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Cloud-based streaming of Xbox games too 'problematic'

"It's really cool and really problematic, all at the same time, insofar as it's really super cool if you happen to have the world's most awesome internet connection," Microsoft said of cloud-based streaming of games.

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Microsoft was apparently trying to "figure out" how to deliver cloud-based games across multiple devices, going so far as demoing Halo 4 (an Xbox 360 game) running on PC and Windows Phone. However, it appears the company considers it too "problematic" to deploy--largely due to concerns about bandwidth.

"It's really cool and really problematic, all at the same time, insofar as it's really super cool if you happen to have the world's most awesome internet connection," Microsoft's Albert Penello told Polygon. "It was a grand experiment, I know we did a lot of work behind it, and we said this is one of the things where the network just has to get better before we can do it," he added.

Sony plans on providing cloud streamed games through Gaikai next year. Microsoft wishes the best for Sony in that endeavor. "I'll be really interested to see how our friends in the Bay Area [at PlayStation] deal with this problem. But I can tell you, it's totally possible. We like it, we're fans of the cloud. We're not shy about that."

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 8, 2013 3:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Cloud-based streaming of Xbox games too 'problematic'.

    "It's really cool and really problematic, all at the same time, insofar as it's really super cool if you happen to have the world's most awesome internet connection," Microsoft said of cloud-based streaming of games.

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      November 8, 2013 6:09 PM

      microsoft with a wait and see approach? say it aint so!

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      November 8, 2013 10:32 PM

      "Nearly infinite"

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      November 9, 2013 6:50 AM

      We have yet to see Sony's implementation. MS has far more experience with live streaming/cloud services (Silverlight, Azure, etc.), and if they think it's unfeasible at the moment, I'll be surprised if Sony can pull it off.

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        November 9, 2013 8:43 AM

        Yea, Sony is partnering with the GaiKai group, and I'm guessing it's going to be a bit of an effort in futility. I work in a similar field and i don't care what they say, gigabytes of data, no matter how compressed, or pattern matched or shared, etc etc... its all got to go down the pipe at some point. And we're still waiting behind on high speed WAN links to rise to the occasion on this score.

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      November 9, 2013 8:56 AM

      This "cloud-based gaming" is going to go down as one of the most laughable vaporwares of the history of not just gaming, but computing in general. This is from 20 years experience in software engineering and also 3 years experience as a cloud engineer.

      Anyone who thinks that replication of 3D processing is possible with this is fooling themselves, just a quick look at new high end cards that blast a whopping 288GB/sec like the GTX titan know that kind of bandwidth is irreproducible other than locally.

      Forget that, let's say we're talking simple software algorithms like AI and other game mechanics... none of these things are new, novel, or interesting as we've had this technology for years (look at MMOs as an example).

      Forget that, let's say we're talking about menu system, 3D environmental sounds, or perhaps game specific sections of code to off-load on cloud servers, such as things having to do with encryption or random factor generation... these are all things that can already be done locally on the powerful processors in current-gen systems that off-loading these things would simply be done for show. There's little practical value and in some cases we could actually see a negative effect. Certainly in cases where someones bandwidth or response [ping] time drops at inopportune moments.

      In the end, if anything is done, it will certainly be gimmicky. Real developers in the end will continue creating games that run on the console, use the consoles memory in an optimized fashion, and will use network libraries for multi-player gaming or rankings just as they always have. That's what we're paying hundreds of dollars for.

      If cloud-gaming in the sense many people think its supposed to work was a viable possibility, we would have long ago seen it rear its head in the PC gaming world far before it appearing in the console universe.

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        November 9, 2013 9:14 AM

        I played a demo via Gakai a year or so ago. It doesn't stream game data. The player receives a video stream and then their input is sent back to the game running on the servers. There's a noticeable, slight delay in input lag, but nothing terrible. Although, I live 20ms from all those data centers in Texas, so...

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        November 10, 2013 7:52 AM

        Anyone who thinks that replication of 3D processing is possible with this is fooling themselves, just a quick look at new high end cards that blast a whopping 288GB/sec like the GTX titan know that kind of bandwidth is irreproducible other than locally.

        288GB/s is the Titan's memory bandwidth and has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of data that has to be delivered to the user. What you said is like quoting the Shack's server memory bandwidth and insisting that it's unreproducible other than locally so nobody will ever be able to browse the shack over the internet. In cloud gaming you only have to deliver the final image, which most certainty would not require anything close to 288GB/s of bandwidth.

        Cloud gaming is perfectly feasible if people have fast enough connections and the severs are located close enough to the end user. At the moment a lot of people don't have a fast enough connection and significant investment would be required in the server infrastructure. For that reason I agree that games will continue to be played locally for the time being, but that will change at some point in the future and cloud gaming with become feasible. Saying that cloud gaming is completely impossible and quoting memory bandwidth figures to back up your argument is pretty stupid.

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        November 10, 2013 11:53 AM

        Wow for someone with 20 years of experience you sure are quite ignorant.

        You wouldn't need 288GB/sec over the network, you just need the graphics card on the cloud side to have that kind of BW.

        All you need to worry about is the size of the data you're sending back, and how much latency affects it. There's plenty of things where this is technically feasible, so all that remains is to figure out how to pay for the cloud hardware itself. E.g. maybe business users subsidize it.

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      November 9, 2013 9:31 AM

      So we can't stream games from the cloud because of bandwidth, but we can use the cloud to make our games better and offload functions like AI, etc...good to know.

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        November 9, 2013 11:19 AM

        Yes, exactly. Streaming video to your screen from a data center and then streaming your joystick inputs to the data center having it run the game in the data center to process your inputs and then render it and stream it back to your screen.... that takes some serious bandwidth and requires low latency. Offloading non-time sensitive processing to the cloud is a piece of cake compared to that because it doesn't need to be interactive in real-time. Even if the offloading processing takes 500ms, it would be totally fine. Streaming a game would be complete shit at that latency. If they could guarantee 10Mbps bandwidth with 50ms or less latency to every customer... they'd be streaming the shit out of every game they owned (for a handsome price I'm sure). But they can't guarantee that., so they'd rather not hang their name on a product which probably wont work for half the gaming population. I think that's fair.