Streaming services 'the distant future' of cloud gaming - Microsoft

Xbox 360 maker's cloud evangelist tells GDC China that OnLive and Gaikai still need to overcome drawbacks for developers, from online penetration to focus on AAA PC titles.

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While Microsoft is still a major player in the console gaming market, the Xbox 360 maker is envisioning a future beyond the current set-top box model. In a talk at the Game Developers Conference China yesterday, Microsoft cloud evangelist Brian Prince called game streaming services like OnLive and Gaikai "the distant future of gaming in the cloud," according to a Gamasutra report.

Cloud-based features are gathering on the Xbox 360.

Those services are already up and running, but Prince said they face several limiting factors at present. For developers, he said the services' current focus on AAA PC games is a problem, as they are less likely to talk to companies interested in streaming other types of games. Additionally, the player base is limited by the requirement for high-speed Internet access, something which is not yet ubiquitous.

Although Prince considers streaming game services the far-flung future, he's still working on bringing cloud-based features to Microsoft's console in the present.

"You will be seeing things in the Xbox platform that's cloud specific," he told the audience. "I'm already doing it; it's really exciting, but I can't tell you about it or else I'll get fired."

Microsoft has already revealed cloud-based game saves as a feature intended for an upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard update.

Discussion

116 comments
darkeyez81
darkeyez81

@Athlos94 and you know what happens when your discs get damaged or stolen. There's no definitive secure way of having games whether it's physical or digital.

couchtater12345
couchtater12345

Cloud based game saves: Yours for $60/month. But seriously, they better have harddrives otherwise I'm going to be pissed

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

Could be true, but I can't respect a company that tries to make it so. Streaming gaming (a la OnLive) is an absolutely horrible idea. It affords the publishers complete control over a product, and you own nothing. I will use such services.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

predicted this years ago, paying to simply play the games off the devs servers. no CD's, no media. no downloading even. just stream over the web either pay to 60 bucks for one playthorugh. or pay a few bucks for each visit HORRIBLE idea though, and just a more ruthless attempt to fight piracy (and have more control over the gamer) i've already pretty much stopped gaming, save for a few titles. when this happens i quit completely

mario-nin-freak
mario-nin-freak

Interesting... But what would I do without being able to go into a store and look at all the games :cry: That's where most Nintendo's marketing is, so I doubt they will do that. But Microsoft, they probably will...

CFritzRun
CFritzRun

I know that gaming is heading in the cloud streaming direction but I hate it. I work in a retro game store and, honestly, I like having a tangible item in hand. Sure you can just get emulators and what not but it feels synthetic. It lacks the full experience. It kind of takes away from the inherent value of something when you pay money for an intangible sequence of ones and zeros.

tevic
tevic

I fear that in the future every big game will be running on servers like WOW is now... but even for solo play. I don't know if it will happen but it's definitely what the game publishers seem to wish. That's really scary.

megakick
megakick

Onlive? Isn't great and has issues in general speeds are not fast enough for it to work like it should. Games saves and such is one thing but streaming games is another.

DreadfulGlory
DreadfulGlory

This is a good idea as far as space and accessibility goes. But ISPs will ruin it. And what is going to happen when Anonymous hacks the cloud servers?

Leakybubbles
Leakybubbles

NOOOO! Video games are buttons, physical discs, and consoles!!!!

Thisisstupid
Thisisstupid

If gaming goes cloud it'll probably kill gaming for me.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

Cloud gaming will never work, so long as ISPs continue with their current business model of caps and data throttling. OnLive itself - for 30 minutes of use - transfers roughly 1.63 GIGABYTES.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Ahhh no wait. Sussed it. If everything you own it stored using Cloud then Microsoft are clearly just planning a 'pay for usage' scheme. Much like XBL, except if you don't pay, you can't play :?

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Sure as hell better not go this way, where I live we can only just get decent enough broadband - fibre optic cables don't exist and streaming is pathetic. If this is the route that Microsoft want to go with their not console then that's another one of their machines I won't be buying. Supposing we had a screw up with the internet too? You wouldn't be able access the save files to your games? Hell no. I'm out.

