Head in the Cloud

OnLive Cloud Gaming

As the world prepares for the launch of on-demand cloud gaming, is the humble disc set to become redundant? Provided below is a review of this exciting technological development and how it might change the behaviour of gamers forever.

Gaming has been popular among children, teenagers and young adults (not to mention older folk) for numerous years – at least since Atari, Amiga, Nintendo and other such gaming firms arrived on the scene.

After games consoles dispensed with cassette tapes and video cartridges, CDs and then DVDs became the standard medium on which games were supplied to the masses.

Nowadays, consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 utilize DVDs just as video players relied on VHS tapes. As preparations for on-demand cloud gaming are finalized, is the DVD destined to join VHS on the scrapheap?

Probably not yet, but the nature of gaming will change forever if the on-demand cloud project takes off – which it is by no means certain to do.

Gamers are no longer a select breed. The typical American gamer is not a 13-year-old boy with glasses, acne and a peculiar aversion to sunlight (not necessarily, at least). The gaming community comprises people of all ages and from all walks of life: girls, boys, men and women; children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens; doctors, lawyers, students and the unemployed.

While there is no longer a precise mold for gamers, the majority of people who sit in front of their computer or games console favor a certain type of experience.

Hardcore gamers tend to prefer the traditional set-up of console, controller and disc, which is why Microsoft Kinect – as great as it may be – is never likely to eclipse conventional gaming in terms of popularity.

Based on this logic, on-demand cloud gaming is at risk of failing to inspire the generations of gamers who have become set in their ways.

Unlike Kinect, however, on-demand cloud gaming does little to change the set-up enjoyed by so many; indeed, it merely serves to replace discs for an entirely remote, intangible medium.

In a nutshell, therefore, on-demand cloud gaming provides players with access to games that are purchased, stored and played from a remote location, via the internet.

Rather than buy a disc and play it in a console, on-demand cloud gaming enables players to log online, buy or rent a title and have the content streamed over an internet connection.

The advantages of on-demand cloud gaming are numerous. Not only can players receive the latest titles at relatively little cost, but they need never leave their homes to acquire a new game.

This, however, could also prove to be a failing of cloud gaming. Although vulnerable to physical damage, discs provide a degree of security and can be played when gamers are offline. Discs can also be shared among friends and family.

Not every gamer benefits from access to a fast internet connection either, so it is quite possible that on-demand cloud gaming has arrived too early – at a time when the current technological infrastructure of the world is not fully equipped to deal with streaming content of this nature.

Whatever the case, on-demand cloud gaming is set to make a mark on gamers across the States and beyond. Whether it is here to stay remains to be seen.

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