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E3: Crytek CEO - 'Cloud Gaming Is The Future'
E3: Crytek CEO - 'Cloud Gaming Is The Future'
June 9, 2011 | By Kris Graft




Cloud gaming has the potential to completely disrupt today's video game industry, but there are currently obstacles that will keep the format from being a dominant force in the near-term, according Cevat Yerli, CEO of Frankfurt-based Crysis developer Crytek.

"Gaikai as well as OnLive, they're pioneers in that [area]. But I also think that [current cloud gaming solutions] can be dangerous in a way, from a business perspective," he told Gamasutra at E3. "...I have concerns about the way it's approached, but I think cloud gaming is the future, inevitably."

Gaikai and OnLive both have networks that are up and running which implement remote servers that host games that are playable nearly instantly through web browsers, without a download.

While both use comparable technologies, they have different business models -- OnLive has a consumer-facing online storefront, while Gaikai works with publishers to deliver instant demos of their games through web ads. Yerli said he believes Gaikai has the better, more sustainable model.

Yerli said new advancements and new companies "will overcome business issues and scalability issues" with cloud gaming. "But those platforms right now, they inherently have scalability issues," he said.

Gaikai demoed Crysis 2 running on high-performance servers at E3 behind closed doors. Gamasutra played the game on Gaikai, and it had minimal latency and 720p graphics.

But Yerli said it's not optimized for the cloud, and future cloud games will need to be built from the ground up with cloud gaming in mind.

"Crysis 2 isn't built to be scaled on a cloud. Crysis 2 is not a cloud game. Crysis 2 is a client-based game that is running on a cloud. And yes, it has the benefit of that scalability on the client side, but it is inefficient on the server side, because it's not meant to be on a cloud."

"Until this is overcome, and people build proper cloud games, this will always be a business issue," he said.

Gamasutra will have more from Crytek in the coming days.


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Comments


Martin Crownover
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Cloud gaming isn't ever going to be something a lot of people are willing to try until cloud computing has truly taken off, and people are comfortable with the idea of not having direct control of their files / media. And that's so far off, especially in the U.S., with our slow, expensive internet and ever-tightening bandwidth caps, that it's not even worth thinking about at this point.

Cody Scott
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Most people (myself included) would much rather have a physical copy in their library than paying to be allowed to use the game while its server is still up. My Nes games still work and they have lasted much longer than nintendo would keep the servers up if the industry was capable and did cloud gameing back then.

Christopher Federici
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Are you sure about this? Over 50% of people like stacking antiquated media storage on their bookshelves?



People need to wrap their minds around the possibilities of information storage and transfer. Once digital distribution becomes the norm for game sales, cloud gaming will be more believable to those who still like boxes, and discs, and carts, and cards, and shiny stuff, and whatever other unnecessary media format Sony/MS will fight over.

Cody Scott
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are you sure that more than 50% of people like to spend money on intangible objects? my point is that the game is still available after a server shuts off or a company goes out of business. the media format is not unnecessary. requiring someone to subscribe to a server is.

Ganjookie Gray
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I would rather have an in house solution. Where as I play a game on a console in my house. With the recent PSN outage due to hackers, I dont think I would like an ONLINE only game system.



I like owning my own stuff, like Cody above me, we can play our old games on old hardware, YEARS after it is released and no longer supported by the company.



With gaming being hosted on external servers, the consumer has no ability to say what games will and wont be support and for how long those games are available.





To me this server gaming idea is crap, and only really useful for those that cant afford a new console or PC every 5 years.



Also...FUCK the term "Cloud" anything.

Christopher Federici
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"With gaming being hosted on external servers, the consumer has no ability to say what games will and wont be support and for how long those games are available."



Does owning the NES cart give you this power? When your machine dies of old age, and the contact on the cartridge gets oxidized, and the controller slot gets too loose to hold the connector properly, is Nintendo going to fix that issue for you?



Or is it more likely that Nintendo will create downloadable/cloud versions of those classic games that can run on the current popular OS/console?



Whether you buy a "hard-copy" or a digital download, you don't own that title. You are simply buying the right to play it as the seller sees fit. Having a fading piece of plastic doesn't afford the user much of anything.