DCUltrapro
DCUltrapro

no interest in cloud gaming here whatsoever for me. I like Steam I think that's a good service but I much prefer to play consoles and to own a game in my hands and not have to worry that a server might get hacked or that they might have a whim and discontinue a certain product. That's just me

prince__vlad
prince__vlad

playing through streaming is a stupid idea. I don't want to depend, playing a game in single player, of internet. I want my own copy , playing it on my own pc. Period. Screw consoles and this stupid streaming idea!

botroo3
botroo3

@rehtycs29 [QUOTE="rehtycs29"]my internet runs/downloads at a blazing 82 kbs, it would take days to get a single game if the cloud method was my only option [/QUOTE] i don't think you understand the concept of Cloud gaming, you don't have to download a copy of the game..."your" copy is stored at their servers you are only playing it through video streaming and remote control the game through the internet using your gamepad/keyboard... still you need at least 2Mb (200kbps) connection to stream an acceptable looking game..and still the game will look a lot worse than PS3/360 quality ,not to mention the lag that might occur.

Vodoo
Vodoo

@rehtycs29.... Are you serious? 82kbps??!!! It probably takes you 5 minutes to post a message on here, lol. I have 35Mbps and I want it faster. I also have 4 consoles, 5 laptops, 5 smartphones, 2 PC's and 2 smart tv's connected online at all times. Why don't you upgrade? The world is passing you by friend.

Athlos94
Athlos94

Having everything on internet may be great and all, but then what happens when it gets hacked? Il be sticking with discs as long as i can

rehtycs29
rehtycs29

my internet runs/downloads at a blazing 82 kbs, it would take days to get a single game if the cloud method was my only option

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Bandwidth isn't free, so cloud gaming isn't for a heavy gamer like myself, especially since I also stream a lot of videos. More cloud features will be good though; Steam's cloud has been useful to me on PC.

Evenios
Evenios

i have tried OnLive it actually is pretty good but their selection of games in the gamepack could be better. I think it could be the future honestly. if EA games did something like this it would be great :-p we'll see :-) but it could mean that more poeple could buy the games as they woudnt have to worry about getting a super powerful computer in order to play it!

steelmouth
steelmouth

personally am hang on to ma boxed games untill the very end,i prefair playing on solid ground no clouds for me

Flint247
Flint247

Cloud gaming is not a great idea because: 1. Not everyone has internet in their homes 2. Even if you have internet, you might experience technical problems 3. What's wrong with what we have now?

jamyskis
jamyskis

@Wizallah: So what benefit do you have from it completely eliminating piracy? That's a very naive standpoint, my friend. Piracy has been part of the industry as long as the industry has been around. It was omnipresent in the days of the C64, NES, ZX Spectrum, it was there when the Amiga and ST were kicking around, it was there when the PS1 was big. In fact, PS1 sales were astoundingly high, in spite of the rampant piracy on that platform. And believing that game prices will drop is also rather naive. It has been shown that game prices drop much more slowly on digital distribution platforms like Steam than on physical media. The only way prices will drop is if people stop buying, and if cloud gaming ever took off in the way you wanted to, they won't. There's a reason that they're giving away OnLive vouchers left, right and centre at the moment.

wildhoney66
wildhoney66

i'd rather own the games themselves & the systems than play them online. i grew up with it that way & i like it that way. the same goes for music, & movies & tv shows as well. books too etc.. you get my point.

Wizallah
Wizallah

"cloud Gaming" will completely eliminate piracy. That alone makes it worth it. Game prices will eventually drop. You can play your games on your tv, mobile device and computer without having to worry about your pc hardware being powerful enough to run games.

clqtte
clqtte

I still prefer real copy disc.....

jamyskis
jamyskis

One thing that has struck me about game publishers today is that, unlike many other industries, they seem to have developed some collective psychosis that the consumer will take anything they wish to offer us. The hammer legion mentality that has developed among some sectors - particular with regard to specific PS3, Xbox, Steam, Call of Duty, Blizzard, Battlefield, The Elder Scrolls etc. - has not helped this anywhat. Other industries develop products in accordance with what the customer wants and where the demand is. It's a natural reaction to market forces. The video gaming industry develops products that they think they can produce most cheaply, control the most and sell to us for the most money, and then sees fit to blame us, the consumer, for lacking foresight, being pirates or buying used when it doesn't sell so well. If the industry HAD been listening, they would have realised: nobody wants cloud streaming - except the tech-heads out there who are obsessed with having the latest technology, good or not - and even they will tire of it eventually.

stEElyDaN909
stEElyDaN909

I don't understand these people, saying they will quit gaming when services like this come online. Although there are definitely negatives, digital streaming prevents things like scratched, stolen or lost discs. The success of Steam is really a testament to how well this sort of system can work. In the distant future, when fast, cheap internet is more widely available, is having to play games over the internet really that big of a deal?

sulaymanqazi3
sulaymanqazi3

there are onlive fanboys and they can pis u off!

kyle_360
kyle_360

i don't like cloud gaming, it's like you don't even have any games, i'd rather have an acctual copy, or a virtua copy on steam

joder666
joder666

Well said by the dude the far distant future..... by then this all will be forgotten.

junyeyu
junyeyu

So I will essentially pay a premium for the right to access their server and whether they keep letting me play is up to their mercy? Thanks, but no thanks.

