The pioneer of cloud games, the opportunity to subvert the gaming industry still exists

Source: Internet
Author: User

The pioneer of cloud games, the opportunity to subvert the gaming industry still exists
As one of the most anticipated applications of cloud computing, cloud gaming was once considered a disruptive change in the gaming arena. However, the birth of three years, the cloud game is far from Universal, leading OnLive also fell on the road. So, does cloud game have any chance?
In 2009, OnLive just launched the experience of cloud gaming services, although some questioned, but many people think it is a revolutionary innovative products. OnLive's philosophy is that, through the concept of cloud computing and technology, in the cloud game operating mode, all games are running on the server side, and after the rendering of the game screen after compression through the network to send to the user. In the case of broadband permitting, video streaming can achieve low latency, which allows users to play large cloud games on lower hardware terminals.
For this promising application, a number of it giants have injected capital, OnLive's valuation was once as high as $1.8 billion trillion. At the same time, the leading cloud gaming service Gaika also received a large amount of financing, more and more users began to accept this new thing.
Earlier this month, however, OnLive abruptly halted operations and sold its assets to a new company formed by Steve Palman, the founder and chief executive of the company, and slashed staff. According to the media, the original OnLive company's debt as high as more than 30 million U.S. dollars, Perlman will also resign, by investors Guery Lauder (Garylauder) will become chairman of the company.
This incident has caused many people to fall below their eyeballs, as a new generation of internet star Company, OnLive at the beginning of its birth was how eye-catching existence, in our impression that it was not long ago, many technology media to report the trend of the protagonist, and after its biggest rival Gaikai was bought by Sony Computer Entertainment company, Some have given better prospects.
With the fall of the OnLive, doubts about the cloud game itself began to emerge. We know that the cloud game is a whole new business model, from the game production, release to consumption, from software to hardware the entire industrial chain has changed. As one of the most anticipated applications of cloud computing, cloud gaming was once considered a disruptive change in the gaming arena. However, the birth of three years, the cloud game is far from Universal, leading OnLive also fell on the road. So, does cloud game have any chance?

Stunning debut

People who focus on the gaming and technology industries should never forget the sensation of the cloud game concept when it first arose.
    at the March 2009 San Francisco GDC Games Developers Conference, OnLive's cloud gaming platform display has aroused widespread concern. Booth, a very picky about the hardware of the "island crisis" has been demonstrated and experienced many times, the game can be called perfect, and the actual installation and operation of the experience is basically the same. In fact, the experience to see and operate the screen, are from the server room 50 miles away from the remote operation, compressed through the network transmission over--in the 09 cloud computing concept is still in the discussion and experimental period, this effect is quite shocking.
    According to OnLive founder and chief Administrative Officer, the technology they developed can run the game on a remote server, and then efficiently transfer the screen through the network. The user can operate on the screen, which is almost indistinguishable from running the game directly with the real machine.
as the cloud game officially enters the public eye, OnLive's reputation is instantly known. There is a barrage of discussions on social networks, reports of technology media, and, to the beginning of the beta, more than 100,000 people are enrolled in the beta, and investors and game distributors are waiting in long queues to discuss cooperation.
In fact, in the three months before OnLive's official debut, AMD demonstrated a similar game remote rendering technology at CES, with servers for high-end processor graphics to render game graphics and other large computational work, And will render the finished game screen in the form of video transmission to the client through the network, and receive the game control signal from the client. However, the server in this mode is very expensive, the average user and even service providers are difficult to provide sufficient computing support, and the concept of cloud computing and application of the model has been reborn.
    According to OnLive, users do not need to build a high-end PC as a server, as long as the 1.5MB (9Mb broadband) network access can achieve the Wii-level real-time video game transmission. And through its unique high compression ratio video compression technology will render the finished picture to the user's client, the server's feedback time even less than 1 per thousand seconds, the delay to less than 1 milliseconds. This means that 10Mb broadband can play these games with medium quality. and users of all games and game progress will be kept in the cloud, across the platform on a variety of terminals can play directly. To make the game a great experience, OnLive has worked with at&t to ensure that the game's latency rate is not enough to affect the game.
    If all goes well, once the cloud game model is truly established and promoted, the large-scale industrial transfer from the user's home to the operator's data center will start, server vendors, cloud gaming platform operators, and game content providers all have the hope of becoming a major beneficiary. It is precisely because of the potential impact of the application on the entire gaming industry, many it giants and Silicon Valley investment stars have poured capital into the layout, including hardware vendors such as Intel, as well as terminal equipment companies such as HTC, OnLive's valuation once reached 1.8 billion U.S. dollars- And at this time distance OnLive cloud game platform is officially online less than a year.

