Friday, November 19, 2010

Pwnage on the cloud

Cloud computing is touted to be the next big thing. From Google Docs to Dropbox to Chrome OS, innovative applications are putting thousands of super powerful servers at the command of users like you and me. But non of these applications seemed that interesting. Granted, backing up to the cloud is one of the most failsafe ways to secure your data, but none of these things had that Ohmagawd effect. I was reading Gizmodo yesterday (sorry Jerry!) and I was hit with that effect thanks to this.

OnLive MicroConsole
(Image copyright Gawker media. Please don't sue me for unauthorised use!)
Think about it for a second. A game, rendered dynamically on the server, streamed to your home like a normal IPTV stream. Provided network latency is low (something that we really need to work towards in this country), your controller-strokes will be transmitted to some server in Palo Alto and the resultant scene in the video game rendered and retransmitted to your HDTV. It's like having a PS3 without having a PS3. And think about it, you don't have to worry about hardware upgrades, or buying expensive VGAs for the singular purpose of playing games anymore. The physics will be beyond awesome, the system requirements will always be met, and you don't have to deal with those pesky anti-piracy measures because there won't be any piracy anymore. If all the games run on servers, and no retail versions are ever released, there's obviously no way to pirate the games. It's a win-win situ whatever way you look at it. And imagine the amount of money spent on hardware that can be saved. You'll essentially be sharing a server with some dude in Bosnia, and while you sleep (due to the time difference) he'll be pwning away, and while he sleeps it'll be your turn. Playing multiplayer would be a breeze since inter-server connectivity is lightning fast (no need to worry about who's hosting and what his upload speed is anymore!)

And you know what the best part is? Servers hate Windows, because it is buggy, slow and expensive, where as Linux is stable, fast and free. The gaming servers will also need to run on Linux, which means... MORE GAMES FOR LINUX, YO! :D (side note: I discovered an open source clone of one of my favourite classic strategy games: Transport Tycoon Deluxe. It's called OpenTTD and! A must have for any Linux user. There is a port for Windows too.)

All of that being said, I'm still not going to pay $99 a year to play games on my bullcrap internet connection. :P