This is the first reason I cannot get behind the concept of Cloud Gaming. If my entire collection of software exists somewhere off in the aether, what am I going to take such great pride in displaying on my gaming shelves? What am I going to take pleasure from keeping organised, keeping track of which games I have and haven't finished to 100%? I quite enjoy my filing system; I can't get that somewhat OCD-like joy from a list of titles on my TV screen.
What about special editions, collector's editions? My copy of Gears of War came in a metal case, with an additional 'Making Of' DVD. I can't stream a metal box from the Cloud.
|The OnLive 'console' and Controller|
The other issue attached to the fact that the processing is being carried out remotely is that, as is being noted by some early users of the system, there is a noticeable lag between controller input and on-screen response to that input. I'm sorry, but that is totally unacceptable in this generation of gaming. The most fundamental requirement for a good gameplay experience is that your commands are translated seamlessly to the game. How can Cloud Gaming ever expect to be adopted by core players (specifically, those players that indulge in a lot of online, fast-paced multiplayer gaming, such as any FPS I could mention, or titles like Forza) if they will be at an immediate disadvantage over players using a standard console? Also, in order to stream at a useable speed, the images being pumped back to the user will be compressed to a lower resolution, making your game which you just paid retail price for look worse than if you'd gone and paid the exact same price for a physical copy. That smells just a little of a rip-off?
However, whilst this technology seems flawed, I can see how it could, in future (assuming all of the various technical issues are dealt with - the lag, most importantly) be a successful, additional gaming service.
PC gaming is expensive, the upgrade costs can spiral if you want to maintain your machine at the bleeding edge of graphical and processing power. Buying games for your machine however can be very affordable, especially through services such as Steam.
Now, I for one am not going to pay OnLive £39.99 for a digital copy of, for example, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I can pay that in a bricks and mortar shop and get actual physical media in that price too. I would on the other hand, be very willing to pay the prices offered by Steam for a large number of their hosted titles for the ability to play those games (especially PC-exclusives) on my TV without the need to worry about hardware. I think this is the market for Cloud Gaming; smaller, mid-priced titles, or at most, full retail games at a notably reduced price to account for the lack of physical product. All the time there is physical media at the same price, I'm sure most people would choose that option; especially as they know they will have consistent access to their purchase and that it will be free of any nasty technical issues.
So given that, if Cloud Gaming could bring me PC-exclusives to my living room at a significantly more attractive price, then I may consider it. Even then though, it would be an addition to, not a replacement for, my other 3 current-gen machines.
All comments welcomed - is this a gaming revolution, or simply some interesting but ultimately disposable technology?