Pioneer Killer

As mentioned earlier, OnLive was so "successful" that in our memory it must be one of the Silicon Valley companies that are "destined to change the IT landscape" and continue to grow at a fast rate. So a lot of people didn't think that it had fallen so fast--just over 3.5, the once-tech Nova had to be downsized and restructured.
    August 17, OnLive announced that the company had been formally acquired and that most of its staff would leave, leaving only 30 of the most basic personnel to maintain the normal functioning of the OnLive cloud computing server and a 30-day short-term contract.
    It is understood that the main reason for this sudden change is the OnLive company's huge operating fee of nearly $5 million a month and minimal operating income. The takeover was accompanied by massive layoffs, which, in the industry's view, were more likely to reduce costs and get rid of the baggage. Steve Palmer, founder and chief executive officer of OnLive, is very clever, onlive the most valuable technology patent is not in the company's name, but in his own Rearden laboratory name. And OnLive IP is also registered in the Rearden laboratory name. By moving OnLive's IP to a new company, Palmer is essentially able to combine new investor innovations to start onlive the company's business.
What makes OnLive crash so quickly?
    It is reported that OnLive's operating costs are $5 million a month, with very little revenue, due to the huge cost of renting and buying servers. OnLive Company official claims that it has 2.5 million users and 1.5 million active users, but in fact this figure is all registered free account of the users, the actual global simultaneous number of online only 1800--onlive company deployed tens of thousands of servers, but most of the server is idle, Waste a lot of money.
at the same time, the vast majority of users on the OnLive have never paid the sales of paid items is "extremely poor." According to OnLive's staff on Twitter, onlive mainly take a monthly subscription fee, but basically did not make any money from the subscription service The 9.99-dollar playback gaming subscription service also has just over 12,000 subscribers, and OnLive a set of 99-dollar set-top boxes and game-handle suits for many of its subscribers. And the single game, the best-selling "national Defense" game total only sold thousands of copies.
    from now on, there are many reasons why OnLive users are scarce. The broadband conditions in North America are not good enough for the most important network environment for cloud games to transmit video. To ensure the gaming experience, Onlive is a 720P video quality transmission game screen, which leads to a relatively stable broadband connection in the home, if the same time running YouTube and other applications, then use OnLive remote gaming experience will be greatly compromised. Another reason is the onlive early technical flaw, because the game to the machine hardware configuration, especially the graphics card level requirements are very high, so a server can not be virtualized to run multiple games, each user must correspond to an entity server. This has led OnLive to spend money on server leasing and acquisitions-and, more tragically, the fact that OnLive has invested in it, but the user still hasn't.
In addition, OnLive founder Palmer's Pride and conceit is the most important reason to drag down onlive. In fact, network connectivity issues are improving and progressing, server virtualization technology issues Nvidia also has a solution, but Palmer's management of cronyism and caused the company's financial management confusion, often unreasonable overtime caused staff complaints, It is hard to compliment the manager's ability to manage and operate as a technical genius for the game maker's overly demanding full exclusivity and repeatedly refusing to be bought by big companies.

Domestic pattern is a solo show

Cloud games landed very fast in China compared to other copy to Chinese Internet models. Only 4 months after OnLive's debut, the July China ChinaJoy event, a start-up called Cloud-Tech, released its latest GODHD (HD-game-on-demand) technology and claimed to offer cloud gaming services like OnLive--on a general-purpose computer, Run the latest high-end game that only runs on high-end computers.
    due to the domestic network environment is much more complex, the overall low internet speed and the north-South interconnection and even the problem of broadband fraud, technology companies have high bandwidth costs. However, in some major cities, the broadband level in some areas also reached 10M, which provides a preliminary condition for the development of cloud games in China. Cloud-linked technology also did not allow domestic players to wait too long, and soon after its cloud game site (name is called Cloud game) officially published.
    until today, in addition to a number of start-ups offering relevant technologies, cloud-linked technology is almost the only platform for independent cloud gaming, and its development is nearly representative of the level of cloud gaming in China.
    In an interview with our correspondent, Cloud Joint Technology CEO Dundee said, on the line for more than two years, in the cloud gaming platform to attract users of the most core game content, the current cloud gaming platform has been on the line of more than 200 games, or even more than Gaikai, and OnLive at the same level, but mostly Chinese players are more accustomed to and like the Chinese version of the game. According to the reporter understand, the cloud has already bought up the domestic since 2007 80% of the original stand-alone game of the cloud game copyright, and with EA, Ubisoft and other foreign large single game publishers set up a cooperation, try the future in the cloud game platform for a single game on the start. At the same time also actively with the domestic mobile game development team to establish contacts, using the purchase, investment and other means to attract them for the cloud game platform development game. February 2002, the cloud-linked technology has also been Intel, SoftBank and other institutions such as tens of millions of dollars in B-round financing support.
in the report above, OnLive's soaring operating costs are largely due to the fact that its large and expensive server resources are idle. It is understood that all of the cloud's servers are currently running at full load and that queues often occur. On the other hand, OnLive technology is the first generation of cloud game technology, each server can only host one user, and cloud technology is the third generation technology, operating costs far less than international peers.
    data shows that the current cloud game ping own platform registered users have more than 300,000, paid users and active users than about 1:10, from online games promotion, The amount of revenue from technology licensing, as well as carriers and own-user fees, has also reached tens of millions of yuan. In addition, the cloud game also andOperators to build a platform to expand cloud gaming users.
    for the most noticeable broadband problem, Dundee told reporters that the cloud is mainly by adding and optimizing service distribution points to complete. As broadband speeds up and its service distribution increases from 3 to 15, the user's average bandwidth is elevated from 2M to 3M, and the HD gaming experience is fully available. Currently, cloud-linked technology has been able to achieve most of the telecommunications and Unicom broadband and ADSL user coverage, and will continue to work with small and medium-sized operators to cover. It is expected that in the next 1-2 years, the distribution point will reach 30, the average user bandwidth reaches 4M.
    at the same time, cloud-linked technology and telecommunications, Unicom, Zhejiang China, Hundred-Vision (600637, shares bar) and other broad telecommunications, radio and television operators reached a strategic cooperation agreement, Its platform application can completely cover the domestic 400 million broadband users and 20 million IPTV users.
    also learned that Beijing Boyun Technology has recently launched the Boyun "Wing Home" cloud game platform, the main TV set-top box replacement, the home of the TV set-top box has become a strong performance of the game host. It is understood that the video cloud companies in the decoding technology, virtualization technology, remote mapping technology and so on key technologies have certain advantages, its game platform will be widely covered with set-top boxes, mobile phones, tablets and personal computers and other terminals, is a strong competitor in this market.
In addition, China Telecom, one of the largest cloud computing service providers in the country, has officially entered the cloud gaming market.

