World of Warcraft shown streaming on iPad

Developer Dave Perry shows wildly popular MMORPG running on Apple's popular new portable via Gaikai; non-Flash version reportedly had to be built from scratch.

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Since being introduced on April 3, Apple's iPad has already sold 1 million units, with the new 3G version reportedly selling out within hours of launching last Friday. Game companies have been quick to jump on the touch-screen tablet's bandwagon, with publishers like Electronic Arts releasing iPad-optimized versions of iPod titles, such as Need for Speed: Shift.

Also on board is Gaikai, the browser-based game-streaming service cofounded by veteran developer Dave Perry. This morning on his personal Web site, Perry showed off how his server-based computing service could use Apple's tablet to stream World of Warcraft, the planet's most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Specifically, the game displayed was the second WOW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

Perry joked, "Soon I'll be able to play WOW with my Cornflakes!"

Much like OnLive, which launches next month, Gaikai is taking the cloud computing model and applying it to gaming. The company will host various games on its servers and then let subscribers stream them onto their PCs or various other devices, such as the iPad. Graphics processing is handled by Gaikai's servers, meaning high-resolution games can be played on devices with significantly lower-grade technology.

If Gaikai is approved for use with the iPad, WOW junkies will have another way to get their fix on the road.
If Gaikai is approved for use with the iPad, WOW junkies will have another way to get their fix on the road.

Perry's promotion of WOW on the iPad does raise some interesting questions, though. Gakai's Web site touts its Streaming Worlds technology as being near-universal thanks to the fact it is based on Adobe's Flash player. The iPad conspicuously does not support Flash, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs vehemently criticizing the application in an open letter last Thursday.

Requests for clarification on how Gaikai is running on the iPad had not been answered as of press time. However, Perry told UK site Digital Foundry that a special version of Gaikai had to be made from scratch to work with the iPad. He said the game was running at a "very crisp" 1024x768 resolution.

"All iPad inputs are streamed through a translation system to the server, so we can remap anything to anything in real time," Perry told Digital Foundry. "We hide a virtual keyboard off to the side, so you can type as well (like to login). It's just a teaser as the iPad just arrived. Once they are done with the video optimization, we will show it off."

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