Cody Scott
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Christopher you are assuming that Nintendo will be around forever which may not be the case. and for a long time having an old console was the only way to play old games, and still is the only way to play old games with the correct controls, you may be a big fan of cloud gaming but their are millions who do not like trusting a server to stay up and running.

Ardney Carter
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In addition to the concerns listed above, in a future where all games were offered via services such as Onlive, what would happen to the modding community?



I personally have zero use for cloud gaming. I prefer to keep my own equipment and OWN what I buy as much as possible.

Jane Castle
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Also if the cloud services company goes bankrupt what then? Do I have to re buy all my games on another competitor's service? Or will the titles be transferable (I highly doubt it.)



In theory gaming on the cloud seems like a perfect utopian dream..... Then harsh realities force you to wake up from this dream.....

Alex Leighton
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An interesting little timbit that my dad told me about a few days ago, was that in his high school computer classes, they went across town to use the computer, but the computer was actually 2 hours away. This was because the computer was the size of a gym and it was far too expensive for places to have their own machines.



This got us talking about how technology often moves sideways or even backwards in it's quest to move forwards. I like the idea of cloud computing. In the same way that I like the idea of electric cars and moving sidewalks and cottages on The Moon.



There's just too many practical limitations in trying to make any of these ideas a reality. Internet providers don't want us using the internet very much, because it eats into their profits. Consumers want more freedom to use software in ways that publishers don't want them to. People don't want to have to rely on a service that might go down or bankrupt for their livelihoods.

wes bogdan
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Piracy....that's what will force the issue.If everyone felt this strongly about netflix or hulu plus we'd never have them up and running. Imagine a $7.99 games service that grants you access to more games than you could possibly ever buy or would want to own making your home look like a gamer episode of hoarders.



Sure redundant servers should be cycling so maintenance and security sweeps could be done on different servers while never taking it offline. Imagine having EVERYTHING from pong-current and even future systems to play netflix style. I expect it to happen just as netflix is a convenience,easy,cheap and progress

so would this cloud future be. First everyone needs to have a better than wide band connection for a song

then cloud everything will take off like a wildfire. Current roadblocks aging telco business trying to put the genie back in the bottle-when the internet was unleashed they had no idea how screwed they were and keeping bandwith capped or charging exorbitant fee's will eventually result in consumer backlash and anti-trust investigations but then like lan lines before it will be very cheap and we'll be telling kids about having to pay for each game and getting overcharged for online every day.



Don't think it'll never happen because it's coming,when i can't say but it's on the way.

Joshua Popkes
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WOW! even as the members of this community sit on the cutting edge of entertainment technology we still are humans after all. Cloud gaming, business, family life everything is here and it's here to stay. It will take time for people to get comfortable storing their files on a remote server, but it took people a long time to think putting your credit card information into PayPal was just a ludicrous idea, now raise you're hand if you think it's crazy to put your CC Info into PayPal. . . yup didn't think I'd see any hands.



All I'm saying is give it time let it mature a little bit and we'll see something worth looking at.

Cody Scott
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I dont put my credit car information on paypal. there very easily could be a market for a console that still requires hard copies of games if cloud gaming actually comes to a reality for another console developer or even pc for that matter. all it takes is one day the service is pulled and a large number of people lose the games they loved to play with no way of playing them again.

Joshua Popkes
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I do understand wholly where you are coming from. I can see my generation (GenY) and the one after me being turned off by this kind of remote ownership. But, at the same time, most of your money right now is probably in a bank somewhere. That particular branch has no way of having enough cash in it to fulfill every customers request for a withdrawal if it were all to happen at once. and if the banks central server crashed all your account info would be gone, but (for the most part) people trust banks. As I said before . . . just give it time to work out the baby steps and this thing will grow.

Hakim Boukellif
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Banks have legal obligations, so they can't just cease operations and leave their customers with nothing. It also means that the security and reliability of their servers is very high priority, because loss of customer faith would be the least of their problems if they didn't. Technology firms don't have that amount of responsibility.



And although it's true that banks wouldn't have enough cash if all their customers were to withdraw all their money at the same time, the truth is still that I can go to the bank right now and turn the money I have on my account into cash (I might have to wait for a while if I were to clear my savings account though). With a cloud gaming service, I wouldn't be able to download or get a physical copy of the games I "own", because that would mean losing the whole piracy-prevention advantage they have.



