While admittedly, cloud-based gaming isn't exactly taking off like a house afire right now, it's still an up-and-coming part of the larger gaming ecosystem. Agawi, meanwhile, has made an announcement which looks to solidify cloud gaming's place in the sun with its new True Cloud platform, a platform designed to make cloud gaming development easier by bringing the whole thing under one clear ecosystem.
True Cloud has plenty of big names providing backup for the larger system, including Nvidia, PEER 1, Blue Box (News - Alert) and several others, which means the tools will be in place to better establish a game, and then stream it to several different gaming platforms, without having to modify the game to run on those other platforms. This reduces the total time needed to develop a game, and at the same time, allows for more games--or more complex games--to be created in the same process.
Basically, Agawi is calling True Cloud the equivalent of Amazon's own platform, but specifically geared for games. With Nvidia bringing in the Grid processors to back it, Agawi can stream dozens of games from one server, meaning fewer servers are required in total to keep the system up and running and the fate of similar companies like recently defunct OnLive can be avoided. The backup of Blue Box and PEER 1 will allow for different regions to get Agawi data centers, thus improving the throughput and keeping the lag--always an issue with cloud gaming--to a minimum.
Cloud gaming is still more concept than reality, and still has a long way to go in terms of proving its own. Though Agawi's executive chairman Peter Relan is clearly optimistic--Relan expressed belief that, within five years, "everybody will be in the cloud"--the infrastructure is still somewhat in doubt. Relan's belief that in five years users simply won't be thinking in terms of packaged DVDs or games or Blu-rays is certainly optimistic enough for any two companies, but Relan seems determined to ignore that, in many places, Internet service simply isn't up to that kind of intense usage. Leave aside the capped services of major players like Comcast (News - Alert); in many places Internet access over one meg is still a fantasy. Sure, satellite Internet has made some real gains--consider the recent push from Exede to get 12 meg service out--but all that extra speed does is allow users to slam into their caps even faster than normal.
Still, five years is a long time, especially in technology circles. The gains may be sufficient to render packaged content a thing of the past, or we may well still be using boxes as normal. Only time will tell how right Relan--and Agawi--turn out to be, but it should be an impressive environment nonetheless.
Edited by Brooke Neuman