IGDA chief: Cloud gaming costs to rise

Cloud gaming services will increase development costs and ultimately increase costs of games to consumers, head of game developers' association says.

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Who was there: Gordon Bellamy, International Game Developers Association executive director.

What was said: Bellamy claimed that cloud gaming is "set to revolutionise the industry." Download speeds are on the rise around the world, and this means that the amount of bandwidth needed to stream games is finally becoming "palatable." Streaming also brings PC gaming to significantly more people as it lowers the barriers to entry, with device specifications becoming much less of a factor.

The Crysis franchise is still held up as the gold standard for graphical fidelity and hardware-taxing software, according to Bellamy.

Advancing mobile technology--specifically 4G LTE networks--means that mobile devices present a significant opportunity for anyone to get into games. Cloud gaming, Bellamy said, would also become a main selling point for connected TVs and set-top boxes, and this will mean that games will reach homes that wouldn't have purchased a console otherwise. Finally, browser-based games are going to continue to improve, and the next generation of social games in the cloud will see massive improvements in terms of performance and graphics, thanks to advances in standards.

Tiered data systems and data caps have the potential to disrupt this, Bellamy said, pointing out that as carriers and ISPs continue to restrict their customers' access, the real cost of cloud gaming to consumers could increase. This means that companies need to be aware of potential bandwidth limitations and be "nimble" so that they're not caught out.

However, it's not all good news for gamers. An "increase in software cost" is inevitable with cloud services, he said--and the increase in digital distribution services such as Valve's Steam and EA's Origin will help cut down used-game sales. This increase in cost will be passed on to both developers and consumers. The new technology will result in a need for more staff and more expertise, which naturally leads to increased development costs. Publishers will increasingly sell cloud features as extras for disc-based games and will use this to allow them to charge a premium for those services.

Takeaway: Cloud gaming is in the process of revolutionising the industry but has the potential to increase the cost of games for consumers even as it reduces hardware costs and other barriers to entry.

Discussion

50 comments
megakick
megakick

Internet is a long way from being perfect. Not crazy about having to be connected to use content.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

Cloud gaming is the future, and no, it won't increase costs in the right time. But that's not for now, we gotta have 100Mbs connections everywhere before.

ragnar320
ragnar320

whats really interesting is that ppl have been talking about how cloud gameing has rapidly been increasing but all the comment below this seem to hate cloud gameing and i think its safe to say that the majority are hard core vid game players. personally i kinda like steam it makes it simple to get a pc game i want cause the only local stores that sell pc games by me are best buy and i guess target and they only have big name devs or games with those big names so steam makes it simple for me to get pc games that arent as big as a deal. and example is Anno 2070 and Swords of the Stars 2 (dispite its epic fail of a beggining). both great games but games idk where id buy unless i drove for an hour and half to a frys and maybe they might have it. i honestly dont understand what cloud has to do with video games. does it have to do with having to download the game and the amount of data you need to download it to play it

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

Cloud gaming works well for some types of games, but the latency makes it so shooters just don't feel responsive enough. And like this article says, ISPs and carriers keep restricting the amount of data that people are able to use. There's no way I would be able to play BF3 on a cloud service the same way I do now; it would eat up hundreds of gigs of data, which Comcast would not be happy with. Physical copies and installed games don't have this problem.

master_zidane
master_zidane

Yes, scrap cloud gaming. It's a foolish notion. I hate digital enough already, this is taking it too far.

Predwarrior
Predwarrior

@Takeno456: But you're not the only one. There's more than a few of us hardcore gamers against discontinuing physical copies. I say, let people have the option for cloud gaming if they want it, but don't restrict us to it or there will be hell to pay. Do not take away our right to play a game we own without connecting to your servers and do not take away the used game market.

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

What's the problem now? I prefer my physical copies, I read most people think that way, we know all the drawbacks of the cloud (internet speed, storage costs end up on you, ownership troubles since nothing is safe and hackers keep proving it all the time) And now they say it will cost them more? Then to hell with the cloud and all it's problems, and we can all be happy!

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

A many gamers and myself have brought this point up many times....... It's like being at a family reunion, and no one listens to your idea because you aren't as old as everyone else. 3 hours later, they finally figure out how the grill works, and only the grandparents have the right to tell everyone to shut up and say "Hey, the "kids" said that 3 hours ago!", even though the "kids" are 25+ years old.

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

"Cloud gaming costs to rise / Oceania always at war with Eastasia."

