Dyack predicts 'end of the golden era of video games'

GDC Europe 2009: Silicon Knights' founder believes that cloud computing will "profoundly affect the games industry forever."

COLOGNE, Germany--Such services as OnLive and Gaikai have had their share of headlines recently. They promise to almost totally remove the need for local computer hardware, with video and audio processing happening on a computer in a remote location. Part of the greater IT trend known as cloud computing, it is a system that's not without its doubters thanks to concerns about latency, financial viability, and other concerns. However, Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack is a huge believer in the concept and claims that in 20 years time, cloud computing will be dominant.

I wandered lonely as as... how does that go again?

Controversially, Dyack completely dismissed the problem of lag--claiming that they're not even real issues at all. "If I were one of these companies, I'd be looking at putting hardware into every major city, which would completely eradicate any lag problems," he said. He believes in the concept so much, in fact, that he even went on to say, "2009 may be the end of the golden era of video games as the first cloud models for games are announced."

Cloud computing tends to be popular among developers, in part because it eliminates the traditional issues of piracy and second-hand game sales--two complaints that frequently come up among discussions on the state of PC gaming at GDC and other similar industry events. "When you stop a manufacturing run and you see more and more games picked up, you know you're not getting royalties--it's very frustrating," Dyack said. “Obviously, cloud computing eradicates these problems.”

For those concerned that Silicon Knights may be about to give up on traditional consoles though, fear not. "Silicon Knights will continue to do console games as long as they're profitable," he said. He also continued to refer to Too Human as a trilogy, suggesting that work is still underway on a sequel to the original game, which received lukewarm critical and commercial reception. "We may also do a remake of Cyber Empires," Dyack said, referring to an update of the first game the studio ever put out.

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228 comments
Yoshi
Yoshi

Does anyone talk about how this will effect modding? I guess the only way for it to work would be fore the cloud company to add the mod to thier list - which means you would only get "dev" approved mods. Also, I like owning a game - a concept that may be on its way out. With a subscription plan - if I stop paying then I can not longer play anything. Not a great future in my opinion. Anyone else think gamers will be the getting the very short end of the stick on this one? Who wins with this? Publishers, the cloud company and people who won't pony up for a good system but want to play brand new games with all the options turned up. The rest of us lose.

osiris
osiris

lag or no lag. The way PC gaming is going, it'll take until patch 1.6 to get cloud computing to work half decently...

system3142
system3142

Let me guess. So 20 years from now, when cloud computing is the new sex, you won't HAVE to pay $99 for a PS2, $299 or $399 for 360's, $whatever for WoW subscriptions or invest heavily in $1200 PCs? What? You'll have to instead pay $30 a month for the low end package, $60 a month for the deluxe multi-player package or $99.99 a month for the uber-sexed up will-jack-you-off-as-you-play-Master-Chief-edition with the higher than high latency buff up? Oh, then there's the downloadable content, the movies, the trailers, the videos and the exclusives? Cha-ching. $2000 per year. Try making that one fly.

Indiscrimi
Indiscrimi

I guess he means that, in the future, game companies will have gamers by the...you know. No more videogame piracy, no more second hand games; we'll have to do things their way. That sounds like the end of a golden age to me.

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

I was expecting something like the golden era of video games to end... however to be replaced by remote video games and the end of consoles... hmmm isn't the article title a bit misleading? I thought they mean Consoles and Video Games on the whole would be wiped out. Cloud computing?

OXM-Madman
OXM-Madman

@ Flavour666 "Honestly people, we can barely stream 720p video in acceptable quality with several seconds of pre-load time, and now all of a sudden we will be able to play games with 60fps, no input lag at super-picture quality using the SAME infrastructure? Whoever believes in that crap is seriously mentally challenged." Yes, we are suddenly able to play games at 60fps without lag. Because we AREN'T using the same infrastructure. The difference is that super powerful, $10k + PCs are running and rendering the games FOR YOU, and just streaming it as a high-quality live video. Note they keyword LIVE: They load and run MUCH faster than any video hosting website. Here's an example: Have you ever noticed that with YouTube vids when you don't have the best connection you have to wait for it to load, yet with webcams they stream instantly? Same thing.

