The future of gaming is NOT Cloud-based!


Captain Jack Sparrow

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One thing that terrifies me as a gamer is where the gaming market seems to be heading.

I pretty much hate anything and everything to do with cloud services, and the term 'whatever-as-a-service' constitutes profanity to me. While I agree that Sony's recent launch of PS Now is a good concept, I feel that cloud-based gaming services like these should compliment conventional gaming, not aim to eventually replace it.

But what are your thoughts on this topic? I haven't seen this topic discussed much around the web.

As I absolutely despise cloud-based gaming, I will kick things off with maximum bias!

  • Reliant on Internet connection
The game software is not being rendered on your own local hardware, the game software is actually running on a server located somewhere in a data center. That means that if your wireless connection drops, or if the data center's network backbone provider experiences difficulties, it's game over!​
  • Input and response lag
I don't think this is feasible. Many games (especially first-person shooters) require blazingly fast input times, as these games are usually fast paced. Because the game software is running on a server located far away in a data center, a command from your controller device has to be sent to the data center, processed, rendered, H.264 encoded, sent back to your client device and finally displayed on screen. This would introduce an epic amount of input and response lag. Your base latency (the time taken for a single packet sent from your system to reach the data center) would be doubled, because it has to do a round trip.​
  • Rural Internet connections
If you live in a rural village area like me, you will probably not have the luxury of fibre-optic cables running into your property to supply the Internet connection. Where I live, we were lucky to get a fibre-to-the-cabinet connection, because Virgin Media actively refuse to cable our street (despite running cables to pretty much everywhere else in the village).
Some people are even unluckier, as they are stuck with ADSL. This is probably the worst Internet connection anybody could have nowadays, it's almost like having the modern day dial-up equivalent (I have witnessed circumstances where dial-up is actually still faster than certain ADSL connections!). Therefore, poor souls with slow ADSL rural connections will not be able to make use of any cloud-based gaming services.​
  • Image resolution and picture quality
It's probably a safe bet that games will run at 30 frames per second with a resolution of 720p (or 1080p if you're really lucky). That's already inferior to even a mid-range gaming PC. Quite obviously, the picture quality is further reduced when the renderer output is encoded to H.264 in order to transmit the video stream. As great as H.264 is, it isn't perfect and artifacts can quite often appear.​
  • No benefit for gamers with powerful systems
It doesn't matter if you've got a low-end laptop with Intel's HD Graphics. If it has a hardware H.264 decoder, you can play! While this is great for users who can't afford more powerful systems, it's bad news for those (like me) who have invested the time and money to make a powerful gaming rig. We would lose out, because the game software isn't running on our local system, it's running in a data center. That also means you have no control over graphical settings, it'll look and perform exactly the same on a £200 laptop and a £750+ gaming PC.​
  • No physical copies
Like, seriously. Do I really have to explain this one?​
  • Corporate Overlord
One of PC's biggest advantages over console is the lack of a service 'overlord', or centralized management company who calls the shots with regards to gaming. As great as Xbox Live and Playstation Network are, they are a closed model, which limits what you can do (e.g. subscription required to play multiplayer games).​
  • One word (or three if you expand the acronym): DRM
**** off. Publishers will get so horny that they'll mess their knickers over this. Smaller independent game developers will hate this. And so will the consumers. DRM encourages corporate greed.​
  • A new dawn of anti-competitive exclusive titles
I can see many games being exclusive to only one cloud-based gaming service provider. Which brings me to my final point...​
  • Expensive. Very expensive
You'll still pay the same amount each month, even if you played no video games in the entire month. You'll also pay the same amount, regardless of whether you play one video game, or twenty. As every service provider will have their own exclusive games, you'll have to subscribe to all of them to avoid being missing out on exclusive titles, which will work out to be ridiculously expensive and not worth it.
In conclusion, conventional gaming with proper hardware is better in virtually every possible way imaginable.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Ian

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I agree with pretty much all of that, if it were streaming games to a PC or gaming console - but as a counterbalance I can see why it is appealing for companies to develop this type of software.

For example, it may mean that people with set top boxes for their PCs would be able to subscribe to a gaming service in the same way that Netflix is used. It may mean that a ~£100 box could run something that would require larger and more expensive hardware, and in the future the latency may not be as much of a problem for most games (i.e FTTH connections, for those that have it). This is what they are hoping for anyway, even if I can't see it taking off, it's very clever.

I'm struggling to put up much more of a counterpoint, as I don't think there will be demand for this sort of thing anytime soon - but I can see a limited appeal. I've tried cloud streaming games on the NVidia Shield, and it actually worked fairly well - I was quite surprised. It is of no appeal to me, but it was better than I expected. Local streaming is great though :).
 

floppybootstomp

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I don't like being dependent on an online connection to play games, I think Electronic Arts and Ubisoft are the worst offenders for this type of thing.

The EA equivalent of Steam is Origin and I have to use Origin to play several games I like, for instance I've played 133 hours with Dragon Age: Inquisition. Whenever I start that game it says 'logging on to the Dragon Age servers...' so I'm pretty sure I have to be online to play, though I've never tried playing disconnected from the net, I must try that.