Takeno456
Takeno456

Don't want cloud gaming because it ultimately will limit my ability to have more control over my data and games. But I'm one gamer against a storm of kiddies who love the cloud so what I say doesn't really matter much.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@bizuit PS3 security and always on-line Ubisoft DRM also should've stopped piracy.But they didn't,just like many other things haven't done it before.No protection is impenetrable,how many times has that been proven already? Also,trying to stop piracy is just one of the reasons for cloud gaming,the biggest reason is total control over the games you play,since you wouldn't own them,cloud providers would make all the rules,and of course,make many rip-offs...

bizuit
bizuit

@Rocker6, it's pretty hard to steal a game that requires constant internet connection, going to be exclusive to consoles (I'm not talking about PC's) and thus will be almost impossible to download and if you do figure out how to download it you will still have to be connected to the internet to play it, all of this work will eliminate 99% of piracy, when will you people figure out that the thought of no piracy is what is driving the developers to this?

soulless4now
soulless4now

I'll refuse to conform to cloud gaming until the very end.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@Rocker6 I said this because I saw things like this before, and I knew a few hackers and we often talked about this( and they even did this before ), that's why I know about this. Besides like yourself said cloud computing has its flaws, and to me cloud computing is the most unsafe form of business that was ever created, you left all your data online 24/7, with a constant risk of theft, and imagine yourself trying to use Word on your computer and not being able because there's too many people online, or six months to finish a 70$ game because of internet cap.

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

Pricing for games need to drop anyways. I don't see how removing a large cost (packaging, shipping, discs) option should make things more expensive. The gaming market is starting to look exactly like Apple.

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

I use onlive only to demo games. If it comes to this cloud gaming then so be it I'll have to adjust, but I don't want my discs to go the way of the dodo. I like owning PHYSICAL mechandise.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@Landsharkk I agree, increased sales with far less distribution necessary and less manufacturing of physical copies means they should be getting a decent profit but we always seem to get them wanting more money. Cloud gaming isn't really worth paying for either. I moved to PC just because the games were cheaper and now they want to raise them because the ultra successful steam is costing money? Screw this, I smell money grubbing and excuses.

doomonger
doomonger

@drswank I agree with drswank. I didn't ask for cloud nor am I using it. Not even one bit! Over 80 games on Steam, not even once I used cloud. So, instead of raising the price of games, they should charge for cloud and people who want to use it and then find a way to distribute the gains to developers... or something like that.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

So, they are getting more money on brand new game sales (due to lack of used games available thanks to steam, etc), but then they are turning around and saying consumers have to pay more because it costs more to stream/digital distribute games? How about the money saved from having to physically manufacture and ship these new games? Is that factored in there?

wastinnaziscum
wastinnaziscum

well it's safe to say if people are getting poorer and games become more expensive.... sales are only gonna go down.

drswank
drswank

Any excuse to raise the price, right? I didn't ask for cloud gaming. People only offered it for free.

raimgamer
raimgamer

Crap, $70 games, here we go.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@Sohereiam Can't comment on that,I was just theoretically speaking,since pirates have been a part of the gaming industry forever,only recently more attention has been given to issues they create. However,I know a single more powerful hack attack could permanently destroy a cloud server,users losing all their games and data,possibly even personal info,and the provider going bankrupt due to trust issues.Cloud computing brings in many flaws,for me the concept is unacceptable...

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@jamyskis pirating cloud products is easier than it sounds, all the pirates have to do is create a backdoor to the main server, because in order to scan the main server they to disconnect and restart the system, and when they restart, the backdoor disappears, which will make extremely difficult to find the pirates and specially the pirate users, and if they use proxy servers it will be even more difficult, cloud computing will generate a golden age of piracy.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@HapiJoel Hahaha! Oh well there you have it. The UK will no longer be able to play games :P

Rocker6
Rocker6

@jamyskis Read my first post.Im well aware what cloud gaming is,and no,Im not refering to cloud saves. As I said,piracy is always there,and who knows what could happen,maybe pirates would start their own pirated servers of some sort? Don't expect them to give up easily,that's all Im saying... Also,while Im fully against cloud gaming without other options,would it kill gaming as a mainstream entertainment is highly debatable...

jamyskis
jamyskis

@Rocker6: Cloud gaming - as in the streaming sort, not the sort where your saves are stored in the cloud - is guaranteed to kill piracy, because none of the data except the end image ever ends up on your TV or monitor. The problem is that cloud gaming won't just kill piracy. It'll kill gaming as a mainstream entertainment medium altogether and return it to the niche interest that it was in the early 1980s. That being said, I expect this cloud gaming insanity to have been dead and buried by this time next year when investors start pulling their funding.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

