Cloud computing moves the computation and rendering entirely server side, albeit in some high-level, abstract fashion, where the server-side capacity is managed as an utility rather than as a finite asset.
This leaves the client with a fairly dumb terminal shaped like a smartphone, HDTV set or pretty much anything that can display a video feed received through a broadband connection (wired or air), and send out standard user input (key commands, motion sensor data, possibly voice and video in some applications) back to the cloud.

In a nutshell, it lifts most of hardware and software requirements currently associated with 3D gaming from the user end, thus enabling a myriad of cheap, everyday devices to perform suitably as HD gaming platforms.

On the server side, the high-concept tends to favor decoupling server ownership from operation and usage, and to move computing and rendering power towards a model akin to that of bandwidth brokering. Game operators are expected to rent both processing and rendering power by the metric ton just as they would rent bandwidth to serve the resulting video feeds to the end users' client devices.

Contrary to the console platforms, which by nature are subject to vendor lock-in, cloud-based gaming should allow developers to code for whichever suitable software environment they choose, as the server software is meant to be loaded seamlessly, on demand, onto the rented hardware.

On the business side of things, this is obviously an attractive proposition. Game operators will be able to serve a nearly limitless user base with a single core product version: cross-developing for different platforms will no longer be useful, and only minor resources will be devoted to maintaining compatibility, mostly on the interface side of things, to accommodate the variety of typical gaming devices (display layouts, standard inputs and such).

From a game developer standpoint this is a wet dream, with all the benefits of console development (well-known, controlled hardware/software environment) but none of the drawbacks (no vendor lock-in, unlimited processing and rendering power scaling gracefully on the fly), provided suitable business models are found to share the burden and the revenue associated with the server architecture.


Applied to R-POWs, cloud computing promises even more goodness by tackling, or at least mitigating, the infamous reverse-economies of scale that currently apply to customer support.

The more sophisticated and popular the game, the more diverse and complex the overall hardware and software client base becomes, and the more likely users will run third party 'helper' software alongside the game client. As a result, technical support gets proportionally costlier as the user base grows and as time goes by and the variety of more-or-less recent configurations to support increases.

A despotic control over the gaming platform, insulated from user interference, translates in enormous savings on technical support and a proportional increase in customer satisfaction — by way of less dissatisfaction.


Here be other entries tagged with CloudGaming.

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