Cloud Gaming…This Isn’t Your Mother’s Farming App – Part 2

Cloud GamersAs we covered in the last blog post, there are a lot of gamers playing a lot of games, either on mobile devices, console devices or personal computers. Adding to that list of devices is the Internet-enabled cloud gaming service. Essentially you will be sent the game screen and your controls via a Bluetooth connected joystick or gamepad will be sent to the remote server actually hosting the game.  The vendors lining up to supply those games are all going to be placing their game servers as close to the customer as they can. The “last mile” is the name given to the last connection between the consumer and the telephone, cable or Internet provider.

This local placement of the equipment is critical to enable a very fast response time from the user’s kicks, punches, jumps or gunshots and the rendered images sent back from the game server to the user.  These games need to have no lag between action and the corresponding image on the screen. If this is done well, then the ISP will be able to replace a lot of consoles, PCs and other gaming devices (and grow a new revenue stream).

The Internet is brought to your home by Telco’s (AT&T, Verizon) or Cable Companies (Charter, Cox Communications, Time Warner) or sometimes Satellite systems (DirecTV, Hughes Rural, Big Blue). Of these Internet Service Providers only the terrestrial services can be involved in online gaming as excessive latency to and from a Satellite in Geosynchronous orbit around the earth would preclude it from hosting a gaming service. For the rest, TV, home phone, cell phone and now gaming can all be part of an ISPs “bundle” of services.

Finally as promised, the actual game server hardware consists of an Intel E3 or E5 class CPU connected to a specialized GPU card that provides a partial or whole GPU chip to work on the game’s display, but instead of sending the video to the user out a DVI or VGA port, the server encodes the game video as a H.264 video stream and sends it to the gamer’s smart TV or PC running a web browser or even a small game console like the OUYA.  Both NVIDIA® and AMD make these streaming GPU cards, NVIDIA has the GRID K340 and GRID K520 cards with 4 or 2 GPU chips per card. AMD also has a similar product called the SKY series of Cloud Gaming Streaming cards. Whichever GPU vendor is used, the end result is a virtual machine running Lego Star Wars or Crysis in the server and sending that game’s video to the display in your home. If you start playing games in the Cloud then there will be no more need to constantly upgrade your PC to play the latest and greatest games.  It also costs less to subscribe to a game service and access hundreds of games than to own a killer gaming rig and own each game yourself…

See you Online.

(with my knife in your back :-) )

Recon Battlefield 4 rocks!

\Mark (Kill_Mode) Skinner

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