I don't understand this article at all. It sounds like MBA talk, the sort of "we'll charge you more for less" garbage that everyone is used to hearing these days. If cloud gaming isn't cost effective compared to something like Steam or even Origin, where you get unfettered access to titles you download, then it's not viable. Higher cost isn't some poison pill you take in exchange for a service which in all honestly probably won't be noticeably different from services already in place; it's outright evidence that the model is inefficient for the customer and doesn't work.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

The current data caps will limit the growth of the cloud. and the cost of maintaining Cloud "City" but if they don't rush it to much the Cloud can grow and thrive. Seem it will be more expensive for the gamer in the long run.

emperiox
emperiox

This guy is so full of it... "Production costs are up!", oh yeah, you mean the discs, manuals, and plastic cases, and retail fees? Woops I almost forgot that those aren't included because it's all digital and you have complete control over pricing when it's on your cloud platform. Let's not forget the record breaking numbers in sales during a recession. This guy is seriously a greedy dbag. HE IS LYING TO YOU. DON'T LET HIM MISLEAD YOU!

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Wait, I've heard two things about cloud gaming... "it's cheaper because there is no packaging!" and now "it's more expensive because of technology!" Which is it? I tend to believe publishers' desire to increase retail prices and profit is the ONLY reason they are crying about increased costs. I think they are making that part up to make more money.

DitchyJ
DitchyJ

@pszone could you post a link for that information? The next gen xbox will still use hard copy games as any other console. Cloud gaming will just be another *App* for the console, and will also be on the next PS & Wii. It will be there for people who want to use it. As mentioned and I agree...cloud gaming is good, but will be another few years to be at a near perfect state, and even then its not to everyones taste. I personally do not mind it, and use Onlive now and then (I even have the mini console with the wierd Xbox/PS3 Controller hybrid lol)...can even plug a keyboard and mouse in and play it HD on my 47 inch if I want...but a bigger screen for streaming does not make it look crisp at this moment in time. :/

Rocker6
Rocker6

@bizuit When will you ppl understand how piracy is simply an unavoidable part of probably any entartainment industry,and while negative,its staying there? If cloud gaming comes,we would probably be free of piracy for a year,maybe two,but then,someone would find some way to pirate,and we're back where we started,nothing changes...

Rocker6
Rocker6

I would never accept cloud gaming.Im a PC gamer,and I even stay away from digital distribution,despite it being cheaper. Even though my retail copies are sadly plagued by DRMs and one time only activations(yep,Steam is a DRM too,and many PC SP games don't have an option of removal,which I hate since I don't want third party apps for my games),but I still like to have them as some insurance,and I also enjoy traditional buying methods of actually going to a store,checking out what's new,and buying a few games! I want to OWN a game,not pay for a permission to play it while its somewhere far outside of my reach and control! EDIT:I suppose cloud gaming would also destroy any sort of user generated content in PC games,like mods...

Wula_
Wula_

I tried a couple of those cloud services for free. My takeaway from the experience, the games look and run better on my own rig then some large data center miles away. The cloud services tend to have 1-2 second input lag and fuzzy imaging. And yes I got HDMI and I play everything at 1080p. Also I use steam..... so obtaining games is super affordable. So my verdict. They got a long way to go before I even consider dropping a single cent on them. Till then services like onlive are great to get a 30 min laggy demo.

pszone
pszone

I feel soz for xbox fans since they going to get cloud gameing in full on next xbox and ps4 doing half cloud gameing. I welcome this move because it will get up pp butts and go to game store or gamestop. to buy games in your hands. I use cloud gameing for rare classcis and rare ps1 and ps2 games and some add ons and demos that it i dont buy ps3 games i go to the game store for that. They try to keep pp buy games in the shops or clouding to pp wont lose there jobs. And pre ownd games go to do with the cost its going up since pubishlers need extra cash so its only fair really.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

"Tiered data systems and data caps have the potential to disrupt this, Bellamy said, pointing out that as carriers and ISPs continue to restrict their customers' access, the real cost of cloud gaming to consumers could increase." Point of order: AT&T is an investor of OnLive. As for the rest: Steam? It's been around since 2003 and has only proved to be a boon in digital distribution in terms of passing savings onto the customer. I'm sure Valve has had to introduce and develop new tech over the years, but they've never had to pass that cost on to their members. As for streaming, in terms of gaming, it can only fold in on itself. It certainly is one thing to stream non-interactive media. However, trying to find a balance between ISP limitations, acceptable latency of video/control, and video/audio quality, is a fool's errand. Streaming games can only fail as it improves because the cost will be too great for both the company and the gamer.

destinyDemon
destinyDemon

unfortunantly i cant even have cloud gaming as my phone exchange is the smallest in Britain and hasn't been upgraded so i cant have fast internet or decent download speeds i think its stupid that cloud gaming restricts what internet speeds are allowed to use it

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

@warhawk-geeby I like in central London and the connections STILL balls.

