Back from vacation and ready to get roaring. Hopefully this weekend is the last, so I can work on being college-bound and improving the blog. Entry four of Silverblade Sunday is late but posted as promised, so read on and enjoy. This week focuses on "the cloud".
The storage of information in a remote location accessible anywhere, by anyone, for any means necessary. This is the simple notion behind "the cloud", the next extraordinary innovation in computing. While slowly being fitted for modern machines, the consoles still have yet to adapt. In due time, however, we'll be able to import characters saved on "the cloud" from remote locations anywhere in the world.
The transition, apparently, has already begun. Randy Pitchford, the CEO at Gearbox, let it slip that the studio's newly-announced sequel, Borderlands 2, will pop the Xbox's cloud cherry. For a franchise heavily reliant on co-op gameplay, importing characters is a blessing. Borderlands didn't have the perfect co-op formula, but if this is true, saving to the cloud has put it far above the rest of the field for now.
Companies like Crytek have explored the possibilities of cloud gaming but held off until the technology improves. But the industry is looking up. Start-ups Gankai and OnLive have turned heads with unexpected success, including OnLive partnering with fifty or more publishers. Upon release of OnLive, gaming journalists were ecstatic but skeptical of the execution, noting several lag inconsistencies. Though the technology was received favourably overall.
How the cloud works is rather simple. Instead of the picture running through the computer itself, the picture is rendered to a remote farm and projected back to the computer screen. This reduces the stress on CPU-related tasks, thus allowing any capable computer to play high-end PC games. It's an amazing bit of technology, and if marketed precisely, could become the future method of online gaming.
Remember those annoying 13-year-old kids who scream and flail their arms when dying in Halo and blaming lag? Well I can't guarantee the kids will disappear, but small children can now rest easy because the cloud is here to save the day. Because everyone's connection is broadcasting from the same server, all players are competing on the same transmission. Same Internet speed, no lag. Simple as pie. And delicious too. I like lag-free games. (Insert obligatory "pie in the sky" quip here.)
E3 was a dud this year, but the announcement of cloud gaming on the consoles is a huge leap forward for the industry. And this is just the beginning. As OnLive and competitors add users, more innovation is necessary to expand the player base. Then consoles are surely to follow.
Do you guys like the implementation of the cloud as the new standard for online gaming? If not, what are some ways you would improve online gaming?