I don't mind buying games electronically though, saves having to have shelves loads of CD and DVD cases and if we go back far enough massive great cardboard boxes housing one small disc and a manual.

Having said that, if Steam, Origin or Ubiplay ever go out of business then all those games I've paid for will disappear into the ether if ever I lose them from whichever hard drive they happen to be residing upon.

GoG (Good old games) are another game supplier who when they started shouted 'No DRM' from the rooftops and you could download all your purchases from them to keep stored as you wanted to. But now - as far as I can work out - you can only download your purchases from them straight to install. So that's another company I'm dependent on for games backup, no DRM or not.

Incidentally, if anybody here knows how to download their GoG purchases to a folder holding the executable of that game, please let me know ;)
 

Abarbarian

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One thing that terrifies me as a gamer is where the gaming market seems to be heading.
- Capt. Jack Sparrow.

This trend is nothing to be scared about and will be short lived. The next gaming wave is here and taking of, VR and all that so soon your present hardware will be obsolete so will your OS.
Then very shortly a new gaming wave will emerge where you get a chip implant and you play the game with your eyes shut, no hardware no controller.
That is when you should be scared.
Mind you it will probably be too late by then.

latest
 

Abarbarian

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GoG (Good old games) are another game supplier who when they started shouted 'No DRM' from the rooftops and you could download all your purchases from them to keep stored as you wanted to. But now - as far as I can work out - you can only download your purchases from them straight to install. So that's another company I'm dependent on for games backup, no DRM or not.

Incidentally, if anybody here knows how to download their GoG purchases to a folder holding the executable of that game, please let me know ;)

Took me thirty seconds to find the answer,

https://support.gog.com/hc/en-us/categories/201553005

I've paid for the game, but I don't know what to do next

Please try to download this game using GOG Galaxy - it should offer the most convenient experience for you.
First, download and install the latest beta version of Galaxy here.
After the installation run Galaxy and sign in with your GOG account.
Go to the Library, select your game and click Install. Follow the onscreen instructions. The game will be downloaded and added to the side-bar on the left. Click on it when the installation is finished and press the Play button.

If you do not wish to use Galaxy, you can download an offline installer instead, and just install the game on your computer.
To do so, go to your Account page, click the game, and download its installer file(s) under "game downloads".
Please note that if many installer files are listed (1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc.), you need to download all of them into the same folder, in order to install the game.

What download options are available?

We offer the following options:
GOG Galaxy - our optional client which offers easy installation of games, automatic updates, as well as downloading standalone installers with full protection against download corruption.
GOG Downloader - our old standalone download manager, which offers full protection against download corruption.
Browser downloads - the oldschool option, which lets you just download standalone installers onto your computer, and install them anywhere, at any time. Keep in mind that this method offers no protection against download corruption.

I could not find any linux games for less than a fiver that I liked the sound of so could not test out the above. An I have no room left on me windows set up either.
You might have to download the games again using the browser option but you have a fast broadband so that is no biggie for you.

:cool:
 

floppybootstomp

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Took me thirty seconds to find the answer,

https://support.gog.com/hc/en-us/categories/201553005





I could not find any linux games for less than a fiver that I liked the sound of so could not test out the above. An I have no room left on me windows set up either.
You might have to download the games again using the browser option but you have a fast broadband so that is no biggie for you.

:cool:

It's a shame you haven't purchased any games or installed Galaxy as then you'd see neither of the above options works for the problem I've outlined.

As I've said it's easy to install games but it's not possible to download an executable full game program for backing up. That is, store the game as if it were a disc purchased as a hard copy.

Or perhaps you misunderstood the problem I've outlined? 30 seconds eh? Marvellous :rolleyes:

And Galaxy is not the most intuitive of software programs I've ever encountered.

If you like FPS's I can recommend:

Clive Barkers Undying @ £4.69 and
Shogo: Mobile Armoured Division @ £4.69

Both work well and play flawlessly on Win 7, I've played both more than once.

Back in the days when you could download complete games I actually downloaded the Witcher III. I have it backed up on a 50Gb BD-R disc.
 
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floppybootstomp

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I'm not sure whether those 2 games work in Linux but a quick online check says they do, I shall try and install them later today.

I just tried to open Galaxy and this is very typical of them:

GoG_fault.JPG


And here's my list of installed games from GoG on Win 10, I'll get round to recommending some and dissing others hopefully in the near future:

GoG_installed.JPG
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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This trend is nothing to be scared about and will be short lived. The next gaming wave is here and taking of, VR and all that so soon your present hardware will be obsolete so will your OS.
VR is just a fad like Xbox Kinnect and 3DTVs, it won't take off. It has it's business uses, but gaming isn't one of them. It doesn't even work very well for games. VR only works half decently for first-person games, but I can't stand that genre anyway. The last decent first-person game, which I played all the way to the end was Bioshock Infinite, and I only enjoyed that for its brilliant story, not for its average gameplay.