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

Cloud gaming is a phantom for DRM. It's rather obvious why some publishers are suddenly on the cloud train even when no financially successful method of delivery has been produced in the current retail climate. As for OnLive, its original investor is Warner Bros., a SOPA supporter. You call this a revolution? Revolutions are created by the people, the consumer -- not corporations trying to restrict us. We are moving backwards in consumer rights and options, at the same time, giving up too much of our privacy. Will we go from owning the games we buy to just digitally renting them for the same price? Not if angry gamers could help it. We will fight this.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Yay! I pay more and get less! What will I read on the toilet if I don't get a games manual with my games? I'm not printing off a 26 page pdf just for simple toilet time boredom.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Well considering the average internet connection in the UK sucks (unless you live in a city) then I'd rather cloud gaming didn't become the norm. And anyways, you still can't beat having a stack of boxes on the shelf and the little books to go with them :) Pre-orders can sometimes get you nice merchandise to go with it, if everything goes Cloud though pre-orders will be poop. Much prefer a disc personally!

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@GreenReuben Just Digital Distribution alone already causes similar problems, Cloud Computing onl enhance them.

GreenReuben
GreenReuben

Cloud based gaming is an awful idea, it could work small scale but if it replaces CD's then gaming will fall into ruin. Internet connections aren't good enough globally, people like me in places like New Zealand wont be able to stream the higher quality games and unlimited broadband is being phased out in places throughout the world. Why should I have to waste broadband to play a single player game i.e Skyrim. Not to mention if there is an equivalent to the psn mishap and people are not only able to play their games but also lose any purchasing records. I am traditionally a console gamer but cloud based gaming may take over there as well, I don't feel nintendo will take that route (partially due to the fact that their next console has already been announced) hopefully sony will understand the drawbacks (secrurity will become a huge issue and will inevitably cause them to charge users to maintain constant updates) I believe cloud gaming will be the way microsoft will go. Cloud gaming will have huge drawbacks to gamers and everybody involved in getting games to us (publishers, manufacturers, exporters, distributers, online stores and retail outlets) effectively putting a lot of people out of a job or slowing down business, we're trying to come out of a global recession destroying jobs wont help us.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

These developers don't seem to realize that not everyone can be connected to the internet ALL THE TIME. And ESPECIALLY not at such high speeds. I think Cloud gaming is something interesting but I've certainly NOT heard anything that gives me any confidence in the concept to begin with. I think there is some potential there that could be used for good purpose however I don't think anyone has come up with a really great idea for how to use it in a fun and revolutionary way. And considering how ISP's are getting more expensive and more restrictive, it's ridiculous to think that gamers will want to hop onto the idea of streaming gaming video which will cost LOADS of bandwidth and require large data plans (if the ISP restricts the amount), not to mention the obvious fact that if the person loses their internet for a while, they're SOL on playing any of their games in the first place! At least on Steam I can go to a wifi hotspot, download some stuff and go home and play offline if I had to...Thankfully that's not usually the case, but at least i'm given the option to do that.

bizuit
bizuit

I understand why develops love the concept of cloud gaming, no longer need to worry about piracy and it would be almost impossible to steal the games, but currently the internet is way to unreliable for cloud gaming.

jamyskis
jamyskis

Bellamy is living in a dream world. Exactly how does he expect to be able to sell a service that is inherently inferior by far to the real thing when it costs more than the real thing. It's no good him and his friends blaming ISPs with their data caps - I don't like them either, but bandwidth costs money, and while services like this eat up horrendous amounts of bandwidth, these costs still need to be recovered. In any case, nothing is going to be "revolutionised" in the gaming industry while the standard of quality set in the market is so low at present. While the industry continues to antagonise its customers in the way that it is doing, nothing will improve.

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

Internet connections are NEVER as reliable as the industry seem to think they are, and the number of server issues with the majority of new online releases this year prove they cant even prepare just part of the gaming experience properly before release (say what you want about cut dev times, thats a different article all together) Cloud gaming may revolutionise something, but personally I don't mind forking out £50 for a physical copy of a game. Smaller games I'll download sure, but not something like a AAA title.

Lhomity
Lhomity

Another nail in the coffin cloud-based gaming will inevitably rot in, deservedly. The entire concept is plain silly. You can pay to play all games with latency, never own or possess them and lose everything if the service is ever ceased or hacked, and if the servers are down for any reason at all, you can't play anything. Not to mention internet bills that are already depressing for most people.