TH3_WR417H
TH3_WR417H

The only way the can make TooHuman 2 is if the revamp everything in it and let you keep your characters. but that contole system has to be reworked.

dukerav
dukerav

Maybe I am old fashioned here, but, I would rather have a console and or computer to game on that I can turn on or off when I choose.

GabeBlack
GabeBlack

They are still working on a sequel to that horrible game? Dude. It was so bad I don't even think anyone wanted to pirate it

mr_emmezzy
mr_emmezzy

I for one would love OnLive to work as advertised, but how can they guarantee lag will not happen, or is not a problem when reliability of your ISP determines lag issues?

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

" What do NVIDIA and ATI do after all the super computers are built? " The thing is - that moment is faaar in the future.

fatpumba3
fatpumba3

What the hell is "cloud computing"? Can someone please tell me?

X-RS
X-RS

Jinzo, i couldnt agree more.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Too Human was decent but it got old after an hour. I can't imagine playing the whole trilogy if they continue like they did with the first game. As for cloud computing, I can't really say a lot because I don't know a lot about it. Steam is doing pretty well against pirates, or at least for Valve games it is because every single time you play a Valve game through Steam it authenticates your copy of the game... no need for cloud computing there. Other developers on Steam can opt for a less-strict authentication policy with Steam. I don't think cloud computing will take off. It's too risky and it's too much of a gamble with the way the economy works. What do NVIDIA and ATI do after all the super computers are built? What will all of the gaming hardware manufacturers do after they're all built? What do sites like Newegg do when people no longer have a need to buy hardware? It saves the consumer money but when has it ever been about the consumer's wallets with an industry as big as or maybe even bigger than Hollywood? What happens when someone finds a way to hack into these super computers? What happens if they corrupt the files in such a way that every computer who connects to them gets viruses from them? Where there's a will, there's a way, and as far as I'm concerned it's one big invitation for hackers to try and buck the system and can/will wreak all kinds of havoc if/when they do.

OrionNM
OrionNM

In the future, lag won't be an issue. That's very true, I seldom have lag with just a standard DSL connection. Imagine what the future will hold for our connections. I, for one, love Too Human and am very excited to hear that there is hope for the trilogy to still be released.

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

Remora you aren't reading this right or you didn't read it. He's not saying video games are on a decline, but video games on a console you OWN personally may be done with within 2009. Cloud computing is actually a very fascinating topic, it's basically wirelessly connecting to a super computer to play games (or I suppose you could write a report or something else). The big concern I have is hackers. Now they wouldn't just be getting into your computer, they would be getting into an entire cities worth of computers.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Shoot, its easy to predict so far in the future. Obviously anything is possible but then you run into cable and phone companies who won't upgrade old lines nor make it cheap for services, I don't see this working out well. Shoot, I still waiting for a base on the Moon and hover cars.

Remora133
Remora133

the "golden age" may end, but games will never slow down. im only 21, and i wont stop gaming until im dead

GSgirl
GSgirl

Yeah right! what ever you say Denis Dyack (who cares)

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

the gaming history is written, or least what I was told, the golden age of gaming already died 20 years ago...

GrimGravy
GrimGravy

you can still hook it up to your pc and play with your monitor and keyboard you just dont have to drop a ton of money for upgrades and you will always be able to play the game at max.

Bane_v2
Bane_v2

Pfft...cloud computing. You'll have to pry my gaming PC from my cold, dead hands.

Caml10
Caml10

"Don't worry, Silicon Knights will continue making console games"? That's why I am worried...

zuljin11
zuljin11

Wow. And you all heard it here first from... err.... some person who presumably has something to do with video games because this is a video game site. Obviously people pirate such great Games as Cyber Empires and Too Human because they are such AAA titles. Not at all because they aren't worth the money. And yeah, Cloud Computing would be great for things like Bejewelled leagues and maybe even multiplayer centric FPS like Team Fortress but for really GOOD games, you want to have the disk so even when the creator goes out of business you can still tinker on it. Dungeon Keeper, Monkey Island anyone?

