Wave Foam – “The Big White Elephant”
Cloud computing has just become the hottest new buzz word for the industry. Like the mythic Phantom platform, the OnLive system comes with the promise of solving every single problem ever known to players. No more costly consoles and games, no more installations, DRM issues or complex hardware configurations, no more wasted trips to the local store to get a game, or long download times for the newest Steam-powered game; OnLive solves every one of this problems. And guarantying a rock-solid performance comparable to that of locally running an Xbox360, Playstation 3 or high-end PC, with 720p, 60 FPS, and 5.1 sound. OnLive could just as well be a player’s wet dream… and like all wet dreams it belongs in the world of fantasy and fiction. At least that is what everybody with some technical background in computer/network engineering will tell you, as the extensive, detailed Eurogamer/DigitalFoundry article shows.
If further evidence was needed, now you can have it. David Perry (notable game designer behind “Eartworm Jim” and “MDK”) is leading OnLive’s competition in the cloud computing business, with his own Gakai. He just released a new demo video, and once again, there’s a Eurogamer/DigitalFoundry article that thoroughly analyzes it. The big difference between Gakai and OnLive, is that Gakai shows off credible results considering the currently available technology. No smoke and mirrors, no outrageous promises, bold PR statements or seedy business models. Gakai seems down to earth, credible, and doesn’t aim for the moon. It allows games to be run in any computer, through a web browser page, with medium quality results. Audio is stereo with a quality level similar to low-tier MP3; visually intensive games run decently enough, even though there appears to be lag and some noticeable FPS drops; older, less technically impressive games, run in lower resolution screens, but get a pretty steady performance at 30 FPS. And this is in a controlled demo environment. If this medium-quality service already encounters some performance issues, think about OnLive, with its super high end quality standards! Perhaps then you can realize how unrealistic the OnLive proposition really is. Despite that, (almost) all of the media ran the OnLive story with minimum amounts of scepticism. Just serves to show how technically prepared most media outlets are.