Gaming Goes to the Clouds

I would use the phrase the BBC did, but I’m sick of hearing of ___ killers in general. ( I’ll believe it when I see it, y’know?) But regardless of terminology, BBC News had a very interesting little piece in their technology section this morning about OnLive, an internet-based gaming company that essentially kicks the console out of the picture. The company promises on-demand games, and high performance even on older machines and across platforms.

Chief operating office Mike McGarvey explains: “We want to take your dollars from hardware and let you spend it on software. We are a new platform and we’re building a network and infrastructure to last for the next 30 years of gaming, not the next five years.”

I really like the idea behind this–especially the availability of games on the Mac–but I can’t buy into the whole console killer concept; it’s as dead as the iPhone killer concept, even. Why? Because many news sources have very little understanding about how geeks interact with their own consoles and/or hardware. Yes, games are important. But they are not the only reason we use consoles. In our house, the console is second only in usage to our computers—and the two are connected. We stream videos, we play games, we play music, we connect with friends. I’m not a huge Microsoft fanatic (quite the opposite, really) but I absolutely love my XBox and the XBox Live network. And so does my kid.

Cloud gaming has the potential to be a great deal of fun, but the signal always fails at some point. Sure, fast is important (I bitch at DragonAge all the time for loading too slow). But when we didn’t have an internet connection when we first moved, I was still able to play. I think that cloud gaming will be a great addition to gaming, and a wonderful opportunity for developers to think out of the console. But I’m not giving up my XBox 360 anytime soon, thank you very much.

Maybe I’m being a curmudgeon and a holdover. What about you guys? I’m by no means a hardcore gamer, so maybe I’m just reacting badly. Let us know what you think about the future of gaming!