TurboGuru
TurboGuru

"Controversially, Dyack completely dismissed the problem of lag--claiming that they're not even real issues at all. "If I were one of these companies, I'd be looking at putting hardware into every major city, which would completely eradicate any lag problems," yeah lag is soo overrated, we all have perfect 99.99% internet connections with no lag what so ever.... is this guy honestly for real? ... If I was an ISP I would route pure fibre all the way to the homes ... I know in some countries this actually exists, but for most of us the logistics and cost stop us from doing so... so in other words, hell yes it is an issue - I really don't understand why he would so say something so stupid. Then again I feel sorry for him, anyone remember that time he was on the 1up podcast and starting crying over the fact that his game got a rubbish score, he then went into some psycho debate about humans..... seriously it was enough to freak me out....... lol what a joke.

RawDeal_basic
RawDeal_basic

After releasing "Too Human", I wouldn't take these toolbags serious. They're just butthurt because their crappy game got bad reviews.

player_leo
player_leo

I believe this might roll out sooner than later. Maybe in the next 10 years, not 20 by the way technology is movnig ahead.

Merl57
Merl57

people the turn to account hacking you can't win any battle of arms every obstacle has a way to be defeated

Deluhathol
Deluhathol

To be absolutely brutally honest, after playing some of Too Human I don't really care what this guy thinks about the gaming industry. That game only proved that he has no idea how to make a decent video game ; why should I listen to his predictions of future tech? That said, making long term technological predictions in any industry has been shown time and time again to be a fruitless and often humiliating endeavour ; just don't even try, the fact of the matter is NO ONE has any idea WHAT the hell is going to happen in FIVE years time, let alone 20.

Draaagoon
Draaagoon

I have to agree with others that this statement is not particularly controversial or that interesting. Consdering a console generation lasts 5-10 years, claiming something that is in devolpment now will be the main format in 20 years time is ridiculous. In the past couple of years we have jumped from being happy with hitting that 1mb broadband connection to saying 20-50mb is "ok". And tech wise look at Natal, 20 years ago who would have thought you would be interacting with a computer using only your body movements, thats if it works of course.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

I just move with whatever direction gaming moves in. Piracy is a big issue though and there needs to be some way to combat it permanantly. However, second hand has been a part of sales since human beings actually started selling things. Trying to stamp that out is taking away our freedom to choose and I resent anything that tries to do that.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

If I have a game that is actually worth keeping even if I've completed it so many times, I'll keep it for sentimental value in the comfort of my own home. I'd rather the hard copy. If I don't like the game I can always trade in for another or put the money value on a gift card and save up. Simple as.

shkar
shkar

at first he made me sad by saying that console gaming will end soon because that means that people who don't have good internet should say good bye to gaming... Then he made me happy by saying that there is a sequel to TOO HUMAN because unlike the reviews I really enjoyed that game and sure the story needs a follow up because u know LOKI is still out there...

kugliim
kugliim

I'm with Andy_Lyall in this one. In 20 year we'll be using some completely new format that will make gaming cheaper for the publishers to creating (i.e. discs and boxes). Not to harp on about the old days but what about the old cartridges. USB flash memory is getting cheaper and cheaper with larger and larger capacities. What's to say we'll be plugging in one of them to play new games. Less moving parts, faster disc read times, indestructable (nearly anyway)... I need to write this down some where. This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionnaires.

andy_lyall
andy_lyall

Isn't everyone of the opinion that 'Yeah, sure, this will all be great and wonderful but not for 20 years'? I don't think his opinion is particularly unique or even controversial. Compare tech from 20 years ago to now. Frankly, the reason I doubt it'll all happen with cloud computing is that it genuinely won't work for 20 years and by then there will be something significantly better.

lee1823
lee1823

i really dont know if this is a good thing. i know for sure that i wouldnt be interested in on-demand gaming. i like owning my games, not renting them. i also like owning a console that has power under the hood. this kind of gaming could be acheived through a set top box (and will probably take this form if introduced). if the game is running from a super server, the hardware you will have will only be a conduit. another thing people have to think of is the effect it will have on hardware sales. There will always be people out there like us that buy their games legit, but there will also be people who buy a certain console just because it inadvertantly supports piracy. long story short - some people will only buy consoles that you can get flashed / chipped etc to play pirated games. if thats not an option to them.... you're looking at decreased hardware sales.

Willceace
Willceace

What does he know? His companies latest efforts have shown how inept they are. Too human was a stake through gaming's heart.