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

Consider this. I only have a certain amount of money I can spend on gaming each month (as I would assume many people do), just for arguements' sake lets say it's about 120 bucks. Now, my current, fairly slow internet is costing me about 35 dollars a month. To get cloud gaming compatible internet, I would likely have to shell out another 50-60 bucks. Since I have no other reason to upgrade my internet, that money has to come out of my gaming budget. And boom, there's 60 bucks a month out of developers' pockets and into my ISP's pocket. Why on earth would anyone in the industry want this?

soulless4now
soulless4now

Guess this means my future as a gamer is looking cloudy.

JasPlun
JasPlun

The day they quit making games on some sort of platform like discs or cartridges my gaming days will end.I have so many games as is I will never get bored anyway.I like the idea of owning something other than a download or streaming game.I tried OnLive and it Sucked the delay that you always feel while playing made me think nope this ain't gonna work.

Mr_arizona
Mr_arizona

No worries for a while anyways. If M$ started a live stream only service you know they'd lose a ton of people to Nintendo and Sony. Only thing that would worry me is if all the big gaming companies teamed up and did this together. But still won't be for for a long long time.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

All this crap they want to start doing totally depends on high speed internet and let me say I have DSL from at@t and its not very high speed. It never gets any faster and the prices just seem to go up. This streaming stuff is impossible unless you have super fast and super expensive internet speeds. I try to avoid downloading anything because even on dsl its super slow.

kb8618
kb8618

if Microsoft is willing to pay big telco companies in Canada to increase bandwidth limits (something that basically went the other way today) while keeping plans at the current prices, I'm willing to go cloud/non physical media. Other then that no thanks

Wula_
Wula_

I treat any digital product like a rental. If I pay $5-10 to get to play it more then a week I am satisfied. But if they demand $60 for the game + DLC + Subscription fees + crappy TOS + other BS. Then I am not interested. Steam right now is the best service in my POV for offering cheap games that you can download and backup to your rig with the lowest level of BS. Sure its not a cloud service or not yet at least. But other companies getting into the digital market really need to learn from what they are doing.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

i have used gakai and i will admit i was a skeptic of onlive but i have to admit it has grown on me.and i love them, but just like itunes, i am not much of a fan unless i am able to FEEL the game. to have it, to know it is mine. onlive is great, but what if the servers crash, or they go under? what if someone steals your ipod or computer? you no longer have what you purchased, just a memory. if onlive could work out a way to give you a copy of the game for a system of your choice, i would be more open to it.

VALikimlav
VALikimlav

Yeah I won't buy games that a company can take away access to at any time. I like my physical copies.

svaubel
svaubel

When retail gaming dies, i stop buying games.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@zpluffy That's what he said but you can't get to it unless you work toward it.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

Accessing the cloud on your Windows Phone 7 cell is called SkyDive. At first it didnt sink in.. then it hit me. Skydiving your storage right off the cloud and into your WP7. Clever naming service Microsoft.

DarxPhil
DarxPhil

Don't see why people are hating Cloud gaming, it's been inevitable that physical media will eventually no longer be used/needed for games. Once the internet standard goes up and high speed connections are the mainstream then that's when they'll truly make their move and cloud gaming will be the new standard and discs will become obsolete and only be used for companies that need to backup critical data or for people that need to have a physical copy of things they use. They might start doing cloud gaming with the 360, PS3 etc. but i predict that with the next generation or generation after that consoles will probably have no disk drive and your games will be process remotely and the image will be sent over the internet like Onlive is doing now.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

It would be very cost affordable for companies to use the cloud.. However I dont think hardcore or serious gamers will ever use a cloud service. I do think the cloud will be a place where people will subscribe to a game streaming service, and be aloud to access xbox live (for instance) and create a gamer tag and play online with other people who have next generation consoles. I think that time could even come with the next gen consoles. Microsoft could market it as an affordable alternative to actually buying the gaming system.. Of course in the long run it would cost more most likely.. or maybe even buy gaming minutes on the cloud. That would handle alot of licensing issues.. publishers could get a cut on a cost per minute ratio. Microsoft would make more money that way... thats a reason why they are interested in Cloud computing.