As far as cloud services are concerned, this is how I see it:

- Dropbox: good (file are synchronized to my harddrives)

- Google Docs: good (I can download any file I have on there and the documents are stored in an open standard format)

- OnLive: bad (complete dependency on the server, clients are nothing more than dumb terminals)

Mark Harris
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Works better as a subscription for access service. The problem with Onlive is that you subscribe and then also have to buy the games. That implies some kind of ownership. If the model were simply "pay a sub fee to access all games (or some subset) on the service" then it wouldn't rankle as much.



As someone mentioned above, plenty of people are happy with Netflix and they don't get to own anything. The model just has to change so that you pay a sub for access to a wide variety of games, not that you sub and then have to buy your games as well.

Cody Scott
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@ Joshua



My money though is insured up to $500,000 by the federal government



and that is more than what i or many other people have in a single account so that helps with the trust.

Ben Lippincott
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It took me a really long time to even get into digital games, such as steam. I still refuse to buy digital books (going to far as to stop my college from making them the norm through organized protest) because they punish people who pay for the product. Digital media can't be loaned to a friend for them to read through and when the cloud vanishes so do your purchases. Sure Steam has a guarantee claiming you can download all the games you own from them if they go out of business, but I sincerely doubt they are prepared for that given how radically unlikely it is to happen.



Cloud gaming is going to be pushed hard by companies because it means they have more control over the content they deliver, but it doesn't offer anything to the consumer at this point to make the trade off worth it. I personally think we need to accept that games are limited to being something the player owns once they purchase it. Combating piracy is a matter of sweetening the deal for those who legally purchase it, not punishing everyone for the sake of the company.

Mark Harris
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It will take off when ease and access make it worthwhile. There are very few games I must purchase physically. So for someone like me, I'm fine with paying $10 per month to have access to every available AAA game to play when and where I want. I travel a lot, so being able to fire up something like OnLive on a tablet or netbook and have at least mid-range graphics and access to hundreds of games is VERY appealing.



As the service matures and improves and they migrate to an access subscription instead of a "subscribe AND buy" model I think it'll explode.

Joe Cooper
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That's neat, but, is this going to be the next fad on here? I thought it was all going to be Facebook games?



What was it before? I can't remember now.

Kevin Patterson
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Cloud gaming will never take over if ISp's are allowed to set caps. I dont want my gaming time minimized because of my connection, sorry.

Andrew Hopper
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I'm so glad I'm not the only one who had this thought: Why the heck should I as a consumer even WANT cloud gaming? So I can pop in a quarter every time I want to play an online game?

Cedric Bold
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Crytek wants to make the buzz again, maybe they will work on distributed algorithms, you never know...

Jonathan Pierce
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I think cloud gaming could have some seriouse potential. It provides a standardised platform for deployment and easy DRM while also offering, unlike a console, a constantly updatable system. So developers will be able to develop games as they would for the console, but have the advantage of being able to use a lot of the newer technology available.



With that said, I still have major concerns. Firstly, I thought one of the main advantages of cloud computing was that you were sharing resources and therefore, overall, required less computing power per user. But can this be true for games. The servers have to be local and most people will play games at roughly the same periods of time. So there is a good chance that the servers will have to be capable of providing enough power to run games for the vast majority of their customers at the same time and therefore the equipment cost per user isn't going to be reduced to a level where the user feels they are seeing any benifit over a console.



My second concern is that the service will ultimately suffer from fps drops during peak gaming hours. And this on top of normal connection problems could mean that playing games at peak hours will be, at best, capped in terms of performance, or worse - completely impractical.



My final concern, ignoring the lack of ownership issue which I can probably get used to, is multiplayer. One of the great things about the internet is international communication. One of the problems for games is lag. Having everyone on the cloud playing together would reduce the lag. But will this mean that the systems will be geared towards only playing against people in your "local" area. Cause if it is, I want no part of it.



So should all these concerns be addressed, then all I can say is "GO CLOUD GAMING". But until they are, I think I'll remain sceptical of this platform.

Luis Guimaraes
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Massive Multiplayer Action Worlds? Hell yeah! Bring cloud gaming on!

Jacques Bienia
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No one mentioned this but what about ping ? Although we do accept bad pings when playing multiplayer online because we have no choice, I do not want to lag when playing a solo game ...


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