VR is further hindered by being ridiculously expensive, even after many years of development and public interest (headset, dual graphics cards, studio infrastructure, collision sensors etc.). When I got the chance to play a couple of games on the set-up which was installed where I work, they told me that in total, it cost approximately £1700. My car is only worth half of that!

Yes, hardware and software gets obsolete, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, I'm not quite there yet. In the long run, I fear about everything moving to cloud.
I absolutely despise subscriptions and contracts, they're all a massive rip-off.
The word 'cloud' seems to get everyone excited these days, but not me, it makes me cringe. Most of the general public assume that if it's in the cloud, it's automatically better than your locally-hosted system, without doing their research, not that they would even know the difference.
Then very shortly a new gaming wave will emerge where you get a chip implant and you play the game with your eyes shut, no hardware no controller.
That is when you should be scared.
Mind you it will probably be too late by then.
Won't happen until at least the year 3000 (or Busted get back together, whichever comes first :lol:), it's just not feasible in the current state of the human body.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Abarbarian

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Well you can cut of me head in public at Tower Hill and stick it on a pike on London Bridge if I am wrong here. I have not tested whether or where the game installs in Windows 7 but I recon you just click on the executable to install the game and save wherever you like. I ain't going to open up Windows just to make sure I am correct.
iKKxhCA.jpg

sdLRUjP.jpg

Uj0lX3u.jpg

v644Wza.jpg


What you do with the "sound,avatars,manual and artwork" stuff I do not know but I recon it will not be too difficult to work out.

ecf135QaZW-8.png
 

floppybootstomp

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The game, according to your screen grabs, is situated at https://cdn.gog.com which is GoGs website/server/cloud/ether/whatever

It is NOT situated at C:\Games/Bloodrayne or D:\DVD_Drive\Bloodrayne is it? (as a for instance)

The point I'm trying to make here is it seems impossible to actually possess the game and install it without being online.
 

Abarbarian

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The game, according to your screen grabs, is situated at https://cdn.gog.com which is GoGs website/server/cloud/ether/whatever

It is NOT situated at C:\Games/Bloodrayne or D:\DVD_Drive\Bloodrayne is it? (as a for instance)

The point I'm trying to make here is it seems impossible to actually possess the game and install it without being online.

Wish I had whatever you are smoking. :rolleyes:

The first screeny shows the G.O.G. sites page where you can download the game and stuff. That is the old fashioned way, just a plain old download. It even tells you that this is not the page for the Galaxy version.

The second screeny shows me downloading the game. To my pc. :rolleyes:

The third screeny shows me downloading the sound and stuff. To my pc. :rolleyes:

The fourth screeny shows the game .exe all 800Mb's or so downloaded along with some game .zip files on to my pc. :rolleyes:

Here I refer you to my previous post,

"Well you can cut of me head in public at Tower Hill and stick it on a pike on London Bridge if I am wrong here. I have not tested whether or where the game installs in Windows 7 but I recon you just click on the executable to install the game and save wherever you like. I ain't going to open up Windows just to make sure I am correct."

I'll amend the last part of my previous post which was,

"What you do with the "sound,avatars,manual and artwork" stuff I do not know but I recon it will not be too difficult to work out."

To "You may need some expert help to install the sound and associated files." :rolleyes:

My apologies for not stating clearly the meaning of the last screeny. :blush: I had thought that as a Mint user and a pc user for many years you would have recognised an open file manager and deduced that the files were indeed residing on my pc and not in the cloud. :p
 
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Abarbarian

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an just so there is no mistake about the above. Here are some screenys of Blood Rayn installed on my pc in my house in Wales, not on any cloud and done offline.

zeCXFe1.jpg


4xIui8p.jpg


An I am really hacked off as the sodding game will not run. I get an opening screen and then it crashes. A pox on companies that advertise games as working for a particular os and sell them when they do not run. :mad:

770bmfb.jpg


They had better refund my loot or I'll be sharpening me war axe. :cool:
 

floppybootstomp

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I see. Ok, I will try that thing and if it works - thank you, I'm pleased.

And even as a Mint user and PC user for many years when it comes to software - nope, I'm thick as poo poo, will make no bones about it and I doff my cap to you sir, an expert Arch Linux User.

I am pretty good at assembling and fault-finding hardware though.

Let me try and download a game I only have installed within Galaxy then, it wouldn't surprise me if I'm not capable of it.
 

Abarbarian

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I see. Ok, I will try that thing and if it works - thank you, I'm pleased.

And even as a Mint user and PC user for many years when it comes to software - nope, I'm thick as poo poo, will make no bones about it and I doff my cap to you sir, an expert Arch Linux User.

I am pretty good at assembling and fault-finding hardware though.

Let me try and download a game I only have installed within Galaxy then, it wouldn't surprise me if I'm not capable of it.

Well I would not say your as thick as poo mate. You know about grammar and spelling and lectronics and raising a family and other stuff.
You'll manage easily with downloading and installing.
If it helps. I put all the files inside a folder in Downloads and ran the .exe from there. When the program started to run it installed Blood Rayn it made a GOG folder and put the game inside it in another folder on the root of the C drive. That was Windows 7 no idea what W 10 will do though.

:cool:
 
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