Still subversive forces

It is undeniable that the derivative application of cloud technology will be the mainstream application of the future network, whether it is a common network application or game application is a considerable development potential. So, if the founder Palmer's personal problems and the resulting management confusion are not taken into account, will onlive continue to live? Or is the cloud game itself really a force that can subvert the gaming industry?
In my view, the cloud game still has a certain future, but from the whole industry development cycle, the cloud game is still in the initial stage, the next 3-5 years will be a burst of growth.
    In fact, many fans of cloud games point out that OnLive's failure is a result of the company's internal problems and that the concept of cloud gaming is fine. We believe that the quality of the game, broadband speed and other technical issues will certainly be resolved-broadband will speed up, video compression technology will be improved. So the cloud gaming service, which is comparable to local games, will eventually come true. The bigger question is, will consumers eventually accept this service? Each underlying hardware upgrade on the cloud gaming service has a huge cost, and this business model is extremely expensive and difficult to scale. The other fact is that consumers are willing to upgrade their gaming devices every few years, so is it necessary for the game company to pay for it?
     In fact, the real stage of the cloud game should be the home game host. Because consumers are less willing to buy or upgrade such game hardware. However, OnLive cannot really run home host games. Other cloud gaming services are unlikely to do so later, unless the home game host manufacturer offers such a demand.
Another question to ponder is whether cloud gaming is valuable as a separate service platform.
    We know that OnLive has rejected acquisitions by a number of companies such as HP, LG, Samsung and Vizio. Does this mean that cloud gaming and related technologies are more valuable as a cross-cutting service (such as flat-panel, smart-TV vendors) as a huge product matrix for it giants?
    In fact, cloud gaming and its related technologies are a part of the big it giants that want to dabble in the field, and for giants like Sony and Microsoft, acquisitions may be the best option. Amazon launched its new service Gameconnect today, after cloud computing giant Amazon also invested in the field, offering a dedicated gaming platform to Kindle tablet users gamecircle Provides a platform for free games for Amazon and multiplayer online game developers to trade virtual game merchandise with customers. and HP to OnLive offer, the fancy is also its cloud desktop application.
    At this level, as an independent cloud game operator, the biggest challenge will come from how to live with the very powerful giants, to find a suitable model for their survival and development. In other words, the cloud game can actually make a large industrial chain of organic parts, in fact, the international Otoy, Playcast, Ubitus, g-cluster, such as a vast number of cloud game start-ups, is to provide a technology or a field of solutions for operators to serve the main.
    However, the entry threshold for cloud gaming may not be low. OnLive and Gaikai all have their own brands, users, their own infrastructure, independent network operation. And these points, for the enterprise's strategic vision, comprehensive strength and implementation capacity are very high threshold. Take OnLive for example, its platform from research and development to launch, up to 8 years. Gaikai has built a high-definition video transmission network covering more than 100 countries. Cloud-linked technology in the domestic cloud gaming platform has been developed for over 5 years, the establishment covers most areas of China's transmission network, connected OTT, IPTV, radio and television and other platforms, and even their own design server, the relevant patent submitted to dozens of, this is not the general entrepreneurial team can directly try.
    in the years that we can imagine, it is no longer a problem to believe in faster broadband, better compression technology, and a more optimized gaming experience. As the terminal differentiation becomes more and more serious and cloud game provides the service level unceasing progress, this can cross the platform across the terminal and eliminates the hardware shackles the pattern to be able to get more people to accept.
In other words, cloud gaming still has the potential to subvert the entire gaming industry's distribution, operations and consumption. Moreover, simple and easy to play to the big game, this is not more in line with the future of science and technology vision it?

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