future
The idea of gaming from the cloud is becoming more relevant as time passes and while pioneers, like OnLive, don’t always end up advancing the idea, they end up passing the torch for other people to further develop what they have started. Those ideas then have the potential to lead to a future that favors cloud gaming, and according to Nvidia’s Geforce cloud gaming general manager Phil Eisler that could mean a future where traditional consoles don’t exist.
Speaking in a recent interview with VentureBeat, Eisler said he believes cloud gaming will continue to get better every year and that the major issues, such as latency, will eventually be solved, which he believes could lead to gaming on the cloud becoming the prime way people play their games.
“The good thing about cloud gaming is it’s going to get better every year,” he said. “One of the reasons we’re investing in it is we see that there are some issues today, but they’re all solvable, and they’re all moving in the right direction.
“Bandwidth is going up. The cost of server rooms is going down. We’re bringing latency down. The experience will just get better and better every year, to the point where I think it will become the predominant way that people play games.”
Not only does Eisler believe that gaming on the cloud will become the leading way people play their games in the future, but he also says that the next generation of consoles could very well be the last we see.
“I am certainly a believer in that,” he said.
If that is the mindset companies like Nvidia are currently dwelling in, it provides a good incentive for them to expand beyond the PC, which they believe could allow for games to be instantly accessible right from the television.
“Now we can reach the television,” he said. “We’ve always participated in television gaming through Xbox and PlayStation, but we see the opportunity to support TV gaming directly. And so that big-screen gaming experience being delivered from the cloud is appealing to us. We think that’s a direction for the future.”
In fact, many cable companies are prepared to follow a similar model and provide a premium service plan that would allow subscribers to download games directly from the cloud straight to the television, which furthers the belief that the game console as we know it might be going the way of the dodo.
While the prospect of a cloud-gaming future is an interesting one, problems like bandwidth and latency will end up playing a significant role in whether or not people adopt the model.
However, Eisler is adamant in saying that sometime in the near future it will be possible to have a low latency experience that outperforms the current consoles.
“It’s going to be possible very shortly to have a cloud-rendered experience that has lower latency than the current console plus standard television experience,” he said.
“The average gamer playing on an Xbox today with a standard television is probably experiencing 150 to 200 milliseconds of latency, and that’s what they’re used to playing with every day. Because we can always improve the hardware at the server end and we can improve the capture and encode… We can do that portion in about 60 milliseconds and effectively hide the network delay.”
Onlive, the recent leader in cloud-based gaming, proved that people and companies were interested in the idea of streaming games from the cloud to all sorts of devices, but with high server costs, a lack of subscribers and the company’s recent closure, it would not have been a surprise to see people turned off by the idea altogether.
However, with many cable providers and companies like Nvidia, Playcast Media, and even Sony, having recently purchasing Gaikai, it’s evident that a cloud-based future is very much on the way.
It is hard to say what will happen five or ten years from now, but with so much support in what is ostensibly the infancy of the cloud-gaming model, it is going to be interesting to see how and where we end up playing our games in the future.
Will the cloud be the way we play our games in the future, or will the traditional console find a way to adapt to the changes that are sure to occur? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
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