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

@ penpusher Yeah, sadly that's true my friend. A lot of people out there do think like that I suppose. I'm gonna give the pirates a little more credit though and say they don't think they created Zelda just because they downloaded a Zelda game. Stealing is stealing though and they are wrong there for sure, and as you say I'm sure there are some out there that think they literally own the rights to it. The last game I bought was Empire: Total War and the only part of that I think I own is the disk I paid 60 bucks for. It would be nice to own some stock in the company though and maybe make a little money in the long run :)

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

i hate that they complain about second hand game sales, once you buy a product its yours to keep or sell. are we all supposed to buy everything new!? cloud computing sounds fine for business applications or websites but not games, i'd rather have my unique console instead of some bland experience.

penpusher
penpusher

@RavenXavier I agree with you but on the question of "Who would think that because they bought a game they own the rights like they made it themselves?" unfortunatly plenty of people believe they do, hence we have pirates

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

@ supernaught360 um.....dude...No. I'm talking about "owning" the Disk You Buy. Not owning rights to making the game. Who would think that because they bought a game they own the rights like they made it themselves? That's retarded. Put a little more thought into things before you treat someone like a moron, it just makes you look ignorant or stupid. Even my 12 year old little cousin knows better then to think she owns the creator's rights to her barbie dolls just because she bought one...LoL

Silenthps
Silenthps

uh... the golden era ended years ago.

penpusher
penpusher

I dont like the idea of cloud computing. For one thing I like the idea of paying £250 for the hardware and then paying only as much and as often as i need to in order to get games for the console. I do not, however, like the idea of paying for the hardware and then being forced to pay what may well be a heafty monthly fee to maintain access to the servers in order to play whenever I want. Infact I'd go as far as to say that if this became the norm gaming would become far less profitable. for example: me and my friend already pay 200 rent each, roughly 150 in bills (minimum a month) and 120 in tax plus £15 internet plus other unexpected expenditures, if we were told we would have to pay a monthly fee to access games we may only use every now and then we would tell them,,,nay we would SHOW them where they can stuff their cloud computing. Far too damned expensive in the long run for those of us on low income, i prefer my xbox 360 anyday

KBABZ
KBABZ

super, I didn't mean a love affair, I mean an attachment like you would to any other item. Many skaters, for instance, would have an attachment to the board that they use, and by your definition they don't 'own' the board, they just own the rights to use one (even though that would be inaccurate). Video Games I feel are a bit different. When I buy a game, I buy a copy of something they've made themselves to enjoy as I see fit, however making money out of copying the game is wrong. I don't 'own' the game in the sense that I can use the game engine, characters, models, textures etc for my own use. This could apply to something such as a painting. I could buy a copy of the painting from the artist's distributor to hang on my wall, maybe give it to my friends. or burn it in a fire, but I am not allowed to copy it and make profit out of it (copy in this case meaning to make an exact replica via scanning or other means, not painting my own version that looks very similar). Also, under your rules, we are not legally allowed to buy a video game and give it to a friend as a birthday present, as we would be giving somebody access to a game that they have not paid for themselves, but I haven't heard of any companies suing anybody or making a big fuss over it. I didn't assess your post on factual merit because I assumed that it was factually sound, and the pain med comment was more a joke than an insult. Finally, it's KBABZ with a B, not an R, and in all caps.

smbius
smbius

Too Human sucked

gamer082009
gamer082009

If they can barely make multiplayer games lag free, I seriously don't know how servers miles away from people's homes is gonna make things better. And most people have subpar connections, so to me there's too many limitations for this to actually be looked at as a console killer. It's just not the case. And all it is, is to grab headlines.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

I loved Eternal Darkness, but I hated Too Human! I'm not a fan of this "cloud computing" and I hope it really doesn't become a reality,simply because I enjoy having my gaming console and would like to chose on whether or not I want to log online to play, or play offline. Mr. Dyack seems extremely intelligent yet sometimes ridiculous with some of his remarks, so I'll hope that his belief in a cloud computing industry is a far fetched reality.

aboghannam
aboghannam

"He also continued to refer to Too Human as a trilogy, suggesting that work is still underway on a sequel to the original game" Best news I've heard in 09.